September 18, 2012
The production of coca leaves in Bolivia is down since last year, according to an annual United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report published yesterday. The area used for cultivation of coca decreased 12 percent, from 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) in 2010 to 27,000 hectares (66720 acres), the 2011 national coca monitoring survey said.
UNODC surveillance showed decreases in cultivation in Bolivia’s coca-growing hotspots: 11 percent in Yungas near La Paz, responsible for two-thirds of the country’s production; 15 percent in Cochabamba Tropics, Cochabamba; and 7 percent in the provinces north of La Paz. Despite these efforts, Bolivia remains the third-largest cocaine producer, after Peru and Colombia. While the production of cocaine is illegal in Bolivia, the production of small amounts of coca crop, the main ingredient in cocaine, remains lawful.
Monday’s UN report comes two days after the governments of Bolivia and Venezuela rebuffed a statement by President Barack Obama that both nations "have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements." Bolivian President Evo Morales responded by saying that the American consumption of cocaine and other narcotics gives the U.S. “no morality, authority or ethics” to speak on the War on Drugs.