NEWS > BUSINESS > THE U.S. TO ALLOW SHIPMENTS OF BOLIVIAN COCAINE AFTER THREE YEAR BREAK
THE U.S. TO ALLOW SHIPMENTS OF BOLIVIAN COCAINE AFTER THREE YEAR BREAK
November 11 2011
Sucre, Bolivia – For a variety of reasons, Bolivia has long been in the crosshairs of the United States. Over the last few decades the principle reason for that focus has been drugs. Since the U.S. declared a war on drugs, Bolivia has been one of the principle targets but, like in virtually all other aspects of the war on drugs, things have only gotten worse.
Today Bolivia is the third largest producer of cocaine on the planet and its President, Evo Morales, was once the union leader for the coca growers association, a far cry from victory in that country by anyone’s measure. Still, the United States has tried to deal with the growing issue in the country and a recent announcement of more normalized relations seemed to strengthen the possibility of resolution.
However, Morales, a man who kicked out the U.S. Ambassador just three years ago, has said that while some U.S. influence will be tolerated, any type of tinkering with the drug trade is simply unacceptable, fundamental as it is to the struggling and problematic Bolivian economy, and that cocaine production will be unhindered by the new agreement between the two nations.
“They repressed us in Bolivia. That has ended. For the first time since Bolivia was founded, the United States will now respect Bolivia's rules,” said Morales in a speech following the announcement. He made it clear that the DEA in particular was not welcome back in the country, opposed as they are to drug production.
Previous to Morales’ election DEA agents were essentially in control of the nations’ police force, at least according to Morales himself, a situation that will not be allowed to repeat itself in the new Bolivia.
The two nations signed their renewed agreement on Monday.
“This is actually a good thing for the country. It will allow increased trade between the two nations and that in turn will allow for much more transport into the United States, which is still the biggest client in the world. It’s going to make the drug thing much harder stateside, but much easier in Bolivia,” said Scrape TV International analyst Gustav Hander. “This is a good day for just about everyone in Bolivia, but especially the drug producers. When they lost the U.S. market it should have been rough, but because of the grip the U.S. held on the country it has actually only increased production and now they are coming into the game with a much stronger hand.”
Bolivia leapfrogged a number of other countries in terms of production, going from number 8 to number 3 in the few years the U.S. was officially ostracized.
Most of the manufacturing facilities are of Mexican and Columbian origin.
“Coming in with this position, as one of the major manufacturers, Bolivia is in a really strong position to take a huge chunk out of the overall market. With increased distribution to the U.S. dollars and production will increase and that will benefit the local economy tremendously,” continued Hander. “On the U.S. side it will also be a boon. It will likely result in lower prices which in turn will increase consumption, good for buyers and sellers. It’s a win-win all around, well except for the DEA. Though they will get more busts, so that will help their numbers.”
Bolivia will also not allow Burger King into the country despite t not being an official division of the U.S. government.
William Ashford, Business Correspondent