Weekly Report - 25 May 2023 (WR-23-21)

BOLIVIA: Claims of counter-narcotics success ring hollow

Bolivia’s President Luis Arce, still battling the fallout from a severe shortage of US dollars, is under fire from all sides. The government will have expected some positive headlines following the 21 May announcement by Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo that 27 cocaine laboratories had been raided since January, in “the biggest counter-narcotics operation in Bolivian history”. Instead, it found itself facing questions over the failure to make arrests in these raids. The government was also attacked from within the ruling left-wing Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) by a faction loyal to former president Evo Morales (2006-2019), which accused Arce of seeking to taint Morales by creating the impression of worsening drug trafficking in the coca leader’s home province of Chapare.

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