By: Hugo Marcelo Balderrama - 19/11/2023Guest columnist.
La Cosa Nostra is an expression used to indicate a criminal, mafia and terrorist organization present in Sicily and in many parts of the world. Taking the last three characteristics we could make an analogy with the current Bolivian reality. In our case the expression would apply: coca nostra, since coca, as the raw material for cocaine, has become a curse for natural reserves, forests and jungles of medium vegetation, but, especially, for my country, which has ended turned into a drug dictatorship.
The paradox of the matter is that the destruction of Bolivian nature is not being carried out under a "neoliberal" and "right-wing" government, but under one that champions the defense of nature, the environment and biodiversity, which is commonly They call: Pachamama.
However, the destruction of Bolivian biodiversity did not begin now, nor with the tragedy of the burning of Chiquitania in 2019, but rather it is a constant of the regime, since the expansion of the coca frontier and the massive production of cocaine are the pillars of the Movement Towards Socialism. In this regard, Emilio Martínez, writer and political analyst, in an article titled: The economy of fire, states the following:
Bolivia was a world leader in the management of forests with a green seal at the beginning of the 21st century, exceeding 2.2 million certified hectares, but it has currently fallen to about 800,000 hectares, due to encroachments and the lack of a special tax regime, which helps the formalization of the sector.
Notice something, all that theatrical production with pre-Columbian themes and sorceries with which Evo Morales took office as president on 01/22/2006 were, in reality, facades to cover the criminal nature of the coca leader, since crime and drug trafficking are the only which has been successful in two decades of dictatorship. On the subject, Beatriz Quintero, researcher with the Insight Crime group, asserts that:
Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, is the world's third largest producer of coca after Colombia and Peru, and a major drug transit point. In addition to being used as an air bridge for Peruvian cocaine, foreign criminal organizations are based in Bolivia, particularly Brazilian groups. Morales' presidency has been characterized by tense relations with the United States over coca crops and anti-drug operations. In 2008, Morales expelled the US ambassador for “conspiring” against his government and suspended cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which he also later expelled from the country. . Subsequently, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) included Bolivia on its blacklist.
In recent years, peace and tranquility is something that Bolivian citizens have abruptly lost, since Bolivia's position as a regional drug center has long made the country a base of operations for foreign drug trafficking organizations, with all the degradation that this entails, for example, hitmen.
Although Bolivian drug traffickers had already managed to break away from the control of Colombian cartels in the 1980s, that does not mean that the presence of criminal organizations from that country in Bolivia is zero. For example, during the October 2003 coup d'état, the FARC and ELN had nearly 600 of their militiamen operating in La Paz and Cochabamba.
Nowadays, especially in the cities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, settling of scores carried out by Colombian hitmen is very common. But the underworld is not limited to those groups. At the end of September of this year, the Bolivian Police managed to rescue 20 people who were victims of human trafficking. Investigations revealed that this case is linked to the controversial Aragua Train, a Venezuelan criminal organization operating in Bolivia.
All of the above happens under the eyes and patience of a sitting dictator who, literally, left everything to chance. There were only speeches and data of dubious veracity every time he had cameras and lights in front. Meanwhile, Bolivia burns because of the ambition of the coca growers and the miners intend to contaminate all the country's waters with mercury.
«The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author».