Colombian Cartels Seek to Operate in Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela

By Dialogo
December 14, 2011

Colombia advocated for greater regional cooperation in confronting drug trafficking, in response to evidence that cartels from that country are moving into and trying to operate in Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela, according to Colombian Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín on December 12.

“For us, the knowledge that Colombian cartels are moving into and trying to operate in Bolivia, in Peru, or in Venezuela is a source of great regret,” Holguín stated at a press conference during an official visit to La Paz to review cooperation programs with her Bolivian counterpart, David Choquehuanca.

According to the chief Colombian diplomat, one of President Juan Manuel Santos’s priorities is “promoting even stronger regional cooperation in the matter of fighting against drug trafficking.”

“The enormous resources that the drug cartels have mean that they can be everywhere… The cartels move in a way that our police forces and authorities don’t move in security matters,” she noted.

Holguín also made reference to the repeated arrests in Bolivia, the world’s third-largest producer of coca and cocaine – according to the United Nations – of Colombians linked to drug trafficking, although there are no official figures on those being held.

One of the first initiatives was to agree with Bolivia on the terms of the 2+2 dialogue mechanism (Foreign and Defense Ministers), with the aim of coordinating actions on security issues, she noted.

Bolivian Foreign Minister Choquehuanca said that one of the interests shared by the two countries is coordinating actions to confront the plague of drug trafficking.

Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia are the three major world producers of coca and cocaine, according to UN data.

Holguín and Choquehuanca also reviewed a number of political, economic, and trade matters.