Bolivia to Increase Counterdrug Budget

first_img Next year, the budget for the fight against drug trafficking in Bolivia will be increased from $26 million to $34 million, the government stated on December 19, claiming that there is little support from the international community to the Bolivian counterdrug efforts. “In 2013, the national government must allocate at least 34 million dollars. In 2012, the unit in charge assigned 26 million, which includes the U.S. funding of 11 million,” said Felipe Cáceres, operational head of the fight against drug trafficking, in a press conference. The official confirmed that the fight against drugs will be mostly carried out with national funds, since aid from the United States will be reduced. “This year, we have been told that the United States has less resources, like five million dollars,” he added. Bolivia highlighted its achievements in the coca producing town of Chimoré, located in the center of the country, where the results of the fight against drug trafficking and coca crop eradications were revealed. The South American nation reported that 11,043 hectares of coca crops were eradicated in 2012, the largest area in the last decade, where 36 tons of cocaine paste and hydrochloride were seized. “These are very positive achievements. I hope it continues,” Ross Denny, U.K. representative who participated in the government report, told the press. On the other hand, Bolivian counter drug chief, Colonel Gonzalo Quezada, said that a program of air control, led by the Air Force, will be implemented in 2013 aimed at disrupting air bridges, especially with Peru. He stated that aircrafts, pilots, and flight plans will be registered, an attempt that has been unsuccessful so far. Besides being a coca and cocaine producing nation, Bolivia is a transit point for drugs sent to neighboring Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile, with final destinations in Europe and Africa. By Dialogo December 21, 2012last_img