How much cocaine is produced in Bolivia?

Carlos Böhrt writes in Pagina Siete

In recent months several cases of illicit drug trafficking derived from coca have been discovered in our country, while at the same time making visible the relations of some of the people involved in this illegal trafficking with leaders and personalities of the government party. The issue, without a doubt, has entered the set of problems that concern the population, putting in the foreground the need to quantify the national production of cocaine.

Therefore, we present below a first exercise aimed at identifying the magnitude of the potential production of the fateful drug in Bolivia. The analysis is based on the 2013 government study on the demand for coca leaf in the country and the official information recorded in the 2017 report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc).

1. Demand for coca leaf. According to the 2013 government study, under strong suspicion of manipulation of figures, the aggregate demand for coca leaf in Bolivia would be as follows: internal market 20,600 metric tons (MT) of coca leaf; border sales (exports) 3,700 MT. They add to a total of 24,300 MT.

2. Area cultivated with coca in 2017:

Yungas of La Paz: 15,900 Ha, north of La Paz: 220 Ha, Cochabamba tropic 8,400 Ha, protected areas 253 Ha. They add up to a total of 24,773 Ha.

These surfaces are the result of the application of the General Law of Coca, which significantly expanded crops in the Cochabamba tropics.

3. Production of coca leaf. Research carried out since the 70s of the last century allowed us to identify factors of average annual productivity differentiated according to the zones of the crops:

? Yungas of La Paz: 15,900 x 1.31 = 20,829 MT; ? North of La Paz: 220 x 1.25 = 275 MT; ? Cochabamba and protected areas: 8.653 x 2.76 = 23.882 MT. Totals: 24,773 = 44,986 MT.

4. Surplus coca leaf.

Production less aggregate demand: 44,986 – 24,300 = 20,686 MT

5. Coca leaf seizures in 2017: ? 370 MT

6. Coca leaf available for drug manufacture: 20,686 – 370 = 20,316 MT.

7. Potential production of drugs in 2017. Studies carried out in the 1990s indicated that 2.4 kg of cocaine is produced with a MT of coca leaf. Here it must be considered that these studies, naturally, were based on the technologies used in those years, surpassed at present. Therefore, the potential production of cocaine in 2017 would have been: ? 20.316 x 2.4 = 48.758 kilos = 48.8 MT.

8. Drug seizures in 2017: cocaine base 13.7 MT, hydrochloride 3.8 MT, total 17.5 MT.

9. Bolivian drug in circulation: potential drug production 48.8 MT, fewer seizures 17.5 MT, drug in circulation 31.3 MT.

? This figure, in fact, could be substantially greater if the analysis incorporates the new technologies that increased the productivity of cocaine and if, in addition, we were left with the 12,000 legal hectares authorized by the former Law 1.008.

? It should be noted here that in 2014, the year after the government study and without the expansion of coca from Cochabamba, only around 4.8 MT of cocaine remained in circulation; consequently, the Bolivian drug in circulation would have increased by an additional 26.5 MT, which represents an increase of 452% with respect to that year.

In sum, the above data lead to conclude that the notable increase in cocaine produced in the country is a direct effect of the General Law of Coca, which, in turn, is generating an increase in social violence, decreasing the citizen security and, perhaps, growth of internal drug consumption.

A second conclusion is also clear: since Evo Morales is the maximum leader of the beneficiaries of the General Law of Coca, its approval and promulgation implies a conflict of interest in the President of the State.

Carlos Böhrt I. is a critical citizen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s