(ANTIMEDIA) Bolivia — After the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was kicked out of Bolivia, the country was able to drastically reduce the amount of coca (cocaine) produced within its borders. According to data released by the United Nations, cocaine production in the country declined by 11% in the past year, marking the fourth year in a row of steady decrease.
It was just seven years ago that the DEA left Bolivia — and only
three years after that, progress was finally made. The strategy employed
by the Bolivian government may be a surprise to many prohibitionists
because it did not involve any strong-arm police state tactics. Instead,
they worked to find alternative crops for farmers to grow that would
actually make them more money.
“Bolivia has adopted a policy based on dialogue, where coca
cultivation is allowed in traditional areas alongside alternative
development [in others],” Antonino de Leo, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s representative in Bolivia, told VICE News.
“It’s not only about making money off a crop. In the old fashioned
alternative development approach, we substitute one illicit crop for a
licit crop. It’s about a more comprehensive approach that includes
access to essential services like schools, hospitals, and roads in areas
that traditionally have been hard to reach,” Leo added.