From 15 February to 2 March, 1998, a delegation of European MP’s, government officials and NGO representatives visited Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, in order to obtain information on the situation of illicit drugs production. Its objective was to achieve first-hand testimonies from (local) government officials, parliament members, representatives from the legal apparatus, development experts from NGO’s and mutlilateral organisations, peasant representatives and others on the economic, social, political and environmental problems related to illicit drugs production as well as strategies aiming at controlling this phenomenon.
IN SEARCH OF (CO-)OPERATIVE SOLUTIONS
Report on the visit of a delegation of European (national) Parliament Members, Government officials and NGO representatives to the Andean region (Colombia, Peru and Bolivia) to investigate the impact of policies aimed at controlling the production of illicit drugs
15 February – 1 March, 1998
Members of the delegation:
Jean HUSS – Member of Parliament, Green Party, Luxembourg
Mathias SCHUBERT – Member of Parliament, Social Democrat Party, Germany
Jean-Luc KAMPHAUS – Government official, Ministery of Finances, Luxembourg
Yves MERSCH – Government official, Ministery of Finances, Luxembourg
Fabienne GROJEAN – NGO representative, Freres des Hommes, Luxembourg
Joep OOMEN – NGO representative, European NGO Council on Drugs and Development, Belgium
2. Situation of the illicit drugs production in the Andean region
3. Summary of experiences
a. Mathias Schubert
b. Fabienne Grojean, Jean Huss, Joep Oomen
5. List of documents
EUROPEAN NGO COUNCIL ON DRUGS & DEVELOPMENT
The visit was organised by the European NGO Council on Drugs and Development, together with its local counterparts in the Andean Region. It was supported financially by the European Commission and the Government of Luxembourg.
Initially, the mission was meant to focus on two main issues: the perspectives of (European supported) alternative development programmes in the three countries and the feasibility of the legalisation/regulation of the cultivation of coca and industrialisation of coca derivates.
By coincidence however, the delegation’s visit took place just three months prior to the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session on Drugs, that will be held in June 1998 in New York. At this Special Session, one of the concrete agreements that could be reached is the approval of the ‘Strategy for Coca and Opium Poppy Elimination’ (SCOPE), recently introduced by UNDCPs’ Executive Secretary Pino Arlacchi. The aim of SCOPE is to eliminate worldwide the cultivation and production of illicit opiates and coca derivatives by the year 2008.
The feasibility and desirability of SCOPE is currently under discussion. Therefore, this report obtains a particular interest to those parliamentarians, government and UN officials, NGO representatives, journalists or others who follow this discussion, as it might serve as a short inventarisation of experiences with control policies towards illicit drug production in the developing world in general, and in the Andean region in particular.
It should be noted that, although six delegates have participated in the delegation, only four of them (Jean Huss, Mathias Schubert, Fabienne Grojean and Joep Oomen) have agreed formally on the content of this report.
In all three countries, the local co-ordinators as well as the collaborators of the German Embassy have played a key role in the success of the mission. Their kind reception and hospitality and their solid preparation of both the logistical and substantial details of the programme have made our stay an extremely pleasant one, and have facilitated us to celebrate intensive and fruitful meetings with our interlocutors. Therefore, we would like to say a word of thanks to Omayra Morales, Pien Metaal, Lee Cridland, Ricardo Vargas, Hugo Cabieses, Ricardo Soberon, Genaro Ccahuana, Theo Roncken and their collaborators.
If you wish to contact the delegation members, obtain copies of this report, and/or further details on the delegation and its experiences, please write to the European NGO Council on Drugs and Development.
COLOMBIA 16-18 February
Due to time limits, the visit to Colombia was reduced to meetings in the capital, Bogotá, with the following people:
Ricardo Vargas Meza – Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular (CINEP). Co-ordinator of the visit to Colombia.
Juan Carlos Palau and Arturo Ospina, resp. Director and Vice-director of PLANTE, the governmental office for coordination of alternative development programmes
Klaus Nyholm, director of the Colombian national office of the United Nations International Drugs Control Programme, UNDCP
Padre Gabriel Izquierdo, director of CINEP
Omayra Morales, Gilberto Sánchez, Luís Alberto López, and other representatives (20) of peasant organisations from coca, opium, and marijuana producing regions (Guaviare, Caqueta, Putumayo, Cauca, Meta, Norte de Santander) and of other conflictive regions like Uraba
Various representatives (15) from NGOs who work with issues like Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Environment
Eduardo Verano de la Rosa, Minister of Environment
Piedad Cordoba and Gabriel Mujuy, Members of the Colombian Senate (for resp. the Liberal Party and an Indigenous Movement)
Alfonso Gomez, National Prosecutor (Fiscal Nacional)
Coronel Benjamin Nunez and his staff, National Police
Maria Elsa Pulido, Coordinating Unity of Integrated Prevention, Municipality of Bogotá
Leonardo … and Alfonso Manrique, National Ombudsman Office (Defensoria del Pueblo)
PERU 19-23 February
The stay in Peru was divided between Lima (19 and 20 February), and the Valley of La Convención y Lares (21 – 23 February), which is the main traditional coca producing region in the country, and where production is almost exclusively aimed at licit purposes. In this time, we met with the following people:
Hugo Cabieses Cubas, GTZ-AIDIA, Co-ordinator of the visit in Peru
Juan Gil and his staff at CONTRADROGAS, national governments’ coordinating body for drugs control
Dr. Carlos Torres y Torres Lara, President of the National Congress and Mr. Miguel Velit, Chairman of the Congress Committee on Fiscalisation
Francisco Barrantes, Raymundo Navarro, Moises Arista and other representatives (41) of Peruvian coca peasants, united in CONAPA (Convención Nacional de Dirigente Agropecuarios de las Cuencas Cocaleras del Peru)
Marcela Lopez de Ruiz, Head of Special Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Various representatives of International Cooperation agencies: FAO, ICAA, a private consultancy firm working for USAID, UNDCP, Fondo Peru Canada, the British Council, GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Unit), the European Commission and DGIS (Dutch Directorate for International Cooperation)
Fernando Cabieses, neurologist, specialised in research on coca and cocaine consumption
Ricardo Soberón Garrido of the Andean Commission of Jurists and several other experts in the issue of illicit drugs production and drugs control policies
Victor Uceda, Director and Eduardo Muzo, Vice-director of National Coca Company (ENACO), and their staff
Several directives and members of the Federation of Peasants of the Valley of La Convención y Lares.
BOLIVIA, 24-28 February
The stay in Bolivia was divided between La Paz (24 and 25 February), and the Region of El Chapare (26 – 27 February), which is the main coca producing region in the country, and where most of the coca leaves are used for manufacturing illicit cocaine. In this time, we met with the following people:
Lee Cridland, Theo Roncken and Pien Metaal, Andean Information Network/Acción Andina, co-ordinators of the visit to Bolivia
Jorge Hurtado, psychiatrist and coca researcher
Waldo Albarracin, president of the National Human Rights Assembly
José Decker, Director of National Fund for Alternative Development (FONADAL)
Jean Jacques Waelput, Belgian Embassy
Carlos García Tornell, Spanish Agency for International Cooperation
Gregorio Lanza, Acción Andina
Abdon Mamani, Executive Secretary, Association of Coca Producers La Paz
Sergio Medinacelli, Vice-minister of Interior, responsable for prevention programmes
Pino Arlacchi, Executive Secretary of UNDCP, Vienna
Rene Bastiaans, national director of UNDCP-Bolivia, La Paz
Aldo Lale Demos, Chief of Latin America Section, UNDCP, Vienna
Sabino Arroyo, Felipe Cáceres, Epifanio Cruz and Guido Tarqui, lord-mayors of resp. Sinahuota, Villa Tunari, Chimoré and Puerto Villaroel, the main municipalities in Chapare.
