A new bill in Bolivia, which will allow the amount of land allocated to producing coca to be increased from 12,000 to 22,000 hectares, modifying a nearly three-decade coca production policy, has led to warnings from independent voices and the opposition that the measure could fuel drug trafficking.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC
) has praised Bolivia for reducing coca bush cultivation for the fourth year in a row. According to the latest Coca Crop Monitoring Survey
, released Tuesday in La Paz, coca cultivation declined by 11 per cent in 2014, compared to the previous year.
Once again, Washington claims Bolivia has not met its obligations under international narcotics agreements. For the seventh year in a row, the U.S. president has notified Congress that the Andean country “failed demonstrably” in its counter-narcotics efforts over the last 12 months. Blacklisting Bolivia means the withholding of U.S. aid from one of South America’s poorest countries.
This week, the U.N. reported that coca cultivation in Bolivia fell nine percent last year, and a massive 26 percent in the past three years.
Despite looming differences over Colombia's drug policy, President Barack Obama renewed his support for a peaceful settlement to the civil war that has plagued the country for over half a century in a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Tuesday.
The secrecy surrounding a friendly settlement in a case that Ecuador brought against Colombia in the International Court of Justice for damage caused by anti-drug spraying along the border has further angered those affected by the fumigation.