Bolivia Negotiations Stall as Coca Growers Reject Government Proposal 10/12/01

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


(bulletin from the Andean Information Network)

On October 9, coca growers' representatives met with Bolivian government officials in Cochabamba. Chapare union leaders reiterated their demand that each of the approximately 35,000 families in the region dependent on coca production be allowed to maintain one cato (1,600 square meters) of coca for traditional consumption and subsistence.

The government refused to halt eradication or permit the continuation of coca production in the region and proposed:

  • A payment of approximately $930 US to each family this year to stimulate the production of alternative crops through existing programs (government spokespeople state that this amount surpasses the income generated in one year by one cato of coca);
  • Guaranteed markets and fixed prices for alternative development crops or government purchase of these crops;
  • Markets for alternative crops in the Chapare region and traditional coca cultivation in the La Paz Yungas; and
  • Technical assistance for alternative development efforts.
Concrete plans or strategies to implement this proposal remain unclear.

Coca producers expressed skepticism about the government's ability to implement its proposal, based on chronic incompliance with past agreements. Representatives also noted that a one-year payment would not adequately substitute income from continued coca cultivation.

Evo Morales, leader of the Six Coca Growing Federations, stated that the group maintains the demand for one cato of coca and gave the government until October 15 to respond. He threatened that road blockades could begin at that time if demands are not met.

Leopoldo Fernandez, Minister of Government, stated that security forces would repress any attempted blockades.

Coca growers maintain their vigil around at least six of the nine eradication camps in the region and other groups maintain in alert along the main road and other strategic locations. Tensions remain high in the region.

At 1:00am on October 5, a group of 150 coca growers including women and children carried out a vigil at the military camp in the town of Isinuta. According to denunciations from residents of the region, members of the Joint Task Force tear-gassed the group, fired live ammunition, and beat some individuals. At this time, two people are receiving medical attention in the Villa Tunari Hospital:

  • Florencio Arce (46 years old), gunshot wound in the back of the right knee; and
  • Silvestre Tarqui (32 years old) Deputy Mayor of Isinuta, multiple contusions in the abdomen, thorax and arms.
At approximately 7:00am on October 7, nine year-old Mirtha Cespedes Escobar triggered the trip wire of a booby trap crossing the main road to Villa 14 de Septiembre. Fragments from the explosion punctured the left side of her upper lip and fractured a tooth. She also received abrasions on her arm and shoulder.

Security forces detained union leader Samuel Chacon to investigate the incident, provoking protests from coca growers' leaders.

For further information, contact the Andean Information Network at [email protected], visit or write to Casilla 4817, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

9. Activists Propose Take-Out Cannabis Cafe in Brixton, Authorities Mum

Despite the alacrity with which authorities in Manchester moved to shut down Colin Davies' cannabis cafe last month (, activists in Brixton continue to plan for such marijuana retail establishments to open there. Unlike Manchester, the London neighborhood has been the scene of a months-long experiment with marijuana decriminalization, with police no longer arresting people holding or smoking it. Cannabis Action, a British marijuana reform activism group, last week presented a plan for three Dutch-style cannabis cafes, including one with take-out service.

The proposal comes after a series of consultative meetings organized by Cannabis Action with youth workers, Brixton residents, and pro-legalization campaigners and amidst the rapid dissolution of the consensus in favor of marijuana prohibition in Great Britain (

Under the scheme drawn up by Cannabis Action's Tim Summers, who has helped organize major pro-cannabis marches in London for the past three years, three cannabis cafes are envisioned. They will be the follow-up to the six-month decrim experiment in the borough of Lambeth, of which Brixton is a part. The first would offer a licensed 24-hour carryout service to serve "drug tourists" and London residents. The second may be sponsored by the area's large Rastafarian community, and a third could be operated by the local hippie community, Summers said.

"We would follow the tested Dutch regulations that mean no advertising, no sales of hard drugs, no nuisance, no alcohol, no sale to those under 18 years, and no sale of more than 30 grams of cannabis for each transaction," he told the Guardian. "The idea is to supersede the criminal trade by being open long hours and offering a wide choice of resin and herbal cannabis at cheaper prices."

Governmental authorities moved quickly to pass the buck. The Lambeth council told the Guardian it was not a licensing authority for cannabis. The Metropolitan Police, who are overseeing the successful decrim experiment in Lambeth, told the newspaper the Home Office would have to make the decision. The Home Office has not commented.

-- 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 #206, 10/12/01 Editorial: I Feel Safer Already | DEA Bans Consumption of Hemp Foods Effective Immediately | In First, DEA Raids California Medical Marijuana Doctor, Feds Want to See Patient Records 206/noindictments No Indictments in Missouri Jack-in-the-Box Killings -- Prosecutor Calls Victims Bums | Tales of Bin Laden: New York Times Bites on Ill-Sourced Super Heroin Story Peddled by Unnamed Officials | Dealing with Ecstasy: As Europe Embraces Harm Reduction, Acting Drug Czar Fumes Against It | Jamaica: Prime Minister, Ruling Party Call for National Debate on Ganja Decrim | Bolivia Negotiations Stall as Coca Growers Reject Government Proposal | Activists Propose Take-Out Cannabis Cafe in Brixton, Authorities Mum | Marijuana Legalization Initiative Filed in Alaska, Again | Alerts: HEA Drug Provision, Drug Czar Nomination, DEA Hemp Ban, Ecstasy Bill, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana | Job Openings at MPP | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs 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]