Bolivia Eradicated a Record Number of Surplus Coca Crops in 2021

Bolivia has exceeded expectations in the eradication of illicit coca crops for 2021, registering a record 9,457 hectares, having recovered its eradication model following the restoration of democracy.  

The annual results of the eradication of coca leaf crops were presented by the Interior Ministry on Thursday at the Parque de las Culturas in La Paz, with national, military and police authorities.

Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo reported that Bolivia managed to exceed its goal, in stark contrast with the US-backed defacto coup regime of Jeanine Añez which increased coca production by 15% in 2020.

“During the management of Mrs. Jeanine Áñez, only 1,770 hectares were eradicated. With a smaller budget, with less logistics and in less time we have managed to exceed more than 9,400 hectares,” said the authority after presenting a final report on the rationalization and eradication of the coca leaf.

Del Castillo explained that the Government of President Luis Arce reinstated a Bolivian model based on respect for the social control of the coca growers themselves, which brought successful results. 

Vice Minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances, Jaime Mamani, said that the results of the Bolivian model were successful because they were based on social control and respect for Mother Earth.

“With this model we exceed our goal, eradicating 9,457 hectares of surplus coca crops throughout the national territory, within the framework of the General Coca Law, under the principle of shared responsibility and in compliance with international agreements,” he said. 

Bolivia has been celebrated for its successful model, first implemented under President Evo Morales and the MAS government. Prior to the MAS, during the neoliberal era, Bolivia employed a repressive model which prioritized the use of force against coca-growing communities and peasant farmers and was largely directed from the United States.

Read our interview with Vice Minister Jaime Mamani here on how Bolivia reduced drug trafficking by expelling the DEA.