Alert: from the Andean Information Network 9/25/98

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


(From Lee Cridland, 9/23, concerning the state of negotiations between the Bolivian Government (GOB) and the cocaleros.)

On August 10, the coca growers from the Chapare started a peaceful and legal march to La Paz to take their demands to the seat of the national government.  The march was the culmination of a series of protest against the militarization and violence in the tropics since April 1. 

The growers' demands are as follows:

  1. Demilitarization of the Chapare region.

    As of April 1 the entire zone has been militarized and troops are being used to forcibly eradicate coca plants.  The entrance of the military into the zone and into the antinarcotics forces has increased violence and human rights violations, especially during eradication operations.  Fifteen people have died during confrontations, including two policemen.  The military, as well as UMOPAR (drug police) and the Ecological Police, are reported to be participating in robberies, beating and torture during eradication operations.

  2. Compliance by the GOB with the treaty signed October of 1997 with the cocaleros.

    This is the treaty that was signed at the end of last year which enabled the GOB to be certified by the U.S. government and continue to receive certain categories of foreign aid.  The coca growers agreed to voluntarily eradicate 3,600 hectares of coca before December 1st 1997.  The Bolivian government in turn agreed to several still unfulfilled promises including the development of an agricultural-industrial complex which would advance alternative development in the region.

  3. Dialogue over various components of the GOB infamous Five Year Plan which calls for the eradication of all illegal coca in the country during Banzer's term.

    This plan, which proposes to be a product of national consensus, has in fact never been debated by the county's Congress or any of their standing committees.  Cocaleros as well as other sectors of civilian society would like the plan to be analyzed, especially those sections of the plan which are in violation of the already existing antinarcotic law, Law 1008.

  4. Compensation for those families who lost members during the violent confrontation in April and May of this year.

    The cocaleros, accompanied by other sections of the popular movement, including the COB, arrived in La Paz on August 31 and found the doors to the negotiating table closed.  On September 14, approximately 50 cocaleros, including the president of the union, Evo Morales, entered into an indefinite hunger strike.  After much pressure from human rights organization and unions, the Catholic church has agreed to serve as negotiator.  This is viewed as a positive step and it is now up to the GOB to agree to enter in negotiations.

In a national meeting last weekend, the cocaleros gave the government a week to demonstrate good will toward serious negotiations.  If progress isn't seen by September 28, they intend to once again block the main highway between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

The following day, the government announced the movement of more military units into the area and guaranteed the right of passage for all.  Monsignor Ren‚ Fernandez responded by stating "that the church wants to approach both sides in a dialogue.  The problem of the coca is complex, but we understand that the innocent citizens of Chapare should not be punished."

AIN and other organizations in the country believe that negotiations are the only manner in which further violence and ultimately deaths can be avoided.  It is crucial that the GOB understand that the international community is aware that the decision rests with them.  The willingness of the government to negotiate is critical in preventing further escalation of violence in the region.  AIN is asking that letters be sent to the President and Minister of Government asking them not to follow the path of further violence but to instead agree to sit down at the bargaining table and begin to search for peaceful resolution to the conflict.  Please send your letter this week and e-mail a copy to AIN at [email protected] (and as always to DRCNet at [email protected]).

    Minister of Government
    Guido Nayar
    Avenida Arce Esq.
Wahaya     La Paz
    Fax 591 2 370460

    President of the Republic
    Hugo Banzer
    Palacio de Gobierno
    La Paz
    fax 591 2 359779

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #60, 9/25/98 DRCNet Nearing the 7,000 Mark -- Your Voice Needed | Alert: Congress Considers Jailing Children With Adults | Alert: from the Andean Information Network | On the Web | Canadian Hemp Shop Bust Aided by US Agents | Hemp BC Business License Hearing Scheduled for Next Week | Media Note: CBS Drama to Highlight Medical Marijuana | Volunteers Needed for Washington, DC Medical Marijuana Initiative | New Study Indicates That Cannabis Relieves Pain | Drug War Militarization Bill Passes House Over Objections of Colombia | Background on Juvenile Justice Bill | Massacre in Ensenada, Mexico Hits Close to US | Minnesota Marijuana Law Faces Constitutional Challenge | Human Rights Activists Accuse Russian Police of Planting Drugs | National Conference on Prisons This Weekend | Editorial: Repentance for the Drug War
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en Español Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em Português Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]