The leader of the Bolivian Senate, Andrónico Rodríguez, who took office as interim president this Monday, in the absence of the president, Luis Arce, and his vice president, David Choquehuanca, due to commitments abroad, spoke about the conflict between coca growers in the department of La Paz, who faced each other again on this day.
“I firmly believe that dialogue is the best way to resolve conflicts and difficulties that may arise. In this context, we believe that the demands of the coca leaf producing brothers of Los Yungas must be heard,” he wrote in his Twitter account. Twitter.
I firmly believe that dialogue is the best way to resolve conflicts and difficulties that may arise. In this framework, we believe that the demands of the coca leaf producing brothers of the Yungas must be heard… (1/4)
— Andronico Rodriguez (@AndronicoRod) September 20, 2022
“We call for unity and invite you to build the path of a definitive solution that allows us to direct the existence of a single market and a single directive; for this, the firm will and good faith of the directives in question is of vital importance. “said Rodríguez in a series of tweets, who is also one of the leaders of the Six Cochabamba Tropic Coca Growing Federations.
Pedradas in the center of La Paz
This Monday, the two sectors of coca growers that are vying for the leadership of the Departmental Association of Coca Producers (Adepcoca) carried out separate marches to the center of the city of La Paz, where they finally crossed paths and clashed with stones, while the Police tried to disperse them with tear gas.
The conflict between the coca growers has been going on since September 2021, when in a disputed assembly a group elected Arnold Alanes as leader of Adepcoca, who later received the government’s endorsement, and after several disputes opened the so-called “parallel market” in a neighboring neighborhood. to traditional.
The other sector is led by Freddy Machicado, who has been in preventive detention since last week, after a group of his associates took over the facilities of the parallel market and destroyed them, amid clashes with coca growers from Alanes.
ultimatum vs. dialogue
The traditional Adepcoca sector claims what is established by Bolivian regulations regarding the existence of two legal markets for the sale of coca leaves, one in Sacaba, in the department of Cochabamba, and the other in Villa Fátima, in the north of the city. peace.
“The Government has the constitutional and moral obligation not to deal with illegality, as happens with autos chutos (vehicles that are stolen) and other sectors of society, only in this way will we build a better country, we must all respect the laws in force, nobody is above the law, Nobody!!!”, said Rodríguez, a bit in line with what the coca growers of Machicado demand.
However, Alanes gave the government an ultimatum on Monday that “if in fifteen days” they do not have “answers” about the legalization of the parallel market, they will not “rule out pressure measures.”
The president of the Senate, in yet another attempt by the government to promote dialogue between the parties, pointed out that “any form of confrontation between Bolivian brothers, even more so between fellow coca growers, must be prevented.”
But the Machicado sector believes that behind the conflict over Adepcoca are coca growers from the Cochabamba Tropics, an official stronghold.