Bolivia's drug war wins U.S. approval
Saturday, September 15, 2007
WASHINGTON - Bolivia, the third-largest cocaine producer in the world, has done enough to fight the drug trade over the past year to be spared U.S. sanctions, U.S. officials said yesterday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision will not be made public until Monday, said Bolivia would not be put on the U.S. list of states that have "failed demonstrably" to meet their counter-narcotics commitments.
If Bolivia were on the list, which is to be announced by the White House Monday, the United States could cut off U.S. aid other than counter-narcotics and humanitarian funds.
U.S. officials cited two reasons for the decision.
First, Bolivia met a U.S. target of eradicating at least 5,000 hectares of coca crop. Second, U.S. officials believe placing it on the list could undercut counter-narcotics co-operation.
The presidential determination will likely paint a mixed picture of counter-narcotics work in Bolivia, showing increased drug seizures, but suggesting those reflected higher cocaine production.
Cocaine seizures were up 17 per cent to 11 tonnes in Bolivia from October 2006 to May 2007, while coca leaf seizures increased by 48 per cent, said one U.S. official.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2007