All posts by ukbolivia

¿En defensa de la hoja de coca? The anti-drugs policies of Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo

Stacey Dunlea

Postgraduate Researcher

University of Sheffield

Joint presentation with the Institute of Latin American Studies

Friday 9 May at 18:00 for18:30

This paper explores recent developments relating to coca leaf cultivation and cocaine production in Bolivia, and in particular counter-narcotics measures under the MAS administration.

The 2005 election of the Movimiento al Socialismo’s  Evo Morales, a former coca farmer and leader of a coca growers’ trade union, as president of Bolivia led to some speculation that the country would break completely with a US-backed coca eradication programme. Despite the fact that the coca leaf, which plays a significant part in autochthonous Andean culture, is not the same as the synthetic drug cocaine, some commentators greeted Morales’s promises to defend the coca leaf and its growers as a sign that cocaine production in Bolivia would increase.

This paper explores counter-narcotics measures employed by Morales and the MAS, and the extent to which they have altered the controversial forced eradication policies pursued by previous governments. The paper asks if the actions of the MAS administration can truly be considered a challenge to the ‘War on Drugs’, and a part of the alternative strategies emerging elsewhere in Latin American, such as Uruguay’s recent decision to legalise the limited sale of marijuana. The paper is a longer version of one that will be presented at SLAS 2014, the Society for Latin American Studies’ annual conference. The version presented at SLAS 2014 will be kindly sponsored by the Anglo-Bolivian Society.

The making of a transnational community: Bolivian ex-miners’ migration strategies

Dr. Tanja Bastia
Lecturer in Urban Development
University of Manchester
Wednesday 26 March at 18:00
Joint presentation with the
Institute of Latin American Studies
Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

The history of Bolivian geographic mobility represents a fascinating case study from which to better understand global processes of migration and the consequences that migration has for migrants and their communities of origin. This talk will present findings from a group of Bolivian ex-miners, who migrated within Bolivia from the mining town to Cochabamba and from there to Buenos Aires and various cities in Spain. Spanning at least two decades, the life stories and survey data collected for this research project also tells the story of the making (and the un-making) of a transnational community. Of particular interest are the findings related to gender relations and the extent to which these have changed through these processes of internal, regional and global migration.
* Image: Bolivian immigrants in Plaza Kantuta in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from the documentary “Un día más: ¿Cuánto esperarías antes de volver?”, directed by Sergio Estrada, Donald Ranvaud and Leonardo de la Torre Ávila.