The domestic and international impacts of the production, trade and use of coca in Bolivia have reached monumental proportions, as have the national and international efforts to suppress the country's drug trade. This book describes Bolivia's coca boom, the development of its cocaine industry, and the catastrophic consequences of both. Painter explains how coca and cocaine are inextricably linked to Bolivia's long-term development problems, its internal political dynamics, the incipient militarization of its society, and a frantic search, at all levels of society, for a solution to the underlying problems of poverty. Considering the implications of various policies designed to curb the drug trade, he focuses on the "alternative development" approach proposed to reduce coca-crop production. Although the final results of alternative development remain to be seen, the author is not optimistic that its success would materially alter Bolivian coca production.
Nevertheless, he concludes that even if a successful policy were to have little effect on the availability of cocaine, at least policymakers who favour alternative development would be left with the honourable objective of helping poor farmers in their efforts to escape poverty - the reason why most of them started growing coca in the first place.
Publisher: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc