This article appeared in the
November 10, 1995 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Andean Coca Council:
drugs and subversion
Name of group: Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers (CAPHC);
Andean Coca Council.
General headquarters and important fronts: Bolivia:
Chapare region, La Paz. Peru: coca-producing valleys in the
Founding: early 1990s.
Locations of operations, areas active: Main base of
operations is the Chapare region and the adjacent Esiboro-Secure
National Park, in Bolivia, but it is spreading to other coca-producing
valleys of Bolivia and Peru: La Convención (Cusco), Apurimac and
Ene (Ayacucho, Junín, Cusco), Pichis Palcazu (Huanuco), Ucayali
(Ucayali), Alto Huallaga (San Martín, Huanuco), Maranon (La
Libertad, Huanuco, San Martín), and Mayo (San Martín). Also,
along the border area are the coca valleys of Tambopata (Sandia,
Puno) and the Manu National Park.
The Peruvian and Bolivian coca valleys form a nearly continuous
corridor along the eastern slope of the Andes, surrounded by
ecological reserves: the Esiboro-Secure National Park in
Bolivia; the Tambopata Candamo Reserve, Manu National Park, and
Pampas del Heath National Reserve in Peru.
The CAPHC also includes coca groups from Brazil, Colombia, and
Ecuador. Their coordinating meetings have been held in Bolivia,
Peru, and Colombia.
Major terrorist actions:
August 1994: CAPHC leader Evo Morales organized a march with
thousands of coca-farmers from Villa Tunari (Chapare) to the
capital of Bolivia, La Paz, to protest the coca eradication
efforts, assisted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration, known as Operation New Dawn, in the Chapare,
Cochabamba. The march ended violently, and Morales was
arrested and charged by the authorities with encouraging the
formation of a paramilitary guards with funds from non-governmental
April 18, 1995: The Bolivian government arrested 24 members
of CAPHC, including Evo Morales, and declared the country
under a state of siege to halt the "seditious subversive
escalation." One day earlier, the government had used force
to control a secessionist movement in the department of
Tarija, arresting five leaders of that movement. The
department created an "independent provisional government."
On April 18, five departments joined Tarija.
April 23, 1995. Serious confrontations in Chapare, when the
coca-farmers tried to stop coca-eradication efforts.
July 22, 1995: More confrontations between coca-farmers and
anti-drug forces in the Esiboro-Secure National Park. Evo
Morales was arrested. Two months later, Morales—now free—announced
that he has gone into hiding.
Modus operandi: The CAPHC in a coalition of coca-farmers'
unions and federations, funded and controlled by a network of
NGOs and extreme-left political parties. In Bolivia, the
unifying feature is the active resistance to eradication of
illegal coca crops. They organize regional strikes, highway
blockages, marches, and confrontations with anti-drug forces. In
Peru, the eradication programs have not yet begun, so that all
the CAPHC forces are dedicated to supporting Morales.
The coca-farmer federations are organized by valley, generally
unifying coca-farmers in each village. There are valleys where
the major agricultural activity is coca-growing, such that the
agrarian federations are run by the coca-farmers. In the case of
Peru, there are "peasant self-defense" groups in each valley,
initially armed and organized by the Army to fight the Shining
Path, which in some cases (e.g., the Apurimac Valley) are
largely made up of coca-growers. The CAPHC is trying to attract
all of these self-defense groups to its cause.
The leadership is constantly traveling through the Andean
countries, the United States, and Europe.
Leaders' names and aliases: Nearly the entire leadership
of CAPHC was arrested for "sedition" by Bolivian authorities in
Copacabana, Bolivia, when they met on April 18, 1995. The
majority have been released. They include:
Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia, president; Genaro Cahuana Serna, Peru,
Peruvians: Hugo Cabieses Cubas, economist; Ricardo
Soberón García, lawyer; Roger Rumrrill, journalist; Baldomero
Caceres Santa María, psychologist; Alberto Quintanilla Chacón,
former United Left congressman; Antonio Moreno Vargas, general
secretary of the Peruvian Peasant Federation (CCP); Augusta
Tejada Huallpa, secretary of the CCP; Eliseo Condori,
representative of the Provincial Peasant Federation of Sandia,
Puno; Abel García Luna; Jorge Luis Vásquez Espinoza; Juvenal
Bolivians: Segundo Montevilla; Juan Bautista Quispe;
Maruja Machaca; Dante Lorini; Crisologo Mendoza; Miguel Calisaya
Montalvo; Modesto Condori; Sabino Arroyo.
