Iran, Brazil aid Bolivian “drug war”

At their recent meeting in La Paz, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a bilateral agreement for the Islamic Republic to provide counter-narcotics aid to the Andean nation. According Bolivia’s drug czar Felipe Caceres (officially vice-minister for Social Defense and Controlled Substances), the Iranian military will train 10 officers in intelligence and planning operations. Iran will also provide communications equipment for Bolivian anti-drug efforts. Reports did not make clear if the aid will be going to Bolivia’s army or National Police. Caceres also credited Brazilian reconnaissance drones for recent successful raids on narco-traffickers in Bolivia’s east, with more than 240 cocaine labs claimed destroyed in Santa Cruz department this month. Caceres did not provide details about the unmanned aerial vehicles other than to say they are Israeli-made, patrol the border, and also enter Bolivian airspace. (InSight Crime, June 21; AP, June 20)

In the most recent raid on June 30, Bolivia’s Special Force of Struggle against Narcotics (FELCN) raided a laboratory in San Ramón municipality, seizing 25 kilos of cocaine and arresting three—two Bolivians and a Colombian. Authorities said the lab had been producing 150 kilos every week. (La Razón, La Paz, June 30)

Bolivia signed an agreement with Brazil for drug war aid last year, to replace US assistance. Iran’s Ahmadinejad signed numerous pacts with Morales during his visit to La Paz earlier this month.

See our last posts on Bolivia and the drone wars.

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