Bolivian Marching Orders


Although this story from the Charlotte Observer describes Bolivia as the only real success story of the U.S.-demanded coca eradiction program, that nation is seriously considering legalizing a (still highly regulated) coca growing program. Of course, Bolivia's Monroe Doctrine guardians Just Say No: The United States insists that no more coca growing can be justified.

"A pause in eradication is a pause in development," U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee has warned repeatedly in the Bolivian media. He reminds Bolivians that U.S. aid remains tied to "zero coca" in the tropical Chapare region east of Cochabamba where most coca is grown and clandestine cocaine laboratories are found.

It's U.S. international diplomacy in action, from drug eradication to the War on Iraq (where our buddies in Turkey are squeezing us for more payoffs in exchange for cooperation): pay 'em off to get what we want. Better than violence, I suppose, but perhaps better still to not insist on always getting what we want?