WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
26 Mar 2013 | Publication | News

From Conflict to Collaboration

By WOLA Senior Fellow Coletta A. Youngers and Andean Information Network Director Kathryn Ledebur

Originally published in Stability: International Journal of Security & Development

Upon his presidential election, Bolivian coca grower leader Evo Morales adopted a policy of promoting consensual coca reduction through social control, a sophisticated coca monitoring system, and economic development. That strategy is paying off. In 2011, coca cultivation decreased by 13 per cent according to the U.S. government. The Morales administration has also made significant progress facing the ongoing challenges of drug production and trafficking. Seizures of coca paste and cocaine and destruction of drug laboratories have steadily increased since President Morales took office. Despite continued tensions in bilateral relations, U.S.-Bolivian counter-drug cooperation continues and the signing of a new framework agreement in 2011 should lead to an exchange of ambassadors. Internationally, Bolivia has successfully gained acceptance of the right to the traditional use of coca within its own territory. But Bolivia’s efforts must be carried out in tandem with effective demand reduction strategies to shrink the global cocaine market.

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