United States Supports Bolivia's "Plan Dignidad"

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman September 29, 2000 STATEMENT BY RICHARD BOUCHER, SPOKESMAN UNITED STATES SUPPORT FOR BOLIVIA The United States and the international community fully support Bolivian President Banzer's Plan Dignidad to rid the country of illegal coca. As President Clinton told President Banzer in New York, the United States has matched word with deed in this support. We have a considerable assistance package for Bolivia in the next year, much of which will go to alternative development and to benefit the rural poor. In addition, over the course of the last decade (1991-1999), the United States has forgiven nearly $450 million of Bolivian official debt under various reduction programs. The United States also provides in excess of $40 million annually in counter-narcotics assistance for Bolivia, and an additional $110 million is earmarked for this purpose out of the recent supplemental appropriation for Colombia and the region. We will continue to work in international fora to garner even more support and assistance for Bolivia. In that regard, the debt reduction process is well underway in Bolivia and the Government of Bolivia has launched discussions at the grass roots level on what can be done to alleviate poverty. We believe that these are responsible actions on the part of the Banzer Government, which is intent upon ridding Bolivia of illegal coca and attracting foreign investment in order to generate jobs. For these reasons, we believe both the demands and violent tactics of the coca growers are destructive to Bolivia's national interests. We share and fully support President Banzer's call for communication and reconciliation and urge all Bolivians to take heed of the plea by 10,000 women in Cochabamba for peace, dialogue and cooperation in achieving a brighter future for all Bolivians.