Ramiro Arasola, Victor Bernaldo and Max Alvesia, technicians of the Spanish cooperation project in Chimore (palmheart and orange juice factory)
Angel Zambrano, chairperson of the Asociation of Producers of palmheart, Chimoré
Godofredo Reinicke, Director of Human Rights Office, Ministry of Justice, Chimore
Edgar Meneses, chairman of the Association of Producers of maracuya, Valle Sajta
2. Situation of illicit drugs production in the Andean region
According to UNDCP figures, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia account for some 98% of world cocaine supplies. Whereas the beginning of the decade of the 1990s showed a real coca boom, recent trends demonstrate a slight decrease of the total area under coca cultivation. However, statistics on this issue should always be taken with caution. While Peru’s area under coca cultivation has been reported to be 75,000 has. in 1996, some sources speculate that it could still be around 120,000 has. In the case of Colombia, estimates ranged in 1994 from 40,000 ha (Colombian government) to 83,000 has. (UNDP). Currently, some local observers maintain there are at least 150,000 has. grown with coca in Colombia. Besides, Colombia seems to have emerged as a relatively important opium producing country for the North American market, with 6,600 has. of poppies. In Bolivia, there is more or less consensus about a total figure of 50.000 has. of coca.
Besides, since 1988, both Peru and Bolivia are allowed to legalise a certain amount of hectares for coca cultivation for licit domestic purposes (esp. traditional consumption). In Peru, this area is estimated to be 20,000 has. and in Bolivia, 12,000 has.
Andean countries are obliged to erradicate illicit crop cultivation since they ratified in 1964 the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. However, in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, the areas covered with coca bushes have since then multiplied many times. Obviously, this is due to a huge increase in the demand for cocaine since the late 1970s. However, also since demand has been stabilised, illicit crop production has been on the increase. This phenomenon leads to the assumption that the strategies carried out thus far to curb coca cultivation have failed.
Roughly, one can divide these strategies in two: the repressive strategy (crop eradication and law enforcement), and the development strategy (alternative development programmes and other measures to promote licit crop production)
1. The repressive strategy.
Internationally funded drug control efforts in the Andean countries have long held the eradication of drugs-linked crops as one of their chief aims. Towards this end, donors have supported attempts to reduce the area of land planted with illicit crops both through manual and aerial crop destruction. On the other hand, the strengthening of local anti-drug legislation and the more effective enforcement of the law has been promoted to reduce drugs supply and to eliminate the noxious effects of drugs-related corruption on democracy and the rule of law in the involved countries.
Although this strategy is usually applied by the US government, certain EU member states (such as the UK) have also given their moral and financial support to it. US government makes the disbursement of development aid to Andean countries contingent on cooperation in drug control matters, through the so-called ‘certification’ procedure. The European Union Action Plan to Combat Drugs (1995 – 1999) proposes that the EU also should consider conditioning its aid to developing countries on their drug control performance.
2. The development strategy
The aim of this strategy has been to encourage the voluntary eradication of drug-linked crops through substitution by legal production. The programmes attempt to do this through providing a development package, such as inputs for legal cultivation, agroindustrial installations, (social) infrastructure components and technical assistance.
Since 1990, the European Commission has applied General Trade Preferences to the Andean countries to enhance the position of legal export products. This was considered an important response to Andean requests to support their efforts to remove the local economic causes of drug production – primarily widespread rural poverty due to the absence of alternative income generators. EU member states in cooperation with multilateral agencies such as the UNDCP are mostly engaged in the development strategy.
3. Summary of experiences
Probably, no other country in the world gets so much associated with drugs trafficking than Colombia. Since the end of the 1970’s, the major reason why this country obtains attention in the global mass media is the activities of two organisations specialised in cocaine trafficking: the cartels of Medellin and Cali. During many years these two organisations were considered to be responsable for the elaboration of at least 80% of all illicit cocaine that was commercialised in the entire world.
After a long and bloody offensive by the Colombian government, the two cartels are currently considered to have disappeared. However, others have surged. Whereas the Medellin and Cali cartels used to buy their raw materials (especially coca leaves and cocaine paste) in Peru and Bolivia, the new tendency is an increasing cultivation of coca in Colombia itself.
There are 16 important areas of production, with a certain concentration in the South East provinces in the Amazonian lowland: Guaviare, Putumayo and Caquetá. In this region, many settlers (landless or impoverished peasants from other parts of the country) have started to grow coca as a sure source of income. However, not all cultivation is believed to be in the hands of small peasants: some is dominated by drugs barons, who have established big-scale plantations especially in isolated regions that are difficult to reach overland. To distinguish between the two types of cultivation, the latter are referred to as ‘commercial plantations’.
According to figures from the Colombian Police, the yearly domestic illicit production is 555 tons of cocaine, 6,6 tons of heroin and 7,500 tons of marihuana. The illicit drugs economy should represent some 5,000 million USD for the Colombian economy. This explains partly the power struggle over the drugs business, which is one of the most important factors in fuelling violence in the country: of the 35,000 assassinations that occur in Colombia on a yearly base, many are believed to be drugs-related. One million people are said to be internal refugees in the country, many of them escaping from terrorist actions of paramilitary forces that are working for drugs traffickers.
Three different actors play a key role in the fight to gain control over the drugs producing areas: Guerilla Organisations, Paramilitary Groups and the Government.
Two main guerilla organisations are active in the areas of illicit production: FARC and ELN. Both are originally marxist oriented groups that are involved in a long-running struggle with the economic elite over the country’s ressources. Their presence in the coca and opium producing areas is mostly due to the protection they are offering to farmers against forced erradication operations by the Government. Meanwhile, they also impose taxes on crop production, use of airstrips etc.
Paramilitary groups are orginally private protection forces of landowners or local politicians. Besides some of them seem to have connections both with drugs traffickers and with the national army. These groups are accused of serving as a buffer between the government and the guerilla movements, but it was impossible for us to confirm these allegations. However, according to Colombian Police, the participation of paramilitary groups in illicit drugs production is notable.
Colombian government and its various institutions have obviously not been able to reduce illicit crop production significantly. One of the factors might be the apparent involvement of drugs trade in the Colombian state apparatus in general, another the apparent lack of co-ordination between the repressive and the development approach applied to crop production.
Colombia’s approach to the problem
In general, it is noted that Colombian government representatives tend to emphasize that the Colombian drug problem is generated by the fact that there exists a demand for drugs abroad. This argument seems to be convincing on first sight, but it becomes debatable on the second. Yet, the question is, why cocaine production and trafficking is so massively concentrated in Colombia, while conditions for it in Peru and Bolivia, and even Brazil, are significantly better. The answer is, that there are many important sectors in Colombian society profiting from drugs trade, and therefore, the reason why it is so difficult to control, is also an internal Colombian problem.
