Brazil Donates Helicopters to Counter Drug Trafficking in Bolivia

By Dialogo
September 17, 2012

Brazil announced the donation of helicopters aimed at countering drug trafficking in Bolivia, said the Brazilian Minister of Justice Jose Eduardo Cardozo on September 13, in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.

“Within the framework of the Bolivian-Brazilian Action Plan signed in 2011, Brazil will donate four helicopters to the Government of Bolivia,” stated Cardozo at a press conference.

Also, “we want to achieve an exchange of intelligence; we are planning to put into practice a set of joint participation measures, such as technological innovations. We will be granting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to the Bolivian government,” he added.

After a meeting with the Minister of Interior Carlos Romero, head of the fight against drug trafficking, Cardozo said that “I am very happy because I think we have […] a strong identity of goals between the Brazilian and Bolivian governments.”

In August, Romero discarded the possibility that members of the Brazilian Federal Police participated in actions intended to destroy illegal coca crops in the Bolivian territory, as the local media had pointed out. The official stated that it would “not be appropriate.”

However, Cardozo claimed at the press conference that “it is a program that is being tested in Peru, where the Brazilian Federal Police – along with the Peruvian authorities – is carrying out the eradication of illegal crops; we also have that in Paraguay, and we would like to do the same with Bolivia.”

“As sister nations help each other, we want to partner with Bolivia in the fight against drug trafficking”, he added.

According to recent unofficial data, almost 90 percent of cocaine that arrives in Brazil comes through Bolivia from Peru.

Last March, Bolivian and Brazilian governments, along with the United States, started to use a satellite system to manage the reduction of coca crops in the Bolivian region of Chapare.

According to United Nations estimates, the South American country has 31,000 hectares (76,602 acres) of coca crops, of which the Bolivian legislation acknowledges that only 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres) are for traditional use, such as chewing, infusion, and Andean religious rituals.

La Paz has no official record of the cocaine produced, even though the United States has recently reported that annual Bolivian production is about 265 tons, less than Peruvian production (325 tons), and more than Colombian production (195 tons).

Last year, Bolivia seized 29 tons of cocaine, which is being trafficked to Brazil (60%), Argentina (20%), and Chile (20%).