U.S. presses Brazil to take larger role in war on drugs

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, July 15, 2012 18:00 EDT
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Bolivian soldiers destroy coca plants via AFP
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LA PAZ — Brazil should play a more dynamic role in the war on drugs in Bolivia since 60 percent of the latter country’s cocaine winds up in the former, a US diplomat has said.

Under the principle of shared responsibility, Brazil should play a bigger part in discouraging Bolivia from producing cocaine since it is Brazil’s main supplier of the drug, US attache John Creamer told local media.

Creamer acts as a de facto US ambassador to Bolivia because under leftist President Evo Morales the two countries have not exchanged official ambassadors since 2008.

Late that year, Morales accused the United States of supporting an alleged plot by his conservative political rivals, a claim that led Washington to withdraw its ambassador.

Brazil believes it receives 60 percent of Bolivia’s cocaine, with half of that haul being sold on the streets and the other half being shipped on to Europe.

This year, Brazil — South America’s economic powerhouse — started a cooperation program aimed at helping to discourage cocaine production in Bolivia. It includes coca leaf crop monitoring with US assistance. Coca leaves are the raw material from which cocaine can be made.

Bolivia is the world’s number three cocaine producer after Peru and Colombia, according to UN data.

Photo AFP/File, Aizar Raldes

Agence France-Presse
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