Coca or Death?

Cocalero Movements in Peru and Bolivia

13 April 2004
Allison Spedding Pallet
Translator: Glynis Cooper, Barbara Fraser, Anabel Torres

This issue of Drugs and Conflict analyses cocalero peasant organisations in Peru and Bolivia and their interaction with successive governments during the peasant mobilisations of recent years.

Following Bolivia's 2002 parliamentary elections, the success of the political party headed by cocalero leader Evo Morales, rekindled debate regarding cocalero organisations in the Andes and their vindications. Disinformation around these organisations has contributed to a rise in terms like narcoguerrilleros and narcoterroristas, etc. being applied to the various cocalero peasant movements. At the core of this debate lies the relationship between good governance, drug policies and the cocalero movements.

The unbalanced approach of international drug control, the lack of leeway that governments and societies in the South enjoy to design their own, independent policies, and the phantoms conjured around the cocalero organisations, make good governance a genuine challenge in the countries pinpointed as coca producers. This issue of Drugs and Conflict analyses cocalero peasant organisations in Peru and Bolivia and their interaction with successive governments during the peasant mobilisations of recent years. The achievements and failures of such negotiations expose the difficulty in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to an issue as intricate as the cultivation of coca leaf

Nr 10 -
April 2004
Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal, Virginia Montañés (eds.)
28 pages

About the authors

Hugo Cabieses

Hugo Cabieses, Peruvian economist and specialist on drugs issues, is an associate researcher of TNI's Drugs & Democracy programme.

Recent publications from Drugs and Democracy

Drugs, armed conflict and peace

This policy briefing analyses the results of the partial agreement on drugs reached at the talks being held in Havana between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, and the Colombian government.

Scheduling in the international drug control system

Scheduling is mostly priotised in it's repressive pole, though present debates are increasingly highlighting the need to modify the balance of the system in order to affirm the importance of the principle of health.

Bouncing Back

TNI's indepth examination of the illegal drug market in the Golden Triangle, which has a witnessed a doubling of opium production, growing prison populations and repression of small-scale farmers. This report details the failure of ASEAN's 'drug free' strategy and the need for a new approach.

Cocaine: towards a self-regulation model

By taking cues from users’ self-regulation strategies, it is possible to design innovative operational models for drug services as well as drug policies, strengthening Harm Reduction as an alternative approach to the disease model.