The comments received on the viability and effectiveness of current policies towards drugs production vary according to the interlocutors. These policies are dominated by a repressive approach, mostly through the practice of aerial fumigation with pesticides, mostly Glifosate. In spite of massive peasant mobilisation against fumigation in 1996, in which at least 50 people were killed, this practice continues today.
According to the peasants’ representatives, the rationale behind the fumigation operations is not to fight drugs, but to fight people. They explained that the chemicals affected not only the illicit crops, but also the licit food crops – the basic source of survival in the concerned regions – and human health as well. Peasants see fumigation as a cheap and practical instrument to chase the people away from the Amazon regions. In their view, Colombian government has sold the idea of fighting drugs through repressive measures especially to the US government, but in the mean time, its own agenda (imposed by the national and international economic elites) is to execute large infrastructure and exploitation projects (oil, gem stones and others) in the Amazon region, which cannot take place with too many people around. Also the activities of paramilitary groups should be seen as an integrated part of this strategy.
According to the Minister of Environment, fumigation is an effective method to avoid illicit cultivation, as alternative development and crop substitution is a long term process and manual eradication is too dangerous because of armed resistance. On the other hand, the Minister showed great concern towards the apparent pressure of the US Embassy on Colombia to start implementing so-called granulation (the dropping of small bombs filled with Tibuthiron or Imazapyr, pesticides that have been forbidden by the US. Environmental Protection Agency). This practice is more precise than spraying, as it does not affect other crops, but also more devastating, as it sterilises the soil for at least one and a half year.
On the other hand, the director of UNDCP’s Bogotá office maintained that ‘fumigation is a wrong instrument. As the planes that fumigate are small, they do not reach the commercial plantations and therefore only affect the peasants. Besides, it is a contraproductive strategy. Fumigation deteriorates the economic situation of the farmers, leaving them no choice but to support guerilla movements and challenge the government.’
This impression was confirmed by the directors of PLANTE, the co-ordinating body for alternative development, who mentioned the lack of co-operation of the peasants with development programmes initiated by the government after fumigation operations. The peasants considered these programmes’ representatives as primarily executors of repression.
Representatives of the Colombian Police highlighted the effectiveness of their fumigation operations (61% of all plots that were fumigated were effectively destroyed), but indicated that fumigation operations were provoking armed resistance (in the day before the interview, one helicopter had been shot at by guerilla groups). Privately, some policemen also acknowledged that in their view, fumigation did not affect the drugs traffickers, and those who were affected were farmers who grow coca to survive.
Finally, NGOs working on the issue of human rights commented a huge increase of human rights violations in the areas of illicit production after the peasant mobilisations against fumigations took place in 1996. These violations are characterised by vicious brutality and relative impunity and are committed by all operating forces, although the presence and actions of paramilitary groups were especially mentioned. In the weeks prior to the visit of the European delegation, paramilitary groups were accused of having killed 38 people in just one town in the Putumayo region, Puerto Asis, of 75.000 inhabitants. According to its Lord Mayor, the National Government had not paid attention to his repeated warnings that this was going to happen.
Perspectives for alternative development
‘An aspirine to cure a cancer’.
(Colombia’s National Prosecutor Alfonso Gomez, when describing the efforts to substitute illicit with licit agriculture, 17 February, 1998, Bogotá)
Compared to the impact of fumigation, the efforts done in Colombia to achieve some form of alternative development clearly show a much lower profile. Until recently (1995), there has been no coordination whatsoever between these efforts, nor has there been any form of evaluation. In order to improve this situation, a coordinating agency called PLANTE has been created, an institution that is directly dependent from the Presidents’ office. However, PLANTE is not present in the interministerial Superior Council on Drugs, where main decisions on anti-drugs policies are taken and where the ministeries of Justice and Interior are dominating.
PLANTE is trying to implement a concept of substitution through small credits and support for licit agriculture with rural communities that accept to sign an agreement with the government not to grow more coca or opium. Until today there exist only some small scale experiences, like with groups of well organised indigenous peasants in the Cauca Valley, where some hundred hectares of opium and coca has been replaced with rubber, palmheart or some times small scale fisheries. The extension of these experiences to the newly colonised areas, where the population consists mainly of settlers, are impeded by the lack of infrastructure, marketing facilities. Also, relocalisation of settlers in other areas where rentable agriculture is possible is difficult because of the absence of land reforms.
Under these conditions, it must be doubted if alternative development will ever have the chance to get off the ground, and the question raises if PLANTE is not an institution that should deliver the alibi in order to continue the repressive approach, which seems to be mainly attacking small producers, and not the interests of the large drugs traffickers.
Concrete remarks on co-operation with Europe
According to the opinion of most Colombian interlocutors, Europe’s position in the debate on drugs supply is considered more positive than US, in the sense that Europe is favouring peaceful approaches, and not repression. Several times, the hope was expressed that Europe will cooperate with Andean countries in elaborating a ‘global agenda’ against the drugs problem.
Concretely, many speakers mentioned that bilateral certification procedures, as currently implemented by US government in its decision to condition aid to drugs control performance, are an obstacle to real solutions. Certification, so it was felt, should not be bilateral but multilateral: all countries should be allowed to participate equally in discussions on what can be expected from each country to do. Also developed countries, in whose territories there exists a market for expensive drugs, should recognise their responsability, like in the establishment of fair prices for licit crops and in the reorganisation of subsidy mechanisms for (European) farmers, that cause major competence for domestic agriculture in developing countries.
Police representatives mentioned the need for more control by European states on the export of precursor chemicals: they maintained that 16,77 % of all precursors entering Colombia proceed from Europe.
Peasant representatives presented concrete proposals for cooperation with European governments/institutions, a summary of which are listed on page 21 of this report.
Finally, the national prosecutor, Alfonso Gomez, remembered the sacrifices that Colombia is doing for decades already to fight the drugs issue (losts of lives of prominent state officials, economic losses due to protection measures), and that in spite of this situation, it is considered internationally as a non-cooperative country. With regards to allegations of corruption in the state apparatus, Gomez refused to accept the suggestion that Colombia was trying to escape from its international responsibilities, and insisted that the country has sharpened its laws on extradition, money laundering etc. and that still today, much of the political violence is due to the drugs war. Therefore, he insisted in a stronger performance of the European countries in the fight against drugs money laundering and the arms trade, that is equally linked to the drugs trade.
Some years ago, Peru was by far the largest producer of coca leaves, with 185.000 hectares in 1992. However, recent years have shown a dramatic fall in this figure, and currently, it is believed that no more than 70,000 hectares are cultivated with coca, of which there are 10 to 20.000 has for legal use. The most important reason for the apparent transfer of production areas from Peru to Colombia is considered to be the huge price collapse in the market for coca leaves that occurred in Peru between 1993 and 1996. For example, the price for a kilogramme of coca leaves, in the Peruvian ‘Upper Huallaga Region’, was US$ 2.50 in June 1992, and US $ 0.70 in June 1997. Cocaine paste, which was purchased in the valleys of the Huallaga River, in the central Peruvian jungle, at 740 dollars per kilogram, now costs less than 250 dollars. Cocaine, meanwhile, which went for 2,100 dollars at the clandestine airstrips, now costs 650 dollars on the Colombian border.
