Conflict flares in the Bolivian tropics

01 January 2002
Policy briefing

An impressive reduction of the coca-cultivated area has been achieved within the framework of Plan Dignidad, but this ‘success’ has exacted a heavy toll in terms of the impoverishment and criminalisation of the Bolivian coca leaf-growing peasantry, or cocaleros, as they are known.

  • 2214-8906

Key problems

  • The accelerated eradication of coca fields has lead to the impoverishment and criminalisation of the cocaleros
  • Mass-scale police and military interventions in the Chapare perpetrating human rights violations
  • The failure of alternative development programmes
  • The polarisation of the conflict


  • The government should approach the problem of coca production delinking it from the US anti-drugs policy
  • Demilitarise the coca-growing regions
  • Redesign alternative development programmes creating new consumer markets and outlets
  • Alternative development should imply participation of the peasantry and their vision of how to make the best use of the region’s natural resources

Forced eradication should be separated from alternative development

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