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Viewing cable 09LAPAZ1541, EU WEIGHS ITS COUNTER-NARCOTICS EFFORTS IN BOLIVIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LAPAZ1541 2009-11-10 15:03 2010-12-03 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy La Paz
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #1541/01 3141534
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101534Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1953
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 6643
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0602
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 7808
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 4853
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0018
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 4412
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 2562
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 0009
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 0084
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0083
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIB/CNC LINEAR WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 001541 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/10/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR EU BO
SUBJECT: EU WEIGHS ITS COUNTER-NARCOTICS EFFORTS IN BOLIVIA 

REF: LA PAZ 1494 

Classified By: Charge John Creamer, reasons 1.4 b and d. 

1. (C) Summary: Our exchanges with European Union 
representatives and an EU working group paper underscore 
growing European recognition of the need for intensified 
cooperation on counter-narcotics in Bolivia. The Europeans 
note increases in coca production, fear the introduction of 
third country criminal organizations, and recognize the loss 
in GOB capabilities with the expulsion of DEA last year. 
Among proposals under consideration by the EU are increases 
in technical assistance and alternative development, 
development of EU member state law enforcement cooperation, 
better internal coordination, and strengthening CN 
cooperation with neighboring countries. EU officials are 
also keen to reopen the UNODC office in La Paz, and seek U.S. 
assistance in pressing the UN to do so quickly. Although EU 
counter-narcotics efforts have so far been relatively modest 
and focused on alternative development, EU officials 
generally share our assessments and are considering stepping 
up their engagement, including on law enforcement (by 
individual member states) and by pushing GOB reductions in 
coca cultivation. End summary. 

2. (C) An internal policy paper prepared by the 
recently-formed EU Drugs Working Group (made up of 
representatives from local EU missions) highlights European 
concerns about the worsening counter-narcotics situation in 
Bolivia and the Europeans' interest in doing more. The EU 
paper notes the growth of cocaine use in Europe -- the 
ultimate destination for most Bolivian cocaine -- and the 
troubling increase in coca production in Bolivia and other 
Andean countries (the EU estimates 32-34,000 hectares under 
production in Bolivia, slightly higher than the UNODC's 
figure of 30,500). GOB efforts to control the legal coca 
market are seriously flawed, the EU notes, while Bolivian 
government interdiction remains hampered by the loss of DEA's 
logistical and intelligence support (following DEA's 
expulsion in November 2008). A major European concern -- 
also voiced by EU Ambassador Bell and others to the Charge -- 
is that Colombian and Mexican cartels will enter the Bolivian 
market, expanding production and increasing 
trafficking-related violence. 

3. (C) Amid sustained domestic pressure for increases in 
legal production, the EU has provided one million euros to 
fund a GOB survey of legal coca demand and other related 
studies (the "Comprehensive Study on the Coca Leaf in 
Bolivia"). Ambassador Bell explained that the full results 
of the legal demand survey will not be available before July 
2010, although the GOB may attempt to revise its legislation 
governing legal production (including an increase from the 
current 12,000 hectares authorized) before then. Bell 
suggested that any estimate of 20,000 hectares or less should 
prove useful in pressing the GOB to cut coca cultivation. 
Separately, UK Ambassador Baker voiced disappointment that 
the study will not be ready until next summer, but stressed 
that the international community should not wait until then 
to press the Bolivians on this issue. 

4. (C) EU officials acknowledge that their counter-narcotics 
assistance is small scale compared to the aid the U.S. has 
provided. According to their policy paper, most assistance 
has gone toward alternative development (the European 
Commission has provided nearly 50 million euros, Belgium and 
Spain several million euros each), with lesser amounts in 
equipment donations (the U.K. gave the GOB $500,000 in 
forensics equipment this year; Germany and Italy have also 
provided small amounts of in-kind aid). The UK, Spain, 
Italy, the Netherlands and France have provided limited CN 
training to Bolivian police in recent years. Ambassador Bell 
maintains that the EU cannot be involved directly in 
eradication, but allowed that some eradication-related aid 
may be possible (e.g., covering ancillary costs). 

5. (C) More critically, Ambassador Bell noted, the EU lacks 
the capability to fill the law enforcement vacuum left by 
DEA's expulsion, but EU members states can and should be 
pressed to strengthen such cooperation, he said. The UK, 
Spanish and visiting Swedish ambassadors have all 
acknowledged privately that the EU's limited CN approach has 
proven insufficient and needs to be expanded to include 
direct support for law enforcement. Ambassador Baker 
reported that the UK is currently undergoing an internal 
review of its regional CN policy, to be completed by early 
December, that will include consideration of new efforts in 
this area. Additionally, the Europeans indicate that they 
intend to step up consultation with neighboring states such 
as Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, which are strengthening 
their own cross-border counter-narcotics cooperation with the 
GOB. 

6. (C) The EU's paper proposes a number of CN measures for 
the near term, including increased funding for technical 
assistance (e.g., on money laundering and judicial support), 
expansion of alternative development aid, and creation of 
mechanisms to aid the GOB in evaluating both its CN successes 
and shortcomings. The EU working group also identified as a 
priority better CN coordination, both internally and with 
other international partners. Ambassador Baker amplified 
that point, maintaining that a coordinated, united stance 
will be critical to overcoming Bolivian President Morales's 
apparent resistance to reversing the growth in coca 
cultivation. The Europeans also see the re-opening of the 
UNODC office in La Paz (closed for budgetary reasons) as key 
to strengthened coordination. Ambassador Bell reported that 
the EU has contributed 500,000 euros for UNODC projects and 
office funding and asked for U.S. help in pushing the UN to 
open the office as soon as possible. (Note: We understand 
from the UN that donor support will determine whether the 
UNODC can return.) 

7. (C) Comment: We see a welcome evolution in the EU's 
approach toward counter-narcotics in Bolivia, as EU and EU 
member state officials evince recognition of the need to move 
beyond their relatively modest and narrowly-focused efforts 
to date. The Europeans may be convinced that Morales does 
not want Bolivia to be categorized as a narco-state, but they 
are also clear-eyed about GOB shortcomings (in terms of 
political will, capabilities and corruption), and understand 
that the EU has to shoulder a greater share of the burden in 
confronting these challenges. With policy limitations on 
what the EU can do collectively, however, translating this 
recognition into concrete action will take time, as well as 
leadership from individual member states. 
CREAMER