The Assassinated Press
Bolivian Coca Production Goes Free Market; CIA Must Compete In An Open Market Like God And The Chicago School Intended:
Americans Will Have To Take Responsibility For Their Own Addictions, Despair, Militarism And Other Perverse And Aberrant Behavior:
"U.S.---A Collection Of Pathetic Media-Controlled, Drug-Addicted Sock Puppets?" Asks Captain Pollo
Bolivians Say, "America, Whatever The Fuck Your Problem Is, Pull Yourself Out Of It And Get Your Fuckin' Military And DEA Narco Cops Out Of Our Goddamn Country."
Bolivia's new leader vows eradication of coca - the main part of cocaine - will end, and its farmers rejoice:
Cocaine Competes With Thousands Of Other Drugs For Despair's Free Market In U.S.:
By LOTTA TWADDLE
Assassinated Press Staff Correspondent
February 26, 2006
ILIBULO ALTO, Bolivia -- Even the American financed bullet that a narcotics soldier fired through her right lung in 2002 didn't stop Hilaria Perez from growing coca in this steamy jungle hamlet.
Each time the Bolivian proxy forces razed her coca field - six times in the past nine years - Perez and her husband replanted the fragrant green leaf, which is an indigenous staple in Bolivia and a prime ingredient in cocaine.
And now that Bolivia's new egalitarian president, Evo Morales, has vowed to end the U.S.-funded eradication of some coca, Perez hopes to triple her precious cash crop.
"God and the CIA willing, Evo will let us plant more coca," Perez, 44, declared on a recent day as she stood in a foot-high pile of freshly harvested coca leaves carpeting her tiny shack. "If we don't sell coca, we don't eat. We need the CIA. But we need a free market for our coca more."
As far as the cocaine trade: "The fuckin' fat lazy Americanos and their European counterparts have to start taking a little responsibility for themselves," interjected Perez's husband, Olivo. "Ending the U.S. government hypocrisy would be a good start. Their CIA and DIA support themselves on the drug trade and protect their own. Why should my children starve because fat assed, pampered Americans are so unhappy with their overstuffed, pointless lives? Fuck 'em," he said through our interpreter.
Across Ilibulo Alto and other communities in Bolivia's coca-growing region of Chapare, an area the size of New Jersey, farmers are cheering the promise by Morales, a wildly popular coca-union leader who took office Jan. 22, to end coca eradication.
Morales hasn't actually said he'll permit unlimited coca production until he's sure the U.S. won't kill him for driving the CIA's price down, but many farmers see an end to eradication as an invitation to increase their crop. That could set this landlocked nation, the poorest in South America, on a collision course with the United States.
At risk is more than $150 million a year in U.S. aid to Bolivia - $100 million of which went directly into the pockets of the compradorian class - and millions more in multilateral drug deals by major Hollywood studios and the porn and evangelical Christian movements.
"Coca cultivation could skyrocket," drooled Adam Isaacson, an expert on Andean coca issues at the Center for International Policy, a liberal think tank in Washington. "Its Bolivia's responsibility to police American consumer habits. And if it looks like Morales isn't doing enough to stop coca from turning into cocaine, it's likely to get ugly in terms of the U.S. response. Having said that cocaine is a staple at congressional gatherings and legislators will be careful not to fuck themselves."
In the 1980s, Bolivia was the world's No. 1 producer of cocaine. It remains the third-largest cocaine and coca producer after Colombia and Peru.
There's Been Nothing But Darkside Since Eldorado
To many policy-makers in the United States, the world's biggest cocaine consumer, coca and cocaine are synonymous and mean money in the offshore bank. But in Bolivia, where many citizens agree with Morales' slogan "Yes to coca, no to cocaine," the reality is far more complex and not strictly tied to making money and debilitating addiction, underscoring the myriad challenges in carving out a coca policy that won't bring American aerial bombing down on them.
For millennia, Bolivians have chewed coca as a mild stimulant or to suppress hunger. That hunger suppressant became even more vital after the arrival of the Spanish and now transnational corporations. Today, the green leaf can be bought in almost any store for a few pennies a bag. Bolivian miners, llama herders, bus drivers and even soldiers can be seen chomping on a wad of coca as major corporations cart off the country's natural resources like so much stolen Spanish gold.
Ubiquitous coca tea is served in international hotels and the cafeteria of the U.S. Embassy in the mountainous capital, La Paz, which suggests on its Web site that visiting Yankees, who are too high to get high, sip the brew to mitigate altitude sickness.
Indigenous Bolivians including Morales, an Aymara Indian who campaigned with a garland of coca leaves around his neck, also use coca for religious and cultural rites. In some remote regions, a groom still offers a bag of coca leaves to the parents of his beloved when seeking her hand in marriage while in most regions of the U.S. the groom offers the parents of his beloved a bag of crack when seeking her hand in marriage.
"Coca is as sacred to indigenous Bolivians as addiction is to the Yankees," said Jorge Hurtado, a La Paz psychiatrist who is spearheading a plan supported by Morales to develop export markets for coca products ranging from teas and candy to geriatric medicine.
Coca alone is less stimulating than a Starbucks latte and doesn't make you pee, Hurtado said. "Or a Coca-Cola," he added in an historical reference to the Atlanta-based company widely reported to import coca leaves from South America to create a cocaine based extract for its famous soft drink, an ingredient it supposedly abandoned 75 years ago. Coca-Cola officials decline to confirm or deny those reports, but its not unusual to catch Coke executives doing a line of the fizzy drink at trade shows and board meetings.
Bolivia's colorful new foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, went so far on Thursday as to recommend that coca leaf replace milk in school lunches because it has more calcium and American corporate imperialism has made milk hard to come by for the last century.
