BOLIVIA: NEW THREAT TO THE REGIME

Created: 2/26/1981

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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BOLIVIA: New Threat to the Regimo ,

General Garoia Mesa's new campaign to eradicate the country's illegal narcotic* industry seem to have put him in an untenable position.

Garcia Heia haa been under intense pressure froa prominent regimental commanders to end the government's countenance of cocaine trafficking, which they believe is blocking the normalization of relations with the US. He has reacted by giving the armed forces responsibility for combating the drug trade. The commanderey armored unit. Colonel Doria Medina, is heading theand has been given sweeping powers.

Many senior officials have close ties to major drugInterior Minister Arce, commanderarge paramilitary force and an ally of both theand Garcia Mesa. If Garcia Mesa continues hie alliance with Arce, hie strongest protector, it wouldravesty of the antinarcotica campaign. Should the campaign fail, however, Garcia Heza probably would loaa his military support and be ousted.

tary

Doria Medina and Arce now seem certain toloody encounter between the paramilitary forces of Arce and the traffickers on one aide and the mili.tary on the other also could cost Garcia Heza his job.

Whatever happens, Doria Medina appears to have put himselftrong position to take power. Hisambitions probably will be enhanced by widoapread approval for hia antinarcotica efforts.

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