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A. Introduction

Bolivia is one of the three largest cocaine producing countries in the world and a significant transit zone for Peruvian cocaine. Significant amounts of Peruvian-origin cocaine have been intercepted in Bolivia in 2012, and two Bolivian-flagged aircraft loaded with Peruvian cocaine were seized in Peru in September. Most Bolivian cocaine flows to other Latin American countries, especially Brazil, for domestic consumption or onward transit to West Africa and Europe. The United States estimates that approximately one percent of cocaine seized and tested in the United States originates in Bolivia.

In September 2012, the President of the United States determined for the fifth consecutive year that Bolivia "failed demonstrably" to make sufficient efforts to meet its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements. This Presidential determination was based, in part, on evidence that Bolivia has not been able to stop the increase in cocaine production resulting from the use of more efficient technology in the production process, as well as insufficient law enforcement efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The United States estimates that in 2011, cocaine production potential in Bolivia increased 29 percent from 2010 to 265 metric tons (MT).

The National Drug Control Council, chaired by the Ministry of Government, is the central counternarcotics policymaking body in Bolivia. The Vice Ministry for Social Defense (VMSD) is the body with the mandate to combat drug trafficking, regulate coca production, and advance coca eradication and drug prevention and rehabilitation. The Special Counternarcotics Police Force (FELCN) is comprised of approximately 1,600 personnel and reports to the VMSD. The Joint Eradication Task Force conducts manual coca eradication with approximately 2,300 personnel.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who remains the president of the coca growers' federation in the Chapare region, one of two major coca growing areas, maintains a "social control" policy for illicit coca eradication in which the government negotiates with coca growers to obtain their consent for eradication. Bolivia continues coca eradication efforts, reporting the eradication of over 10,000 hectares (ha) for the second consecutive year, in spite of resistance from some coca growers. However, illegal cultivation for drug production remains high, and the Bolivian government has inadequate controls to prevent the diversion of "legal" coca production to illicit cocaine production.

Bolivia's ability to identify, investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations remains diminished following the 2008 expulsion of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which provided assistance to Bolivian counterparts. Colombian, Brazilian, Peruvian and other foreign nationals engage in financing, producing and exporting drugs and laundering drug proceeds within Bolivia. Bolivia denies foreign drug cartels operate in Bolivia, but acknowledges that cartel emissaries are present.

B. Drug Control Accomplishments, Policies, and Trends

1. Institutional Development

For several years, Morales administration officials have called for new legislation to increase the ceiling for licit coca cultivation from 12,000 to 20,000 ha. Movement on such legislation was delayed pending release of a study funded by the European Union (EU) to estimate the number of hectares required for traditional coca consumption. The study, originally requested in 2005, has remained with the Bolivian government for over a year for review and revision, despite international requests that it be published. Bolivia agreed to complete a separate study of cocaine yields by 2014 with UNODC support.

The Bolivian government, through the Executing Unit for the Fight against Narcotics, budgeted $25.5 million in 2012 for counternarcotics operations. Since 2011, the United States has worked with the Bolivian government to take over operational and financial responsibilities for several U.S.-supported programs; this process continued in 2012.

FELCN's operations continue to focus on money laundering cases and leads from law enforcement counterparts from neighboring countries. In 2012, Bolivia continued to seek counternarcotics support from other countries, especially Brazil and Argentina. In particular, Bolivia and Brazil continued to work together on border security and other counternarcotics efforts, including the donation of four Brazilian helicopters to Bolivia.

The United States, Bolivia, and Brazil began a trilateral pilot project in January 2012 that will enable Bolivia to eradicate illegal coca more efficiently, detect the re- planting of eradicated coca, and improve the credibility of Bolivia's eradication results through satellite imagery. The United States has provided computer and digital measuring equipment as well as training to Bolivian personnel.

Bolivia's efforts in 2011 to amend the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs led it to withdraw from the Convention, effective January 1, 2012. In December 2011, Bolivia requested to re-accede to the Convention with a proposed reservation for coca chewing. The United States formally objected to the Bolivian reservation in July 2012, noting that it could lead to a greater supply of available coca, thereby fueling narcotics trafficking and related criminal activity.

The United States and Bolivia are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1995 that permits the extradition of nationals for the most serious offenses, including drug trafficking. In practice, however, the treaty is not fully utilized. While Bolivia does not have a mutual legal assistance treaty with the United States, various multilateral conventions to which both countries are signatories are used for requesting mutual legal assistance.

2. Supply Reduction

The 2011 U.S. government coca cultivation estimate for Bolivia of 30,000 ha was 13 percent lower than the 2010 estimate of 34,500 ha. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated 27,200 ha of cultivation for 2011, a 12percent decrease from 2010. Bolivia has stated its intention to reduce net coca cultivation to 20,000 ha by 2015.

Under an agreement with the Government of Bolivia, Chapare coca grower federations began enforcing a 2003 "coca zero" policy that legalized one "cato" (40 x 40 m) of cultivation per member of the federations. Because many farmers were growing two or more catos, the federations have implemented a "self-control" policy whereby growers voluntarily eradicate coca in excess of one cato. However, since 2003 only 261 farmers have lost the right to cultivate coca for one year and 71 farmers have lost the right to grow coca for life as punishment for violating the one-cato limit by planting additional catos of coca.