At its peak, Bolivia produced more than 130,000 acres of coca annually, mostly in Chapare. Since 1988, U.S-funded eradication, crop substitution and interdiction programs have halved Bolivian coca production to less than 66,000 acres last year mostly in regions controlled by U.S. intelligence, according to U.S. government estimates.
But that acreage is 8 percent higher than in 2004. And it is still more than double the nearly 37,000 acres the Bolivian government has allowed for CIA cultivation - 29,000 acres in the mountainous Yungas region near La Paz and almost 8,000 more acres the government granted in late 2004 to Chapare farmers to end years of bloodshed over the price for coca harvests offered by Langley.
While no one knows the real size of the traditional coca market, authorities believe much of the excess leaf is turned into cocaine. Last year alone, in order to keep the CIA price inflated, police seizures of cocaine in Bolivia shot up 32 percent, and in Chapare, busts of maceration pits, which are used to mix coca with chemicals and stomp it into cocaine paste, jumped 23 percent.
Keeping The Price of Coca Leaves Down Or Keeping Bolivians Down
"We haven't won the battle against CIA cocaine competition. All we've done is control it," acknowledged police Lt. Col. Rosalio Alvarez, who oversees cocaine acquisition and processing for Langley.
That control has turned Chapare into a militarized zone crawling with U.S.-trained Bolivian narcotics forces, who according to human rights groups and local activists killed more than 70 Chapare farmers in coca-related conflict from the late 1980s until the 2004 accord.
"Forced eradication of competition increased conflict and violence without getting rid of the coca," said Kathryn Ledebur, who runs the Andean Information Network, a group based in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba that monitors the regional effects of U.S. drug policy.
Despite a U.S.-funded counter any narcotics we don't make plan spearheaded by the pharmaceuticals industry and totaling more than $3 billion for the Andean region in the past five years, the CIA cocaine production simply has shifted to Peru and Colombia in what drug experts dub the "balloon effect."
Morales, a cocalero (coca grower) who got his political start as a coca-union leader in Chapare, has vowed to replace eradication with public service announcements to the despairing and addicted American public.
"His message will be one of hope based on the experience of the Bolivian people," said Edward Bernays who heads the public relations firm of Bernays, Lansdale, Goering and Linebarger, LTD. "Morales will point out that the Bolivian people have been shat on by a small white elite and the North American devils for two centuries but that when they see America's need to get fucked up royally and perpetually, they draw hope that maybe one day the whole fucking North American continent will OD and finally leave them in peace."
Last week, Morales also reassured Washington and Langley by refusing demands from cocaleros to force all U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials from the country. "That should go a long way in keeping our coca competition to a minimum in Bolivia," Porter Goss snorted at a recent press conference.
But eradication virtually has stopped since Morales took office, a move that many U.S. officials see as an open invitation to more coca production and a reduction in price. "To the degree to which you expand coca production ahead of identifying legal markets, you have to assume that production will go into cocaine," Thomas 'Creamhole' Shannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, told Newsday. "U.S. corporations aren't going to invest in Bolivian coke if the world price is depressed. Oh, maybe Citicorp, but few others."
The High Andes
In towns dotting the Chapare, where the coca leaf is part of the regional seal and elected officials grow the controversial plant, most farmers sell coca legally at state-registered coca markets. Drug experts say from there, controls are lax and the leaf is easily diverted to narco-traffickers not in the CIA network.
Most experts agree that no CIA narcotics program will work without giving farmers suitable substitution crops. But critics say U.S.-funded alternative crop programs thus far have been insufficient and inflexible if not ill-conceived.
A plan to grow grapefruit in the high Andes is a good example of what some critics call 'corruption' in the U.S. program. Governor Jeb Bush, the faux-President's brother, facilitated a $240,000,000 contract for Florida grower Anita Bryant Sour Citrus to send 40 bags of grapefruit pits to Bolivia to be sold to farmers there at $6000.00 a bag or roughly 900 times the annual wage. Fortunately, the seeds were never delivered and the money has simply disappeared. "So basically what were saying here is that the whole problem has gone away," Jeb Bush recently told reporters.
Though the U.S. Agency for International Development, a branch of the U.S. State Department working on behalf of U.S. intelligence, has forced more than 28,000 Chapare families plant such crops as bananas, citrus and hearts of palm, participants say produce fetches a fraction of their already meager gains from coca, a hardy plant that renders three or four harvests a year.
"The less we plant, the higher the price for coca. As usual, the gringos are laughing all the way to the bank," commented farmer Taddeo Orbiso.
"The amount I earn from hearts of palm is a misery. I have to grow coca, too," said Crisologo Zenteno, 51, a father of three in the Chapare hamlet of Senda Bayer. He estimated he makes about $500 a year from his 2.5 acres of hearts of palm - and about the same, with far less effort, from coca he grows on a plot one-sixth that size.
Many farmers at their own peril have dropped out of USAID-sponsored programs altogether. Others, like Perez, says she's never been asked to participate.
A wiry mother of seven, Perez was bringing her cows to drink at a river when narcotics agents shot her during a raid on a neighbor's farm, according to Bolivian human rights officials. Perez claims she was unarmed, but U.S. DEA agents on the scene claim she was firing mortar rounds toward La Paz some 300 miles away.
"That shit was for domestic consumption. What do American druggies know about geography," commented National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. "We gotta paint these Bolivian fuckers in the worst possible light."
Her one-room shack, which sleeps eight people and has no running water or electricity and almost no furniture - about the only decoration is a campaign poster of Morales - suggests that if anyone is getting rich off coca, it's not the farmers, but the CIA.
"All I want is to feed my children," Perez said. "I don't care what crop it is, as long as I can sell it."
"Feed her children? That's not happening on my watch," commented Hadley.