Peruvian government has legalised all coca cultivation in the country since 1993. The National Coca Company (ENACO) is in charge of legal commercialisation (for the market of coca chewers and for the elaboration of a series of legal derivatives like coca tea etc.). Elaboration of coca leaves or commercialisation outside of ENACO’s control is illegal. ENACO has centers of purchase in four regions.
Repression against illicit drugs production is believed to be concentrated on laboratories where cocaine paste is manufactured, airstrips and other infrastructure used by drugs traffickers (although some peasant representatives indicate that fumigation operations have been carried out, until today there has been no proof of this). Thanks to a successfull counterinsurgency offensive of the Peruvian government in recent years, the presence of political violence in the regions of illicit production is, especially in comparison with some years ago, considered to be negligible.
In this context and bearing in mind the current low price of coca leaves, the basis for alternative development programmes should be excellent. In the past 20 years, there have been quite some experiences with these programmes in Peru, but in general, they have not been very successfull. One factor is the lack of co-ordination between the various agencies involved, as well as the insufficient participation by beneficiaries in the design and implementation of the programmes.
Another is the lack of coherence with macro-economic measures in general. Already for years, Peru is fulfilling its food needs with cheaply imported products from abroad (for instance rice). This provokes an increasing crisis in domestic agriculture and a stagnation of development in rural areas. The price collapse of basic food crops can not be compensated by alternative products like coffee, cocoa and even not anymore by coca.
Peru’s approach to the problem
In order to co-ordinate drugs control strategies in the country, in 1996 CONTRADROGAS was created, an interministerial committee assigned by the President and operating under the chairmanship of the Minister of Health. The committee also counts with the presence of the Minister of Interior, Promotion of the Role of Women and of Human Development, and Agriculture. Its strategy is defined by three objectives: fight against poverty, fight against drugs and protection of environment. Its aim is to substitute all coca that is cultivated for illicit purposes in 10 years, substituting it by a sustainable and licit economy.
Contradrogas’ concrete goals are the improvement of basic infrastructure, the strengthening of local peasant organisations, introduction of among others agroindustry and agroforestry, promotion of private investments as a way to establish development perspectives in the concerned regions, and relocalisation of population from these regions towards the central mountain range of the country. This latter programme is considered necessary to improve conditions for peasants in areas where migration to the Amazonian lowland, where coca is cultivated, takes place from.
Taking into account the modest financial ressources of the country, the objectives set by Contradrogas may seem rather ambitious. However, it has to be recognised, that Peru’s approach is essentially a development approach, making illicit crop reduction secondary to the fight against poverty.
Thanks to the low coca price, a substantial reduction of coca cultivation has been achieved. However, some negative side-effects have already appeared. Firstly, it is noted that when the price of cocaine paste goes down, traffickers produce more to maintain income levels, and consumption of drugs in Peru itself increases, according to Contradrogas’ spokesmen. They further indicated that also opium cultivation has been increasing as it turns out even more profitable than coca.
On the other hand, representatives of coca producers (delegates to a National Assembly of Coca Producers’ federations from various regions) expressed their scepticism on the efforts of governmental and multilateral bodies to establish alternative development. They clearly expressed their dissatisfaction with the projects that have been carried out so far, for being badly conceived, without public participation, and even for creating division and instability in the region. They described the situation in the coca-producing regions as highly critical. Due to the pricefall of coca, poverty has reached extreme dimensions, even in the areas where alternative development projects have been carried out for more then 10 years.
Peasant representatives also expressed their own proposals to development programmes in their region, that should be integrated with the coca economy (aiming at gradual substitution, not an immediate replacement), include respect for the importance of women’s role in development programmes, and in general of public participation. They insisted on their will to co-operate in substitution programmes, and even commented the danger of ecological damage by large-scale coca production.
Representatives of international donor agencies, who together finance approx. 25 million US dollars on alternative development programmes in Peru (Canada 10,5 million, USA 10, Germany 1,5, European Commission 1,1, IICA 1,1, UNDCP 1), commented the need for better coordination between donor countries. While the common element in their approaches is the fight against poverty, there remain substantial differences on what is the cause of this poverty and how to fight it in an adverse context such as the one dominated by neo-liberal economic policy.
In particular the director of the Fondo Peru Canada (supporting above all small scale projects with NGOs and local organisations) expressed that the problem was only complex because we make it complex: ‘what is needed is a vision on development in the Amazon region, that should have a local perspective, and first then a national, and than an international’. Recent developments in German (GTZ ) and British (DIFID) cooperation seem to confirm that apparently decentralised co-operation is gaining broader support.
Perspectives for legal coca
‘Imagine a delegation of Peruvian-Bolivian Parliament Members inspecting the erradication of tobacco fields in Europe, and meanwhile, chewing coca leaves’
Comment of Jean Huss to his fellow (smoking) delegation members, 22 February 1998, Quillabamba, Peru.
That coca tea is a common drink in Peru was proved during the lunch at the Sheraton hotel in Lima that was offered to the delegation by Peruvian Congressmen, among them Miguel Velit, chairman of the Committee on Fiscalisation. After the meal, a mate de coca was served and enjoyed by all, among other factors because of its well-known effects on digestion. Also during other meetings, coca cakes were consumed, and during one lunch in a luxury restaurant in Lima, coca ice creams were eaten as dessert. Of course, while consuming these products, the conversation immediately turned to the current illegal status of the coca leaf.
Peruvian neurologist and expert in coca, Fernando Cabieses explained: ‘When referring to consumption of drugs, what is legal and what is illegal is a cultural matter, and you cannot repress cultural behaviours by law. Every culture has its own customs which cannot be repressed by force: US government tried it with alcohol, but it provoked chaos. Apparently, this kind of human behaviour can only be influenced by education or by marketing.’
According to Cabieses, the active agent of coca, cocaine, when taken orally (like by chewing coca leaves) comes slowly in the blood and can be dealt with by the body relatively easily. It then has a lot of beneficial purposes, as an energetic, or a mild stimulant. The problem with cocaine occurs when it is sniffed or injected, and it goes directly to the brain. Concluding, it is the way of using the substance that might create a problem, not the substance itself.
Traditional coca products in Peru are almost all manufactured by ENACO, which was originally a state company, and since 1993 is privatised. The lion’s part of their clients is the coca chewers (especially farmers, fishermen and truck drivers) and a smaller part is for industrialised products like coca tea in various forms. They are opening other lines of products such as coca licor and others.
Researchers of ENACO, explained that they work with extracts of integral coca (500 milligrams of cocaine on 100 milliliters) or decreased volumes (15 milligrams of cocaine on 100 millilitres) for aromatic purposes. According to the researchers, a company like Coca Cola does this as well, and therefore it is possible to detect traces of cocaine in Coca Cola. The reason why not all cocaine is taken out is simply because too strong solvents have to be used, which are dangerous for health. When ENACO makes coca tea or liquor it reduces the amount of cocaine to a minimum of 0,0024 %, which is less than the 0,1 % limit which is determined by the Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961. However, no commercialisation outside Peru has been possible because of the fear of importing companies that the UN control system will block this trade (they control so strictly that they can sabotage every effort).