During 2012, the U.S.-supported Integrated Alternative Development (IAD) Program continued to help diversify the economies of Bolivia's coca growing regions, reduce communities' dependency on coca, and complement the Bolivian government's coca eradication efforts. In its last year of implementation, the IAD Program completed more than 70 projects, generated nearly 700 new jobs and $5.2 million in sales of U.S.-supported products for the direct benefit of approximately 6,800 families.

The FELCN achieved numerous high-profile successes in 2012, including the destruction of multiple cocaine labs in the Carrasco National Park and the Yapacani region. According to the Bolivian government, FELCN seized 32.1 MT of cocaine base and 4.2 MT of cocaine hydrochloride (HCL), representing a 13 percent increase in the amount of cocaine base seized and a 26 percent decrease in the amount of HCL seized over 2011. FELCN also destroyed 37 cocaine HCL processing labs and 4,433 rustic cocaine labs, a 48 percent increase and 16 percent decrease from the same period in 2011, respectively.

The FELCN arrested and charged 4,317 individuals on narcotics-related offenses in 2012, a 10 percent increase from 2011 in which 3,930 individuals were charged with narcotics offenses. Prosecutors reported 465 drug convictions in 2012, although some of these convictions may have stemmed from arrests made in previous years.

3. Drug Abuse Awareness, Demand Reduction, and Treatment

The last Bolivian-sponsored domestic drug use study was completed in 2008. A U.S.-sponsored study entitled "Drug Use in Bolivia 1992-2010" showed a steady increase in drug use throughout the country. A 2011 study on student drug use also show increased consumption of marijuana, cocaine, and cocaine base, but no studies were performed in 2012.

The United States sponsored a UNODC-implemented school-based drug abuse prevention program targeting 100,000 students. The United States also funded four drug- abuse prevention and rehabilitation projects as well as a drug education and rehabilitation program with a Bolivian youth soccer academy. Internet resources were developed for drug demand reduction and treatment in two cities.

There are approximately 80 drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, the majority of which are private initiatives funded primarily by religious organizations from the United States and Europe. The national government does not allocate funds for these types of programs. No impact evaluations have been performed in this area. Forty percent of drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in Bolivia provide outpatient services based on counseling and education.

4. Corruption

The Ministry of Anticorruption and Transparency and the Prosecutor's Office are responsible for combating corruption. Corruption accusations were frequent and often unaddressed by an already strained judiciary. As a matter of policy, Bolivia does not encourage or facilitate illegal activity associated with drug trafficking. There were arrests and investigations of corrupt officials in 2012, but most were not related to corruption associated with drug trafficking.

In 2012 all FELCN members took the polygraph test and those who did not pass were transferred out of the program.

C. National Goals, Bilateral Cooperation and U.S. Policy Initiatives

Since 2011, the United States has worked to transfer operational and financial responsibilities for U.S.-supported counternarcotics programs to the Bolivian government, a process that remained underway in 2012. U.S. assistance seeks to augment Bolivia's capacity to generate and disseminate law enforcement information by improving border controls and checks on the internal movement of goods and persons. The United States also supports initiatives to promote greater cooperation between Bolivian law enforcement agencies and their international counterparts to advance investigations of drug trafficking and other transnational crimes, and participate in international law enforcement information-sharing networks. U.S. law enforcement capacity-building programs also promote the use of enhanced investigative tools and techniques for the arrest and prosecution of members of criminal organizations. The United States has worked with the Bolivian government to increase the effectiveness of Bolivia's counternarcotics laws to combat money laundering, precursor chemicals, and asset forfeiture, and continues to encourage the Bolivian police to improve internal anti- corruption efforts.

The United States also provides Bolivian law enforcement, prosecutors and judges with training. In 2012, the United States supported the training of 1,792 police officers, prosecutors and other officials through 60 training courses, seminars and conferences, including sending Bolivian police officers and officials for training in Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, El Salvador and the United States. The number of officers participating in this training decreased significantly from 2011, partially because of a decision by the police not to participate in U.S. training programs for part of the year.

D. Conclusion

Although Bolivia's eradication program is surpassing its stated targets, eradication and interdiction results were not sufficient to reverse increased potential cocaine production levels caused by new efficiencies in the narcotics production process, combined with the potency of Bolivian coca. Bolivia's policy to consider 20,000 hectares of coca cultivation as licit and its withdrawal from the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs undermined Bolivia's efforts to meet its international drug control obligations. The release of the results of an EU study confirming the true number of hectares needed for licit consumption has been significantly delayed, raising suspicion that the results will be much lower than current production levels, and probably lower than the 20,000 hectares Bolivia considers licit.

Bolivian public, media, and experts perceive that the challenge to Bolivian institutions from corruption and criminality associated with drug trafficking increased during 2012.

Bolivia should strengthen efforts to tighten controls over the coca leaf trade in order to stem diversion to cocaine processing in line with international commitments, achieve further net reductions in coca cultivation and enhance law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute drug traffickers. Enacting new asset forfeiture legislation and other counternarcotics measures would provide Bolivian law enforcement agencies with necessary tools. Those nations most directly affected by Bolivian cocaine exports are encouraged to increase their support to Bolivia as the United States transitions from operational support to training and law enforcement capacity building.
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Title Annotation:Country Reports
Publication:International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:3BOLI
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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