Bolivia’s interior minister has stated that Bolivian cocaine makes up less than one percent of the cocaine sold in the United States, a figure that is likely too low, but nonetheless highlights the fact that Bolivia’s drug exports mostly supply a different market from the U.S.
Interior Minister Jorge Perez made this comment in response to a recent White House memorandum criticizing Bolivia and Venezuela for failing to comply with counternarcotics agreements, reported La Razon.
He added that Bolivia’s current administration has carried out a record number of anti-drug operations and arrests and seized an unprecedented amount of cocaine paste. He did not provide figures to support these statements.
Perez’s comments came shortly after Bolivian President Evo Morales rejected the White House report and said the United States no longer had the authority to scrutinize Bolivia’s anti-drug efforts.
InSight Crime Analysis
Although it is not clear how Perez calculated the “one percent” statistic, his assertions do reflect the fact that the United States is not Bolivia’s main market. The country is principally a supplier of cocaine to Argentina and Brazil. Aside from feeding the domestic market in these Southern Cone nations, Bolivian cocaine is often trafficked onwards to Europe.
US authorities estimate that 80 percent of the cocaine in the United States comes from Colombia, and international intelligence sources have told InSight Crime that around 12 percent comes from Peru. Based on these calculations, approximately eight percent of cocaine on the US market would originate in Bolivia — significantly higher than the one percent cited by Perez, but still a low figure.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of Bolivia
Perez’s comments were made in the context of an ongoing political tit-for-tat with the United States. President Morales expelled the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from Bolivia in 2008, after accusing the agency of conspiring to overthrow his administration. Since then, the White House has singled out Bolivia for failing to meet its anti-narcotics obligations in its yearly memorandums on major drug transit countries and producers. The Bolivian government claims that, to the contrary, the country has increased cocaine seizures and made considerable strides in the fight against drug trafficking since Morales took office in 2006.