Whereas Peru was one of the countries that some years ago put forward the call for legalisation of coca leaves to the UN Commission of Narcotic Drugs, in recent years it has changed its policy regards the issue. From Mrs. Marcela Lopez de Ruiz of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we heard that, at this moment, it was considered inappropiate to present the revalorisation proposal. Upon request of the UN to prove the inoffensiveness of coca derivatives, Peru has presented the necessary scientific documents, but there has been no reaction. Apparently the reason behind opposition to coca is not moral, but rather economic, or political. This impression was confirmed by a panel of independent coca specialists, who explained that the fear of decertification by USA implies that no revalorisation proposal can be presented.
According to Contradrogas, there is another reason why revalorisation is no longer a priority. It would not be clever to prepare the world for legal coca products, when the Peruvian providers to that market are not in condition to compete. Therefore, ENACO, has to be modernised, there should be installed a better control and better conditions for legal producers – in order to avoid rivalry with those peasants who produce for the illicit market. Currently, ENACO has the capacity to elaborate 30 tons of coca leaves a year, but at this moment they only elaborate 4 tons. Because of the economic crisis and changing climate conditions (less cold winters) the market in Peru is reduced this year.
On this issue, the Executive Secretary of the Federation of Peasant Producers of the Valley of ‘la Convencion y Lares’, the main region for coca production for traditional market purposes (about 90 % of the coca leaves bought by ENACO come from here) expressed great dissatisfaction with ENACO, for taking too high commissions on each purchase (15 %) and also for manipulating in the elaboration phase: according to him, ENACO mixes bad and good quality leaves in one, while not paying the same price to the producers who do their best to select the best leaves.
Concrete remarks on cooperation with Europe
Mr. Gil of Contradrogas stressed that Peru does not want to be dependent anymore, it wants to receive help in order to show that it is capable to execute a programme. There are difficulties in competence, lessons have to be learned from the past and one important lesson is that the work should be done by experts, not by politicians. Therefore, the government wants to work closely with the private sector, and it wants to organise the peasants to work with them, to prepare the Congress in order to facilitate private investments.
Mrs. Lopez de Ruiz explained that Peruvian government has a problem with the European pressure on the precursors’ issue. She felt that Peru has its legislation in order, but that it is other countries who do not have an effective control, and that European countries should direct its attention towards those countries first.
Peter Luhmann, the GTZ director in Lima expressed the importance of more co-ordination among the representatives of international co-operation agencies in Peru, and also the presence of NGO’s in this discussion, in order to develop further in the ideas on alternative development and the need to dialogue on coordination.
Representatives of peasant organisations expressed their wish to co-operate directly with international donors, not rhough government agencies, and therefore presented concrete proposals for collaboration. A summary of papers is listed on page 21. They highlighted the experience of the the Federation of the Apurimac Valley in the Department of Ayacucho, who recently subscribed an technical cooperation agreement with the Fondo Peru Canada, which is the first agreement of this kind in Peru.
Various coca experts at the Andean Commission of Jurists stated that according to them, the problem is essentially economic. As long as Peru does not have the financial space to create realistic development perspectives, it will be impossible to find long term solutions in the fight against poverty, and therefore in the coca problem as well. One should best sensibilise bankers and policy makers on the need to flexibilise on the debt policy.
During many years, Bolivia was the second largest producer of coca leaves in the world. Actually it is the third, with about 12,000 hectares for licit purposes and 35,000 hectares for illicit purposes, located in the Region of Chapare, northeast of Cochabamba. The latter produce approx. 70,000 tons of coca, that can be elaborated into 200 tons of cocaine. Illicit economy generates 70 million USD for the peasants pr. year and 400 million USD for the country as a whole. This represents about 4 to 5% of the BNP and 30 % of legal exports
In recent years, eradication figures in Bolivia have been steady: about 8,000 hectares pr. year. However, new coca was planted all the time, so in general, the total production has remained the same. Coca producers in Chapare are, among others, migrated miners, who respond to their economic needs after being fired by privatisation measures of the government in 1985. When visiting the Chapare anno 1998, one can quickly conclude that they have not escaped from misery. Although being providers for one of the world’s best businesses, Bolivian coca producers continue living in conditions of extreme poverty.
Since 1997, the European Commission is contributing to alternative development in this region with a substantial amount (30 million USD). Also European countries have quite some experiences in this issue, especially through support to agroindustry (Italy, Sweden) and to the design of a development plan (Germany). The results have been relatively poor, for the same reasons as mentioned in the case of Peru. On the other hand, the difference between Bolivia on one side and Peru and Colombia on the other is that Bolivia is in many ways still a real developing country. Not only because it has the lowest income pr. capita of South America, and technical and social infrastructure are badly developed, but also, because there exists in general a culture of subordination, and some specific political and cultural circumstances that complicate the issue.
Bolivia’s approach to the problem
This problem clearly is shown in the relation of Bolivia with the United States. Drugs policy in Bolivia seems to be related directly with the certification policy of the US government. The US Embassy is said to play a key role in all major decisions that are taken on this issue, and DEA personnell intervene directly in the technical operations. To be certified, US governments expects from Bolivia that a certain amount of hectares (7 to 8,000) is eradicated on a yearly basis. To obtain this figure, Bolivian police and army from time to time implement a repressive approach, in which violations of human rights take place systematically.
Until the day of the visit of the delegation, the present Bolivian government had not committed any abuses of human rights yet, but already then, it was felt that this was just due to the so-called honeymoon period (the new government took office only in August, 1997). And indeed, after the 1st of April, in several violent confrontations in Chapare between peasants and policemen, In confrontations between demonstrating peasants and policemen in the Chapare, at least 9 people have been killed, another 30 are severely injured, and an unknown number of people are missing.
What is feared is that in practice, Bolivian state is really impotent when faced with US pressure. For example, already for years it has turned out to be impossible to modify the Law 1008, the legal instrument of Bolivia’s drug control policy. This Law is based on the principle that the more strict a law is, the more effective it will be as well. It is in violation with basic principles of human rights declaration and even the Bolivian constitution. According to this law, everybody is guilty as long the opposite is proved, there is an obligation for the prosecutor to appeal when a judge declares somebody innocent, investigation periods can take between 1 and 2 years, and the principle of ‘when in doubt in favour of the accused’ is violated, as the judges are more afraid of saving a guilty than of sanctioning an innocent. When asked upon this issue, the Vice-Minister of Interior, Mr. Sergio Medinacelli, confirmed that until now, every effort to modify Law 1008 has been vetoed by the US Embassy.
On the other hand, the Bolivian government itself has clearly shown the political will to increase its repression of drugs trade, and that this also means confronting coca farmers. Government officials make no secret of their aversion of what they call ‘dictatorial tradeunionism’ in the Chapare, referring to apparently dictatorial behaviour of some peasant leaders who would be opposed to alternative development and would force peasants not to cooperate with the government on this issue. Some sources who work together with the government (like the director of the Spanish Cooperation Agency Carlos Tornell), even mentioned that peasant leaders are financed by drugs traffickers and/or European NGO’s, without however being able to deliver any proofs for these statements.
