BOLIVIA: THE IMPACT OF OPERATION BLAST FURNACE

Created: 10/3/1986

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October

Bolivia: The Impact of Operation Blast Furnace

Summary

Operation Blast Furnace, the Bolivian-US antmarcoties effort, has achieved considerable success in disrupting cocaine processing and trafficking operations in Bolivia since it began last July, but these gams have been accompanied by virtually no arrests or drug seizures and may be only temporary. US military participation is now scheduled to end on IS Novembers

marica Drvision. Off*

rcoc.CS

n. Office of Coca' 'ssu.s I, wasf Operates information as6 was used in m. preparation of thla pa0er. Questions ana comments may be directed to tne Chief. South Americaa.

DcCL OADR

SUst Furnace

Sustaining the Effort

Aithduch Operation Blast Furnace has had measurable snoa-tsrm positive impact, we doubt tnat continued ooerat:ons against rj'ug producing facultiesr without US cooperation, willasting effect on rne Bolivian drug trade. Traffickers can easily aesorb financial losses and reCuifd or relocate facilitiesmall portion of their drug Smugging prof:ts Mor

cocame from bomvj

reliable aourct. Or increase procvction ac ur.^rmgg. . . . -ao nor. ope rare ar fullc$mbensate rorlags

White^ttivianu.rnormes ror the firs; time have cur powerful cocaine crarficters cm cr^defenstve- ^MH^H^ enforcement ettors must be intensified or the level of narcotics activity Will rebound g traffickers are likely to draw fessons from tne cur'enr operations, screngtrieritncrder to counter future governmenton efforts

ivhat is Needed

we believe tnaievere nar-encs pcooiemn.*ee-sce3 approacir continues interdiction efforts anc *nciuces srraregiesraaicare excess coca Cultivation anrj cismanMe powerfulg networks SucP coordinated apprcacnes ar*

b*'v roticuitiei tor ca Pjk however because ofai reoertuss.ons and mr

Coca eradication programs are essential to reouce tne eoundant. and ever-expanding, supply ot^coca leaf deigned ror <uegei markets, tn Soutr^America.s second onlyocj production. *ncres nowcultivation are likely fb tncre ese as new plantings become productive Evenajor cocan was" initiated fastew fields have been destroyed, and

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Born Washington and La Piz have recommendedoint task force consis:ing of US and Go-'vian jrmed rorces anrj police de formed to delineate military and policeocnsitnuties. smoothandomt civiiian-mitnar/ antmarcotics etior: in Bolivia

Implications tar CM? United States

iomt mterciction efforts wou

e uitety CO oimniSh

Bolivia exoecrs increasedeturn for its participation in Operation Blast fjmace, naving as*edillion anunarcotics assistance package in fat August if US aid is not provided

considerably Fj

Looking Ahead

we a'so believe that the potential for trafficker-instigated violence againstjn*ts and government officials will increase significantly once US forces depart* The presence of US irooos and sophisticated helicopters hasaror tamojijn mhibiti reorisats from powerful and well-armed cocaine traffickers

rtfer<3rc:;on program

trafficker faciiitietfB

hai some Eiii

thm recent aimnSiWi of Ootrenon 8'asr furnace untilashington lasare fortransitiono*nt effortolivian-directed

Bolivians to_rry to sustain the missions agamsi

rwoTTiTJnea suopQrTTnnWnirTg may be required bv

Bouvrartsontinue disnjgnng tnt cocaine trad* and to build an effective

program Jn the meantime. Bolivian traffickers are likely to bounce back 'rem Josses incurred during Blast Furnace with more sophisticated cocaine producing ano

Appendix: The Bolivian Cocaine Industry

legai coca cultivation and coca leaf use in Bolivia are deeprooied inact that complicates control of tne more recent illegal drug business"the processingorr*pf coc3ioe"whtch permeates the country's modern society, economy, and political system The entrenchment of drug trafficking networks and the enormous profits theyTL generate nave made La Pas's limited efforts at control more difficult. The current(ornr operation is aimed primarily at the destruction of cocaine _process*nghe remote northern and eastern sections of the country,

Coca cultivation is legal in Bolivia, wnere coca leaves have been chewed or brewed fnto tea for centuries Much of tne estimated ^flK tonsdrug coca leaves being produced annually, however, is illegally processed into cocaine or cocaineignificant pomon o' which flow into the US.

The Geography of Cocaine

Cultivation is centered in the Yungas end Chapare regions on the eastern slopes of tne Andes. The reaves are picked severalear and processed into paste or base nearby he past, most semi-refmed coca products were flown mainly to laboratories in Coiomoia for processing into cocaine, but in recent years increasing amounts have been transshipped to large cocaine laboratories in northern and easternemote, lightly populated expanse of jungle and savanna accessible only by aircraft or riverboat.

Enforcement

Past Bolivian efforts to reduce coca crops have failed to curb expanding cultivation, and interdiction efforts have been only minor irritants to powerful drua rraffickin organizations.

^Ty^phasiS^ot currentfforts is on disrupting the narcotics traffickingheoperation is directed against cocaine laboratories in me Bent and Santa Cru^aewnrrrfcpis and the Bolivians are stepping up their own efforts against field processing facilities in tne Chapare.

'Coca cultivation is illegal when it is grown outside of legally established areas or flxceeds tneo' two hectares per owner fli^k

T; Bolivia: Trie Impact ot Operation Blast furnace Dissemination:

external

he Honorable Ann Wrobleski, INM. State Department

r. Jerrrjid M. Olon. INM. State Oeoartment

r Carlton Turner. SA to the President

r. Gene Williams. Office of the Vice President

he Monoraoie Elliott ADnms. Inter-American Affairs.

Stater. Paul Taylor. Stater. Robert Gciberd. Inter-American Affairs. State

Department

s. Victt Huddleston. ARA. Stater. Owight Ink. AID. Stater. Larry Dash. AIO. States. Penelope Farley. AID. Stateo'- John Cash.r. Prank Romance.r. Mike Anoia.r. Oave Westrate. OEA

r. Greg Christopoulos, Treasuryr. William von Raab. US Customsol. Richard Childress.r. Lucian Heichler.tater. Byron Jackson. Commerce Department

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