Following Pact with Brazil, Bolivia Seeks to Add Peru and Chile in Anti-drug Fight
By Dialogo April 11, 2011
Bolivia is working to add Peru and Chile to a regionalized fight against cocaine trafficking, following the signing of agreements on joint anti-drug action with Brazil at the end of March, Bolivian Vice Minister of Social Defense Felipe Cáceres announced on 7 April.
“We have been in contact with Peru, with the aim that in the next few weeks, at the tripartite location ‘Bolpebra’ (a town where the Bolivian, Brazilian, and Peruvian borders come together), a high-level meeting can be held to adopt more drastic, more concrete measures for reducing drug trafficking in the country,” Cáceres said.
The vice minister explained that a meeting will first be held, on the 29th of this month, between Bolivian and Brazilian antinarcotics authorities, in the Bolivian border town of Puerto Suárez, and that the event in Bolpebra, an Amazonian town that unites the three countries, will be held one day later.
“In the future, we have to work with Chile to reinforce our operational activities at locations on the Chilean border,” Cáceres noted in an interview with the government radio network.
The official specified that in the Chilean case, it is urgent to get agreements signed, since there are Bolivian and Peruvian drugs that end up in Chile, and chemical precursors for manufacturing cocaine arrive in Bolivia from that country.
“We have an obligation in Chile and Bolivia to reach police-military cooperation agreements in order to reduce drug trafficking,” insisted Cáceres, who said that efforts are being made with the Chilean government to move forward in this regard.
Bolivia already relies on Brazilian cooperation for the anti-drug fight and the eradication of coca crops, a strategy that La Paz calls “anti-drug regionalization,” following the 2008 expulsion of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for political reasons.
Bolivia is the world’s third largest cocaine producer, after Peru and Colombia, according to United Nations data, and its drugs chiefly end up in the Brazilian market.