Bolivia, Brazil and US Postpone Signing of Coca Monitoring Accords
Written by The Andean Information Network
On November 17, Bolivia, Brazil and the United States planned to ratify agreements on a trilateral coca monitoring effort. Officials delayed signing the accord until Friday, and then postponed it indefinitely. Initially slated for March 2011, ratification of the agreement has been repeatedly delayed. Furthermore, the agreement has been converted from a trilateral accord to two bilateral ones (between Bolivia and Brazil, and between the U.S. and Bolivia). The resolution of this diplomatic conflict is unclear, but the delay in signing the accords has opened the door for both supporters and critics to express their opinions.
On November 22 in Página Siete, Bolivia's new government minister, Wilfredo Chavez, expressed concern that the current text of the agreement could threaten Bolivia's sovereignty. Chavez stressed that cooperation between the three countries should in no way undermine the authority of the Bolivian government to determine how drug control will be carried out within its borders. Chavez adds his voice to a growing skepticism about the accords
Developments dampen enthusiasm and increase susceptibility
Morales officials, encouraged by progress in cooperative bilateral agreements with Brazil and eager to secure funding, interpreted the proposed trilateral program as another Brazilian initiative with U.S financial support. The August 30 release of a diplomatic cable by Hillary Clinton including the heading "Grappling with the Bolivia problem," provoked concerns that the U.S. was using Brazil to carry out its own policy goals in Bolivia. The cable discussed USG efforts to "convince GOB authorities that it is in Brazil's best interests to work more closely with us and other countries in the region to combat the drug problem. The GOB has…resisted our efforts to engage Brazil on collective efforts to combat drug trafficking."