Independent observers commented that it is thanks to the strong peasant federations in the Chapare that the drugs maffia has never been able to enter the region. This was confirmed by Dr. Godofredo Reinicke, Director of the Human Rights Office of the Ministry of Justice in Chimoré, who confirmed that there does not exist any organised violence from the peasants against the development projects, that all peasants want to substitute coca but that there are no alternatives. According to Reinicke, the trade union discipline is necessary because public authorities are virtually absent.
The problem of increased polarisation in the internal coca debate in Bolivia might be related to the underlying ethnic and political tensions in the country; the coca plant has strong cultural importance for the indigenous population, that in spite of being the majority (65%) has never had access to political decisions. At this moment, the coca producers are in one way or another the avantguard of the peasant/indigenous movement, that even is trying to obtain some political power.
While in Bolivia there is overwhelming evidence of the cultural and scientific value of coca (expressed in several studies of national and international researchers) the government continues to be reluctant to support the demand for international revalorisation. At the sa me time, it continues to accept foreign pressure to erradicate all illicit cultivation, and it can use this pressure on any moment to repress the cocapeasant movement, that is to say, its political enemies.
The main focus of the governments’s policy is on the region of Chapare, currently a region under siege by police and military control. The new government of president Banzer has recently announced a five year plan to erradicate all coca cultivation in Chapare. It will gradually abolish compensation payments for erradicated hectares (currently 2,500 dollars per hectare). After 31 march, these payments are given to the community and not the individual, and by the end of 2000, no more compensation will be given, which means that all erradication will be compulsory. At the moment of writing this report, in the end of April, the first results of this policy are already felt (see above).
In order to finance this plan, an ambitious budget has been calculated: 900 million USD in 5 years, of which 700 million should be used for alternative development. Bolivia itself would finance 15 % of this amount, the remaining 85 % should come from foreign donors. Both external and internal observers have expressed their doubt on the possibility of obtaining these amounts, which exceed many times the amounts received by Bolivia in the past 20 years for the same purpose. In february 1998, for example, United States announced the reduction of its yearly contribution to alternative development in Bolivia from 45 to 12 million USD, which was considered by Bolivian government as a direct insult.
However, the Bolivian plan seems to fit excellently in the new strategy of the United Nations Drugs Control Programme (SCOPE) which itself has set a timeframe of 5 years to erradicate all coca and opium poppy cultivation and another 5 years to supervise the results.
According to UNDCP Executive Director, Pino Arlacchi, 25 years of alternative development has meant a lot of success stories. Therefore, the organisation has now presented a budget of 5,000 millions USD to finance a mixed strategy of repression and alternative development to achieve this goal.
Perspectives for alternative development
In this context, it is interesting to note some of the experiences of the alternative development projects that have been carried out thus far in Bolivia. Commenting their experiences with foreigh aid to alternative development, government officials stated for instance that national technicians already knew in 1989 that Chapare had a vocation for agroforestry and not agriculture. However, they were obliged to introduce cash crops by USAID. This was confirmed by farmers in the Chapare, who commented that until now, alternative development has consisted in the introduction of new and exotic cash crops, cultivated on modelfarms where engineers could produce impreesive harvests with the use of pesticides and insecticides, inputs that the farmer could not afford to pay. Likewise, to establish agroindustry, several factories were built without market perspectives, without follow up, without empresarial direction, without enough technical assistance. As a result, a majority of these factories have become true failures.
As an illustration of this reality, the delegation visited some farms of coca peasants in the neighbourhood of Villa Tunari, where the ‘Sica Toka’ disease has destroyed many banana plants that peasants have planted with money they received for erradicating one hectare of coca. The disease has completely destroyed the harvest, and according to the farmers, they have not been able to fight it because pesticides were either too expensive or not adequate.
Also a project financed by the Spanish Cooperation Agency in Chimoré was visited. Technicians explained that they are building a factory that can elaborate 2,500 tins of palmheart per day, and 500 litres of orange juice a day. A total of 150 peasants have been given 1 ha of palmheart and 1 ha of orange. With 1 ha of palmheart, they will be able to earn 1,850 US dollar a year, after two years of production. As there are some problems with diseases that have to be attacked with pesticides and insecticides, the costs of inversion are 1,000 USD pr ha. The market of the factory is assured, as a Spanish tin factory is stockholder and will buy the first production for export to Spain. For oranges, the situation is the following: 238 plants can be planted pr ha, after the 4th year, there will be 1,000 oranges pr. plant, that means an income of 4,000 USD pr. year pr. ha. The juice will be for the national market.
The palmheart/orange juice factory will be able to cover the needs of 150 families. There are 4/5 other factories planned, but it is difficult to imagine how they will fill the needs of the remaining 25,000 to 30,000 families in the region who are currently dependent on coca cultivation.
Since several years, Bolivia is experiencing a profound reformation of the state, in which particularly the re-inforcement of local authorities has been envisaged. This has increased the possibilities for decentralised development, which unfortunately has not yet resulted in significant improvements. This is due to the fact that public ressources, in spite of massive privatisation of state companies, have not been able to cope with adverse consequences of the pricefall in raw materials produced by the country and the remaining lack of infrastructure, due to which the country is not able to build up a competitive agriculture facing cheap import from abroad.
In the Chapare itself, the main concern among the local authorities (the four lord mayors of the main municipalities are all members of a party with close links to the Federation of Peasant producers, and all were elected in December 1996 with more than 50 % of the votes) is the danger of political tension that can generate violence anytime.
For instance, the activities of the national authorities (police, army) to survey the region (‘catastro’) with the support of the European Commission, is seen with ambiguity. On the one hand, they feel this survey needs to be done in order to legalise people’s property titles. On the other hand they also fear it will generate confrontation as it might be used to prepare the Chapare region for the arrival of private companies which will buy out small peasants to establish large commercial plantations.
Undoubtedly, there are limitations to alternative development in Chapare: the speed of agroindustrial development is extremely slow, it needs more infrastructure, the main part of the region does not have agricultural vocation, but is fit for agroforestry, etc. However, parts of the region could have a potential for the cultivation of fruits like pineapple, maracuya, platain and palmheart. To activate this potential, it is important to count with market and investment facilities, which the small agricultural sector does not have access to. On the contrary, large private investors would have this access, and therefore, they could easily take over. However, it remains an open question where the population of small peasants would then have to turn to. A new tragic scenario of forced ‘relocalisation’ seems in the making.
In spite of this perspective and perhaps due the negative experiences with development agencies, some peasants have decided to take their future in their own hands; they obtain commercial credits and contract technicians, look for ways to fight diseases and for companies which sell the remedies, investigate market possibilities on a national and even an international level, until now with some succes.
Concrete remarks on co-operation with Europe
All local observers in the Chapare, both from national and local government and non-governmental agencies, commented that it is impossible to erradicate all coca in 5 years without generating violence. In stead of putting this kind of unrealistic time frames, there should be a follow up to the elaboration of integrated development concepts, like the one that has been established in the ‘Plan del Trópico’ (a development plan for Chapare region elaborated by a mixed commission of government and peasants in 1995, financed by the German cooperation GTZ). Various interlocutors commented this as an excellent plan, but difficult to execute, as the national government conditions development to erradication, while according to the peasants, it should just be the other way around.
a. Mathias Schubert
On legalisation of coca
To fight against the illicit coca cultivation and the related increase of drugs criminality, it has been continuously proposed to legalise the trade in coca leaves for licit purposes. Defenders of this proposal are found among NGOs, coca peasant federations and even members of national parliaments in Europe and the European Parliament.
