Bolivia

Bolivian coca eradication effort 'making history'; Officials say country could be first to halt illicit drug production

PRIMERO DE MAYO, Bolivia -- Ever since drought drove his family from a rocky cornfield high in the Andes 15 years ago, Espinosa Leon has been chopping down tropical rain forest to grow coca bushes, which produce cocaine. Now, at 38, Leon finds himself at another crossroads.

"The army is coming any day to destroy my last coca," said Leon, who had already slashed three-quarters of his crop in recent months in exchange for aid from United Nations technicians forming a forestry project here. "I don't have to like it, but coca has no future."

For the past decade, Leon's turnaround would have been the rare exception in Bolivia, a country that has been a sponge...

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