Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Americas | Santa Cruz Indymedia
Bolivia: Coca, largest of lies
by sfimc via juventudes libertarias
Saturday Apr 6th, 2002 9:41 PM
Currently, coca has a role in the entire scope of life in Andean culture.....

Currently, coca has a role in the entire scope of life
in Andean culture. In celebrations and communal
meetings, the sharing of acullicu (traditional
consume of leafs coca) builds solidarity
and trust. It also has deep religious and mythical
value, and is used as an offering for Pachamama. In
daily life the Andean man thinks that the coca dulls
pain and hunger, and helps him work.
In 1987 the state, obeying imperialism, decreed the
Law 1008 that permits only 12,000 hectares of coca to
be grown for traditional consumption. Since then, the
authorized amount has remained static, regardless of
the organic growth of consumers, and the development
of a growing market in north Argentina.

There, especially in Salta and Jujuy, it is treated
as a legal product that is not restricted to the
traditional cultural uses, but includes middle-class
and upper-class customers whose chew choice acullicu
leaves as a status symbol. Bolivian cocaine is
advertised in the streets with luminous signboards.
The most conservative calculations speak of a present
consumption of 1200 tons annually, which means at
least $50 million as opposed to the $36 million that
they calculate as national trade volume.
It is the best business with Argentina, comparable
even to the sale of gas that generated four billion
dollars in 20 years: $200 million per year. Coca thus
is 25% as large as the gas trade. These numbers
demonstrate the stupidity of the 1008.
It is argued that the eradication of coca is necessary
to fight narcotrafficking, and paradoxically Banzer
has been the one most eager to do the job.
Nevertheless he is heavily involved with the Mafias of
the drug trade.

What is more, Bolivian drug trafficking began under
the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer from 1971 to 1978, and
was largely made possible thanks to the support and
financing of the Santa Cruz bourgeousie. In return,
they received the concession of loans (that were never
paid), on highly favorable conditions, from the
Agricultural loan bank of Bolivia destined
theoretically to support agricultural industry. These
resources were used in most cases as start-up capital
for then the growing business of drug trafficking.
There is ample evidence of Banzer's political
affiliates' involvement with drug trafficking,
including even some of his relatives. The Razuk
brothers, prominent leaders of the Association of
Producers of Cotton of Santa Cruz, closely tied to
Banzer were accused by the North American DEA from the
1970s of being drug traffickers. In 1980, as soon as
the present chief executive left the power, an
antinarcotics agent it discovered in one of their
properties 300 kg of cocaine paste, a laboratory and a
runway operated and guarded by militias.

In 1988 a video tape came to the public eye, without
audio, in which the drug lord Roberto Suáres appears,
along with Alfredo Arce Carpio (Banzer's ex-minister)
and General Mario Vargas Salinas (a militant of
Banzer's party). Shortly afterwards the audio feed
from the video tape was released, recording an
animated conversation between the three personages.
Carpio Maple affirms his closeness to Banzer and
promises Suáres to find ways for his money to get
reinvested in the country and guarantees to continue
producing, to which Vargas Salinas adds: " If I were
president I would appoint you minister of the cocaine."

At the beginning of the 1990s, Chito Valle (Banzer's
son-in-law) was named Bolivian Consul in Canada. Just
a short time after his taking office, the police of
this country stopped to two Bolivians with diplomatic
passports transporting a briefcase with cocaine
destined to the Valle family. Chito Valle and his wife
were expelled from Canada. This event never was
explained or investigated satisfactorily by the
Bolivian government, nor did it prevent Valle from
becoming Prefect of La Paz upon his return to Bolivia.
It is important to point out that the production of
coca, in the era of Banzer's government, increased
from 6,800 tons to 16,817 tons, enough to make 62 tons
of cocaine with a street value of $300 million

The North American attitude imagines the coca farmer
to be only one responsible for narcotrafficking, while
systematically ignoring the obvious involvement of the
Bolivian political powers with drug trafficking.
North America maintains a squalid fidelity to Bolivian
personages who in the past participated in or were
associated with the drug trade, but were the North
American's associates in eliminating social struggles.
Washington says that it is opposed to cocaine
production and, with the pretext of the "drug war,"
has carried out interventions in the Andean region.
But the truth is that the imperialists have turned
cocaine into a key pillar of the Bolivian economy and
Yankee agents been have involved in every stage of the

At the beginning of 1980s, the CIA opened new routes
for importing cocaine from Colombia to the United
States and, in consequence, cheap cocaine flooded many
cities. The profits financed the Nicaraguan right
wing, which fought against the leftist government.

Michael Levine, ex-agent of the DEA, suggests that
major cocaine dealers financed the "coke hit " of
General García Meza. In return, he allowed them to choose the
man in charge of national police and intelligence
services: colonel Luis Arce Gómez.