Others: María Margarita Gonçalvez, Brazil; Lucio Hurtado,
Colombia; Luis Fernando Giraldo Soto, Colombia; Ellen Cross,
Groups allied nationally or internationally:
National: Peruvian Peasant Federation (CCP), linked to
the ultra-leftist Mariátegui Unified Party (PUM); United Left (IU),
founding member of the São Paulo Forum; Pro-Human Rights
Association, linked to the PUM; National Executive Committee of
the Peasant Self-Defense Movements.
International: São Paulo Forum; Society for Endangered
Religious/ideological/ethnic motivating ideology: The
nativist ideology spread among the peasant federations by
institutions like the South American Indian Council, the
American Indigenist Institute, Cultural Survival-USA, and others.
They consider coca a basic ritual element of the Indian religion
of Mother Earth (Pachamama), in which coca is "paid" to the
earth. Thus, defending coca, which they call the "sacred leaf of
the Incas," is defending the indigenous cultural identity
against the "invader" West. They consider the eradication of
coca as "imperialism" and "foreign occupation."
Orin Starn, American anthropologist from Duke University (North
Carolina), primary strategist behind the mobilization of the
Peruvian self-defense groups (rondas campesinas) to
insurrection. In 1991 and 1994, Starn published profiles of
the 4,500 existing self-defense groups nationwide, including
interviews with their leaders.
Roger Rumrrill, Peruvian adviser to CAPHC, propagandist for
the GfBV, linked to Stefano Varese, the indigenist
anthropologist-ideologue and member of the board of
directors of Cultural Survival, whose brother Luis is a
cofounder of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).
Varese worked in the 1970s with Marc Dourojeanni, a World
Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) operative in Peru, to create the
conditions for terrorist warfare in the 1980s.
Carlos Tapia, former Pervian congressman from the United
Left, predicted on April 9, 1995, that the self-defense
groups would head up the "new Peruvian Chiapas."
Virgilio Roel, member of the Institute of Peruvian Studies
(IEP), promoter of the South American Indian Council.
Encourages a "Marxist interpretation" of Peruvian history,
and especially of the "indigenous uprisings." Headed the
mobilization against the 1992 Quincentenary of the
Evangelization of the Americas.
Baldomero Caceres, Peruvian adviser to CAPHC, expelled from
Bolivia. Leading promoter of drug legalization, linked to
the activities of the U.S. Drug Policy Foundation.
Rodrigo Montoya, Peruvian, indigenist anthropologist close
to the MRTA, defends consumption of ayahuasca,
another native hallucinogen.
Max Hernández, Carlos Alberto Seguin, and Moisés Lemlij,
British-trained Peruvian psychiatrists who have profiled the
use of hallucinogens by the Indians, for British
intelligence's Tavistock Institute.
Current number of cadres: Morales claims to have
mobilized 5,000 coca-farmers for his 1994 march; an unknown
number have been arrested in confrontations with anti-drug
forces. In Chapare alone, there are some 50,000 coca-farmers.
In Peru, the targets for recruitment are the 20,000 coca-growing
families in the above-mentioned valleys, and in particular the
240,000 members of some 4,200 armed peasant self-defense groups.
A large number of these are in the coca-growing valleys. CAPHC
has fluid relations with the leaders of these groups.
Training: No information on Bolivia. In Peru, the self-defense
groups in the coca valleys have received training from the
Known drug connections/involvement: Nearly 95% of the
production of the coca-farmers goes to the illegal drug trade,
the rest to "traditional consumption." In Bolivia, the
government has accused Morales of being financed by the drug
traffickers to arm paramilitary guards to protect him.