The attitude of the international community, repetitiously confirmed by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and recently by the G7 summit in Scotland of February 1998, is that the worldwide prohibition of coca leaves is to be continued. Also, the United Nations’ General Assembly’s Special Session on Drugs in New York will almost certainly not lead to a different conclusion. International co-operation with the Andean countries, particularly that of the United States, is aiming at total erradication of illicit coca cultivation.
This strategy might be considered as a way to transfer the apparent incompetence of the consumer countries to deal with their own drugs problem to the source countries. However, it is also clear that without supply, there is no demand, and that this supply is maintained as long as peasants will find in coca a product that guarantees them a higher price than any other crop whatsoever. An eventual legalisation of coca for licit purposes does not contribute anything to the solution of this dilemma.
Defenders of legalisation maintain that the coca plant contains a considerable amount of medicinal and farmacological elements. Legalisation would generate new market possibilities, it would decriminalise producers and establish respect for Andean culture.
These arguments are not convincing. Traditional coca culture is limited, and as it is legalised in Peru and parts of Bolivia, the regional coca culture has been accepted already. On the other hand, it is cuestionable if new markets outside the Andean region will be found. The amount of products that could be commercialised in health food shops in Europe and the USA is limited. Pharmaceutical industry can do without coca today to achieve similar objectives. Coca has therefore little chance to obtain a relevant share of this market. Therefore there is also no economic argument to legalise coca: the economic situation of the peasants will not improve substantially.
The ideological argument is maintained. When Coca Cola contains coca, and is allowed to be consumed in the whole world, then this possibility should also be offered to Peruvian or Bolivian products. For instance, a coca liquor is produced in Peru that contains less amounts of coca than Coca Cola. Therefore, there should be no restriction for these products.
On alternative development
The reason for the limitations to alternative development and substitution projects thus far is above all the lack of competitiveness of alternative crops and the difficulties to find markets. Peasants are faced with a saturated world market with steady falling prices for their products. Who changes to coffee or cocoa, has to count with extreme price fluctuations and who experiments with fruits, only has a chance for success if he/she is able to conquer a place in an extremely competitive market.
To this, the continuous miscalculations of executing agencies can be added. For instance, in Bolivia, USAID developed in recent years a campaign to stimulate production of maracuya. Many peasants accepted the proposal, but when the marketing perspectives as described by the project engineers failed to come true, the experiment ended in a disaster. Many peasants were forced to start cultivating coca again, and as a result, become criminalised.
These conclusions should lead to the recognition that alternative development can only be succesfull when it is conceived as a regional concept. Only integrated concepts, that have long term perspectives and are not conditioned by erradication, will be able to succesfully change the life- and income conditions of the beneficiaries. The intentions of both Peruvian and Bolivian government should be supported. In Colombia, it should be stressed that the conception of the policy towards illicit crop production should be concentrated more on this integrated development approach.
This concept, however, should be based on two important assumptions. Firstly, the involved governments should have an interest in co-operating with qualitative development. Secondly, there should exist a clear co-operation between donors and beneficiaries. Here, it is important to eliminate the existing deficit, which is related to an overestimation on behalf of the beneficiaries of development co-operation as such and to the quality of project management.
On the UNDCP Plan (SCOPE)
UNDCP’s Executive Director Pino Arlacchi has declared the elimination of all illicit coca cultivation in the next 5 years as a major objective of his organisation. He believes the perspectives for this plan are extremely positive, based on the experiences in Thailand and Pakistan. The recepee for succes consists according to Arlacchi in a massive expenditure of funds to substitute coca with alternative crops. Funds that should particularly come from European countries. If the governments from the Andean Region would not be co-operative with this strategy, they should be forced to it. This plan has met great scepsis by representatives of both peasant associations, NGOs, national and local authorities but also by UNDCP’s officials themselves. I agree with this scepsis.
The example of Bolivia shows, that net substitution of coca fields is advancing more slowly than planned. Alternatives to coca are not sufficiently developed and even small scale projects are still in the stabilisation phase. National and international markets for alternative products are hardly found.
Besides this economic reality, the UNDCP plan contains political dynamite. To push such an ambitious plan forward with external pressure, implies the danger of jeopardising, if not impeding, the very precious participatory approach between donors and beneficiaries. The UNDCP plan runs the risk of being considered as a renewed colonialist instrument, that is merely meant as a reinforcement of the policy of militarised coca elimination as carried out by the US in the Andean region today.
b. Fabienne Grojean, Jean Huss and Joep Oomen
On legalisation of coca
First of all, we consider the repressive approach in the fight against drugs, through the militarisation of coca producing regions, the massacres, tortures and corruption it generates, in complete contradiction with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Therefore, we recommend a complete demilitarisation of the concerned areas, i.e. a socio-economic approach towards the problem of cultivation of coca for the illicit market and an increased inversion in integrated development programmes, not excluding the coca leaf.
In particular, fumigation operations and use of pesticides that have proven to cause enormous ecologic harm to environment and human health should come to an end.
Having said that, we consider that the entire approach towards illicit crop cultivation in the Andean Region has until now been based on a concept of the fight against drugs, not against poverty. This fight against drugs has become a fight against people, and particularly against the weakest links in the drugs trade chain: small peasant producers, couriers, consumers with almost no responsability in the business and virtually no benefit from it. Therefore, this concept of the fight against drugs does not belong to a modern society, where problems should be solved with sophisticated instruments.
One of the bases that legitimates the fight against coca is the inclusion of the leaf in the list of dangerous substances, added to the UN Convention of Narcotic Drugs of 1961. Both Andean and Western scientists have delivered overwhelming evidence that this inclusion is based on biased arguments. Besides, the worldwide prohibition of coca has hindered serious research into its medicinal and therapeutic properties, and therefore, it has impeded serious research into the commercial perspectives of inoffensive coca derivates.
On alternative development
Our feeling is that there is only one legitimate argument left not to legalise coca at once: the possibility of a price collapse following an increase in cultivation areas, (not only in South America, but also in Africa and Asia). However, this dilemma shows us where the root of the problem lies: globalisation of free market-economy, licit or illicit, is simply not compatible with sustainable development. In our view, the latter is more important than the first and therefore, regulation is needed urgently to protect sustainable farming systems in all parts of the world.
While participating in this mission, it has become clear to us that after spending hundreds of millions of dollars during more than 20 years, alternative development programmes are still in the phase of research and experiments. However, it is the peasants who do the experiments. When the experiments fail, the project personnell continues to receive their salaries, while peasants go broke. Therefore, alternative development that does not take into consideration the concept of graduality is not only irrealistic, it is a mere justification of repression.
The way forward is to install first realistic alternative perspectives for development, taking into account the macro-economic measures needed to ensure these perspectives, and then after, replace the illicit crops. Obviously, these programmes should be conceived, planned and executed in concertation with the legitimate representatives of the involved producers.