Officially, the Department of State and the DEA
condemned those events and suspended diplomatic
relations with the government of García Meza. But
Levine says that, through suppliers, the CIA
facilitated its move to stabilize the country with a
"coca growing bonanza". He also says that the
American banks supported it postponing of debt
repayment. Also in the 1980s, imperialism proclaimed
a war to drugs, while in Afghanistan it promoted
heroin production because it was generating resources
against the pro-Soviet government of the time. The
present Northern Alliance, which receives American
support, is the first world-wide producer and supplier
of 60% of the heroin sold in U.S.A., a drug that is
much more addictive and harmful than cocaine.

A 1992 study by the Bolivian parliament documented
that during the '80s, the CIA was very involved in the
cocaine production in Huanchaca. "The true king of
cocaine is the United States," said Roberto Suárez, a
noted narcotics detective. Here the dealer is the
government, that's the system there. Everyone is in
it, from the State Department to the CIA.

The gringo bourgeousie does not stint at poisoning
their own population. In 1970s, they stimulated the
distribution of cheap cocaine among Blacks in order to
neutralize the Black Panthers, a Maoist Black
liberation group. Very little has changed today, when
they have some internal social conflict, they do not
hesitate to filling the district with drugs to control
any unrest.

The bloody eradication campaign of eradication
diminished 70% of the Bolivia's coca production. This
deficit was immediately replaced by Colombian coca for
cocaine production, because the gringo market demand
has never experienced any fluctuation. This
demonstrates that while here it darkens the lives of
dozens of farmers, the foreign police does not move a
finger, since they are in cahoots with the narcotics
detectives. What is more, cocaine has almost become
obsolete; today there are designer drugs, produced
within the empire, which are in higher demand. So why
does the Yankee government insist on abolishing coca?

The coca eradication is destined to dissolve the
peasant unions. There are trans-national interests
that want to expropriate the land, and militarization
is the quickest way to remove the unions from the
Chapare. In addition, this circus allows capitalist
imperialism to engage with the hidden agenda to check
the anti-colonial and revolutionary social struggle
that is growing in Latin America.

There are more than 40,000 families those that live
on coca cultivation, mostly immigrants who came from
the mine closing and brought with them a great
tradition of organization and collective struggle, the
basis of autonomy. They have found no survival options
other than raising the coca leaf, which allows them a
modest life in adobe and straw huts. Their modest
land holdings and virtual absence of any capital gain
from the sale of their products, makes them agrarian

They have demonstrated on more than one opportunity
their will to seriously challenge the policy of the
coca eradication policies of different governments,
and they have become a destabilizing element in the
exploitation and oppression imposed by the capitalist
state, and a dangerous example for the rest of the
proletariat. From 1987 more than 50 of them have been
assasinated by the state, and more than 500 seriously
injured. The jails have been filled with poor farmers,
accused of being drug traffickers. More of 80% of
them are charged under Law 1008, whereas the great
dealers of drugs, North and South, receive all the
official cover needed for their business.

The Chapare today is a militarily zone occupied by
thousands of soldiers and paramilitary mercenaries.
The rape of men and women, torture, murder, burning of
huts and robbery have become a constant. In this
climate of confrontation the union bureaucracies play
a role in favor of bourgouesie, repeating Morales (a peaseant leader)
support for the drug war like parrots. Evo Morales
has defended the use of law 1008 against the attempts
of the government to concretize still more repressive
legislation. This ominous personage did not have the
least trouble being one of the champions in
collaborating with the government policy of National
Dialogue, sitting at the same table as the dictator,
prevantively disactivating the self-defense
committees, a condition demanded by Banzer for the
initiation of dialogue. Making a show of reactionary
indigenism, his program opposes the industrial
development of the land, vindicating the need to
return to the basic methods of production at the
ecological level. There is no doubt that such
discourse, in addition to being rejected by any honest
farmer, is demagoguery to ensure his parliamentary
place. Several times it has been said that soon the
radicalization of the coca growers' organizations will
be under control.
We need to speak clearly to defend coca culture and
production, including making cocaine. Narcotrafficking
is the putative son of Capitalism. People do not use
drugs because the farmers have decided on it. In the
complexity of the causes of addiction, we must
indicate Capitalism and the dominant power
relationships, which distract the individual in a
process of machination and exploitation, denying the
natural liberty of human beings. Prohibitionist
policies have never worked in human history. Only a
society that prioritzes the basic needs of all and not
the profit and privelege of some group, will allow us
a state of well-being to freely choose our life
The peasant movement will not be able to accede to
its vindications if it is not opposed to capitalist
imperialism, to the different wings of the national
bourgeousie and its institutions, recognizing the
urban proletariat as comrades in struggle, for the end
of exploitation and oppression, for developing
assemblies and for decision-making by the directly
interested parties. This takes place through the
collectivization of the field and the factory, by
virtue of social necessities. In short, we must fight
for an anarchist communist revolution.

Juventudes Libertarias, Bolivia
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


donate now

$ 87.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network