President Evo Morales of Bolivia has again defended his administration's plans to expand legal coca cultivation, a move that aims to please some of his biggest political supporters ahead of a reelection bid even though it may increase cocaine trafficking in the country.
Authorities in Bolivia and Brazil will enter into a bilateral agreement later this month aimed at combating the expansion of Brazilian criminal groups into Bolivia, but the move might prove to be a tardy and ultimately insufficient response to this phenomenon.
A United Nations monitoring program reported a rise in coca cultivation in Bolivia in 2016 after five successive years of decline, but this reversal in past trends could be short-lived.
Recent attacks in Bolivia attributed to Brazil's main criminal groups have led Bolivia's interior minister to believe that these organziations have divided territorial control of the Andean country among themselves. This seems to be yet further evidence of Brazilian criminal groups' continued international expansion.