EU Announces Extra Anti-Drug Funds for Bolivia

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The European Union (EU) has announced it will provide an additional 40 million euros in funding to Bolivia in 2012 to help the Andean country combat the drug trade.

Bolivian foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, and Christian Leffler, EU Managing Director for the Americas, met Thursday in Bolivian capital La Paz to discuss bilateral cooperation, and Leffer confirmed the EU’s offer.

Following the discussion, the Bolivian government and the EU issued a joint statement, with both parties reaffirming their commitment to work together, based on the principle of shared responsibility in the battle against drugs.

The details of the agreement were announced by Bolivia’s top drug official, Felipe Caceres, who highlighted Bolivia’s efforts to eradicate the production of excess coca, the plant used to produce cocaine.

Caceres said that, of the 40 million euros, 10 million will be used to improve social welfare in the coca-producing areas of Yungas and Cochabamba. The remainder will be used to strengthen Bolivia’s national anti-drug body, CONALTID, and to equip the Special Force against Drug Trafficking, FELCN, which is responsible for the eradication of illegal coca.

Bolivia expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from the country in 2008, and the two countries now have only limited cooperation on anti-drug efforts. A cable recently released by WikiLeaks revealed that Caceres told U.S. officials part of the reason for President Evo Morales’ irritation with the DEA is that he thought it was spying on him, including his private life.

Bolivia has also turned to the UK as an alternative partner in drug policy.

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