This is an excellent editorial from El Diario:
Double ethical standards about coca
The current Government of the country apparently has double ethics in relation to the production and cultivation of the coca leaf. Indeed, on the one hand announces that it is dedicated to eradicate large areas of the bush, while, on the other hand, is applying measures to increase the cultivation of this plant.
As for the “fight” of the Government against the production of coca leaf, reported that in recent years it eradicated around five thousand hectares in some peripheral regions the traditional areas and adds that this “campaign” will continue with the same pace. Also allegedly, it will not be allowed that more coca is grown by “social control” and more “catos” [is the way surface of the crop is measured] shall not be authorized for new producers. [of course! they want to control the production, the market… it is a protected monopoly! tied with the so-called community justice, people can be killed… no questions asked… anarchical power, an “independent country” inside Bolivia]
All of this remains to be seen with good eyes. However, on the other hand, the Government adopts specific measures contrary to the general idea, which are intended not only to maintain but to increase the cultivation of the leaf; to grow the coca production area; increase the area of cultivation of the plant on the basis of the eradication of plantations of fruit trees, coffee plantations, occupation of grasslands, as well as to improve the productivity per hectare with the use of modern techniques and others.
Now, this dual approach (eradication of, on the one hand, and promote consumption, on the other) in relation to the coca economy, is actually determining leaf production to grow, i.e. a result contrary to that posted speeches and official communications.
In fact, that official policy to increase crops and coca production is based on concrete measures to increase the consumption of the leaf. First it was the freedom to “acullico” [chew] internally and externally [outside Bolivia]; Second, the announcement of the free export of the leave at the continental level and the Planet (such as Argentina, China, and others); third, the industrialization of coca for unlimited consumption; the reform of international agreements; increase the consumption of leaf in neighboring countries by lowering prices and others. [people forget that less than 15 years ago, when a Bolivian and a Brazilian player were tested for drugs, they came out positive as they had drank coca tea… so there goes the “reality” that this government is relentlessly pushing. Afghan drug lords use guns to protect their business as some Colombians did, here the support is made by politics…]
Those points – deliberately or not – are aimed at increasing the consumption of coca and, as they establish the laws of economics, higher consumption corresponds to higher production.
Accordingly, measures dictated by the Government to increase the consumption of the leaf are contradictory, as to increase national and international consumption of coca, what you are doing in the background – contrary to what they praise -, it is to promote coca production. Indeed, before the growth of consumption, both individual, industrial, commercial, and at national and international level, the producers will be forced to make all possible efforts to maintain the requirements of the consumer, without making references to that will be more satisfied by the increase in the price of the product, the logical result of the improved demand.
In this way, from the economic point of view and aside from any value judgment, it is in practice a double standard towards the coca crops in the country, which manifests itself in an objective form, on the occasion of the request at the recent international forum on coca which demanded that the Foreign Ministry legalize the informal trade that exists with Argentina, including the lowering of the price of the leaf in that country and therefore to grow its consumption.
It doesn’t matter how cynical are current coca-growers’ political party in power, the MAS. No matter what they say, their actions are targeted to just one thing: continue to make profit over that crop, continue to control the market, the production and of course continue to feed the narcotraffick.
They could care less of the damage to the environment as the coca crop destroys literally the soil, provokes lad clearing and deforestation. Let alone the hundreds of Bolivians who remain tied to that addiction.
No wonder this government’s wrongdoings made us compare with the Somalias and Afghanistans of the world…