U.S. Ends Anti-Drug Support Program in Bolivia and Transfers Equipment
By Dialogo July 09, 2012The U.S. Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) has announced the start of the transfer of infrastructure, equipment, and weapons to the Bolivian Government, as a donation, in advance of the September conclusion of its program to support the fight against drug trafficking.
“At this time, the corresponding transfer to the National Council against Illicit Drug Trafficking is being made,” said Felipe Cáceres, the Bolivian official responsible for the fight against drugs.
The transfer encompasses small planes, “eight helicopters, 1,500 station wagons, about 45 Caimans (vehicles), boats, armaments, and equipment” assigned to the different Military and police agencies involved in the fight against drug trafficking, and “all the infrastructure that the U.S. Government has built” over 20 years, the official added.
He specified that this set of assets will become the property of either the Joint Task Force, by way of the Defense Ministry, or the Special Anti-Drug-Trafficking Strike Force, which falls under the police.
Cáceres explained that the withdrawal of the NAS is due to budgetary reasons: “We understand that it’s strictly a question of a financial deficit.”
Nevertheless, he said that the withdrawal of U.S. support will not have a negative effect on the Bolivian Government’s current work.
The fight against drugs “is going to be sustainable, is not going to vary for any reason, any operation. On the contrary, we’re going to increase the number of operations,” the deputy minister stated.
The operations will be the responsibility of the Executive Unit for the fight against drug trafficking, which falls under the Interior Ministry, “with a budget of more than 20 million dollars.”