DRUGS/BOLIVIA: PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION BY MARCO CAPPATO, MEP, TRP MEMBER, ON THE DESTITUTION OF BOLIVIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN EVO MORALES AYMA LEADER OF THE COCALEROS
Brussels, Thursday, 31 January 2002. Mr. Marco Cappato, MEP of the Lista Bonino, and TRP member, tabled today a written parliamentary question to the European Commission on the case of Bolivian MP Mr. Evo Morales Ayma, leader of the Cocaleros.
On 23 January 2002, the Congress of the Bolivian Republic decided to destitute MP Evo Morales Ayma - coordinator of the organization "Six Federations of coca growing peasants" - and to strip him of his parliamentary immunity. Mr. Morales Ayma is accused of being the "moral author " of several demonstrations that took place in the municipality of Cochabamba last 17 and 18 January. On 23 January, Mr. Morales Ayma started a hunger strike calling on the Government to repeal a decree that prohibits the licit sale of coca leaves that in Bolivia is part of the Traditional culture.
During the last few years, the aggressive policies of crop eradication carried out by the Bolivian Government, under the auspices of the International Community and with the financial support of the EU, have caused violent clashes between the police and the campesinos, and provoked the death of more than 40 people including women and children in an escalation of violence within Bolivian society.
In his written question on Mr. Morales Ayma, Mr. Cappato urges the Commission to ask for an official clarification on the matter from the Bolivian Embassy to the EU and to review its alternative development programmes in that region in order to evaluate their cost effectiveness and the concrete consequences of crop eradication projects on the everyday life of Bolivians.