Daily Archives: July 26, 2011

Bolivian briefs: cocaine; takeovers; TIPNIS; phone interventions

Cocaine: The US Government expressed their concern over the “growing cocaine trade” in Bolivia, such view is part of the new American strategy against transnational criminal organizations.


  • It is frightening to see Bolivia becoming not only coca leaf producers but also being immersed more and more in violent cocaine trafficking. While Colombia is beginning to control this criminal activity, Bolivia is starting to find dead bodies with more than five bullets at the ditches of our roads.

Mining takeovers: The vice-minister of Metallurgical Mining Productive Development Héctor Córdova, acknowledged that violent take overs are a complex issue for the government. “In our country we have to analyze all these situations: higher prices, social vindication, environment, personal ambitions, lack of State presence in many places”, among others, are what “outlines a complex panorama” stated Córdova. He also said that to date two mining operations continue in the hand of the invaders, as it happens with Himalaya mine, from Barrosquira mining company. Córdova said that there are other mines that were taken over but not denounced. Back in January 26, the president for the Mining National Chamber, Saturnino Ramos denounced that around 201 mining concessions were taken over since 2004.


  • This government’s new mining Law is still in the drawing board for over six years now; in the meantime Bolivians fight and die in violent senseless clashes against each other; foreign investment remains in the mining sectors of Chile and Peru; and still there is no value added, we just export raw materials.

TIPNIS: Current Bolivian president stated “is lamentable that sectors of indigenous Peoples oppose the construction of roads or the construction of hydrocarbon plants,” as reported by ABI. This was a direct referral to the road that intends to cut in half the TIPNIS and the San Ignacio de Moxos (Beni) intended hydrocarbon activities.


  • It is confusing that this government expresses one thing and then another completely different on the same issue. It all depends on the audience and it is a sad reflection that there are no sound sustainable development policies.

Phone call interventions: A draft of a new Law on telecommunications in its Article 111 establishes grounds for phone tampering on all citizens in Bolivia. The grounds for such measure are threats to the country, danger to the security of the state, external threats, internal commotion or disasters. Those are the justification that the executive power has presented for such action, in a clear threat to the privacy that we are all entitled to. 


  • Countries with more checks and balances; better judicial and legislative systems struggle with similar measures. They use it when there is probable cause and it works. However, it can also represent a serious and dangerous element that can be easily manipulated to anyone who happens to think differently.