Bolivian President Evo Morales has hit back at the US over its accusation that he is not doing enough to fight the drugs trade.
Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine, and for the second year running is top of a list of those not meeting counter-narcotic obligations. Along with Venezuela and Myanmar, Bolivia faces the prospect of Washington cutting off all aid other than humanitarian and community development programmes. President Morales, speaking at a meeting of the UN General Assembly, defended his country’s production of the crop coca, the raw material for cocaine. He accused the US of using the fight against drugs to exert political influence in the region. Bolivia says it has increased its seizures of cocaine by nine percent in the last year, and has introduced incentives to farmers to switch production to food. While its leaves can be used in legal products such as flour and toothpaste, over 70 percent of Bolivia’s coca production is said to be funnelled into the cocaine trade.