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The Drug War at the Supply End:The Case of Bolivia

Latin American Perspectives , Volume 24 (5): 59 – Sep 1, 1997


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1997 by SAGE Publications
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The Drug War at the Supply End:The Case of Bolivia


The Drug War at the Supply EndThe Case of Bolivia SAGE Publications, Inc.1997DOI: 10.1177/0094582X9702400504 Fernando GarcíaArgañarás by One approach to drug abuse is harm reduction with an emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation rather than criminalization and punishment. In the United States this approach has been presented as an alternative to the war against drugs waged by the Reagan and Bush administrations, finding a favorable echo in Europe and Canada. The drug problem, however, links consumers, producers, and intermediaries in a web of relationships that go far beyond the question of abuse and addiction. In this paper, harm reduction is redefined so as to include the set of problems and characteristics that prevail at the supply end of the drug war. The core of harm reduction in the coca/cocaine-producing countries of South America is understanding the pervasive power of market relations, where demand leads and supply follows, the futility of crop replacement and eradication policies, and the need to prevent these countries' further militarization. The perception that drugs are an evil that must be eradicated at all costs, together with political-strategic considerations about the "security" of the Andean region, have made fighting supply a top priority of U.S. policy
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