On the UNDCP Plan (SCOPE)
European countries should reconsider approving the SCOPE plan as introduced by UNDCPs Executive Director Pino Arlacchi. We believe that the strategy of eliminating all coca and opium cultivation in 5 or 10 years is impossible to realise, and in total contradiction with the principles of sustainable and lasting development. Member countries of the UN should re-examine the alternative development programmes carried out by UNDCP thus far, and establish criteria that do not measure the amount of hectares erradicated but rather the amount of improvement achieved in Human Development indications as been established by UNDP, WHO, FAO, ILO and others like for example the Index for Human Poverty and the Index for Women’s Participation. Before erradicating anything, what should be erradicated is poverty.
Bilateral certification as currently implemented by the US government should be replaced by a process of multilateral certification, in which the responsibility of all countries of the world in fighting the drugs phenomenon should be considered. International drugs control policies should include the concept of shared responsability between countries where supply is concentrated and countries where demand is concentrated. The major part of the budget for drugs control should be directed at prevention measures. Likewise, European and other Western countries should improve its control of exports of precursor chemicals.
As an annex to these recommendations, we add the Resolution on a Coherent, Just and Effective Policy on Coca Leaf Production, as adopted by the General Assembly of the Liaison Committee of European Development Non-Governmental Organisations on 19 April 1996.
5. List of documents
We would like to mention that in our meetings with coca producers in Colombia and Peru, we were given an impressive amount of documents containg analyisis and proposals fro improved co-operation on integrated alternative development, with the question to give this information further to donor agencies. It is impossible to list here all these documents. However, a summary is added, and the request is made to those representatives of donor agencies interested in receiving a copy to contact ENCOD for further details (address on page 2).
1. Development project: Caqueta: Futuro de Colombia, Tierra de Promision, by Peasant Federation, Caquetá
2. Regional analysis on Guaviare, by Peasant representative, Guaviare
3. Regional analysis on Cauca, by Federation of small peasants of Cauca (SINPEAGRIC)
4. Development project to produce and commercialise platain, of Sintragrim, Meta
5. Development project to produce fruit, Putumayo
6. Development project to produce cane, Cauca
1 Summary of denounces of ENACO, CONAPA
2. National analysis, CONAPA
3. Regional analysis on Monzon
4. Regional analysis on San Martin
5. Regional analysis on Tingo Maria
6. Regional analysis on Valle de Yanatile
7. Regional analysis on Selva de Puno
8. Regional analysis on Valle de la Convencion
9. Regional analysis on Region Uchiza
10. Analysis on situation of women in coca producing areas
11. Project on revalorisation of the Coca Leaf, Valle de la Convencion
12. Declaration of the ‘Womens Front for Commercialisation of the coca leaf’
Resolution on a Coherent, Just and Effective Policy on Coca Leaf Production
The General Assembly of European Development NGOs, meeting in Brussels on 18-19 April 1996,
* – Recalling that the European Union’s Action Plan to Combat Drugs (COM (94)0234 – C4 – 0107/94) stresses the need for the EU to prevent drug supply from producer regions as an essential complement to efforts to reduce drugs within its frontiers (Article 48) and to undertake joint EU actions with regard to the drug problem,
* – Recalling that the EU and its member states, through various conventions and treaties like the Treaty of the European Union, Horizon 2000, Agenda 21 and ILO Convention 169, have committed themselves to carrying out a policy that will foster the sustainable development of developing countries, their gradual integration into the world economy, the reduction of poverty, the consolidation of democracy and respect for human and civil rights, including those for indigenous peoples,
* – Deeply concerned that the lack of coherence between some aspects of the actual drug control, development and economic policies carried out by the EU and its member states is undermining both drug control and development objectives.
Calls on the Commission to establish this coherence.
The General Assembly,
* – Recognising that the fundamental cause of the cultivation of plants used for the manufacturing of drugs is rural poverty, the destruction of other productive sectors and the lack of opportunities for development in general,
* – Recognising that official strategies to combat drugs are partially directed towards eliminating drug-linked cultivation. Campaigns to reduce this cultivation, especially when carried out with force, have had many undesirable side-effects and that, despite these campaigns, production of drugs continues to increase globally,
Calls on the Commission to:
* – Refrain from supporting the use of repressive measures (following the recommendation adopted by the European Parliament in its plenary session of 15 June 1995)
* – Refrain from linking general development aid with drug control criteria and make use of its co-ordinating position to encourage member states to do the same,
* – Develop criteria for drug control assistance. This could include evidence that autorities are taking concrete steps to tackle corruption and should not include the attainment of erradictaion targets,
* – Support the involvement of independent organisations specialised in development, human rights and environment, in monitoring the use and side effects of drug control assistance,
* – Make use of its position within the Dublin Group to express the European concerns with the impact of US governments’s policy with regards to coca leaf cultivation in the Andean countries.
Further, the General Assembly,
* – Recalling that alternative development projects in zones of drug-linked cultivation, financed by the Commission through the United Nations International Drugs Control Programme, have had disappointing results. These projects have often suffered from insufficient participation by target groups and frequently, insufficient thought has been given to the commercialisation of alternative products. Furthermore, projects have been adversely affected by changes in international commodity proces (for example, for coffee) beyond their control,
Calls on the Commission to:
* – Carry out studies to identify environmentally and economically sustainable models of peasant production in areas where drug-linked cultivation is taking place, particularly those geared to food self-sufficiency and production for the domestic, rather than export markets,
* – Carry out and systematise independent evaluations of all alternative development projects executed in co-operation with UNDCP and insist on the involvement of the target population in all phases of these projects, in fulfilment of the criteria to budget line B7- 6210.
The General Assembly,
Mindful that the inclusion of the coca leaf in Schedule 1 of the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs has distorted the socio-economic and cultural reality of Andean peasant farmers, for whom coca has crucial cultural significance. The inclusion of the coca leaf in the convention has hindered the diffusion of serious research demonstrating the harmlessness of coca, as well as certain therapeutical and nutritional propertioes of coca. The confusion between coca and cocaine has impeded a solution to problems associated with drugs. The inclusion in Schedule 1 has been a historic error based on biased arguments, and the commercialisation of beneficial coca leaf derivatives could lead to important development options for the producer regions,
requests the Commission:
* – To support or carry out investigations into the way in which the removal of the coca leaf from Schedule 1 might contribute to sustainable development in the producer regions and commercialisation of beneficial coca derivatives in Europe.
The General Assembly,
Considering that the policy of the EU of granting special trade preferences (GSP) to the Andean countries – though wellcome – has not had the desired effect of reinforcing the peasant farmer sector. The potential benefits for peasant farmers have been undermined by domestic and international economic policies which have an adverse impact on this sector and that the removal of state-funded credit and marketing mechanisms as part of privatisation programmes has further disadvantaged peasant communities. This contributes to an increase in drug-linked cultivation, and the increasing liberalisation of global trade threatens to eliminate the advantage that GSP offers the peasant sector, urges the Commission:
* – To carry out and systematise studies on the way in which development aid can b used to enable small peasant sector to make better use of the opportunities offered by GSP.
* – To support projects and inputs in Andean countries that correspond to ‘Fair Trade’ schemes, directed at offering an increasing number of peasant farmers the possibility of cultivating and marketing products at a fair price.