In Peru, spokesmen for the CAPHC have expressed their intention
to mobilize the self-defense groups in the coca valleys, which
have been infiltrated by the drug trade and have received
weapons from drug traffickers.
Known arms suppliers/routes: Bolivia: No information.
Peru: The 240,000 members of the self-defense groups possess
some 16,500 rifles received from the Armed Forces to fight
Shining Path. These ronderos have bought more weapons
with money from the drug traffickers, particularly in the coca
valleys like Apurimac.
Known political supporters/advocates:
Rigoberta Menchú: In September 1994, the CAPHC announced
that Menchu would present an "urgent action" before the U.N.
Human Rights Commission in defense of the coca leaf, to be
prepared by CAPHC.
Bolivian Workers Federation (COB): In September 1994, they
suspended wage talks with the government, to force the
release of Evo Morales.
Congressmen Gregorio Lanza (Bolivia) and Julio Castro Gómez
(Peru, United Left), toured Europe in April 1994, together
with CAPHC leaders and advisers.
Gustavo Mohme Llona, São Paulo Forum member, congressman,
and director of the daily La República, the main
mouthpiece for the CAPHC.
Ricardo Soberón Garrido, CAPHC adviser expelled from
Bolivia, member of the Andean Commission of Jurists,
correspondent for Human Rights Watch/Americas.
Javier Diez Canseco, member of the editorial board of São
Paulo Forum magazine América Libre, former secretary
general of the PUM, three-term congressman, and most
recognized leader of the violent ultra-left.
Antonio Moreno Vargas, of the Peruvian Peasant Federation,
linked to the PUM, also arrested and expelled from Bolivia;
Labor Advisory Council of Peru (CEDAL), an NGO on labor
affairs, one of whose members, Farid Matuk, was convicted of
terrorism for belonging to the MRTA;
Peruvian Forum of International Relations (FOPRI);
Peruvian Center of Social Studies, an NGO on agrarian
Drug Policy Foundation, United States;
Andean Commission of Jurists;
Wenner Gren Foundation.
Financing: The Bolivian government has accused Morales of
being financed by the drug trade and by the NGOs. Among these:
Society for Endangered Peoples, U.S. Drug Policy Foundation.
Thumbnail historical profile: CAPHC inherited the work of
forming peasant federations in the eastern slope of the Andes
since the 1960s. The ultra-left was involved full-time in this
effort, and collaborated with the Peruvian guerrillas in
1962-65. In the 1970s, the work was taken up by local organizers
of Cultural Survival-USA. The majority of the peasant
federations formed joined the Peruvian Peasant Federation (CCP),
linked to the ultra-leftist Mariátegui Unified Party (PUM),
advocates of armed struggle.
In July 1983, a column of Shining Path guerrillas attacked the
offices of a coca-leaf eradication program financed by AID, in
Tingo Maria (Alto Huallaga). Two thousand inhabitants, backed by
Shining Path, defended their right to grow coca. The eradication
program was suspended. In March 1989, sixteen police agents were
assassinated by Shining Path in the occupation of Uchiza (Alto
Huallaga). Shining Path announced in wall paintings throughout
the area: "Stop the eradication of coca crops!"
In the late 1980s, the ultra-leftist Popular Democratic
Unity—the predecessor of the PUM—organized for the separation of
the Alto Huallaga area from the La Libertad region, to create
the San Martín region, with an autonomous regional government.
The main operatives in that were convicted in 1992 for belonging
In the 1990s, they begin to organize the coca-growers, under the
political protection of Hernando de Soto (founder of the Liberty
and Democracy Institute, ILD, financed by Oliver North's
National Endowment for Democracy, and the primary promoter of
the theories of the Mont Pelerin Society in Peru), and of Gen.
Alberto Arciniega Huby, then head of the Huallaga military
front, who sponsored the formation of coca-grower cooperatives,
supposedly to "break" the narco-terrorist alliance and to put
the State on the side of the coca-growers.
CAPHC began to organize the "legal" coca-growers in the
traditional cultivation areas. As the valleys gradually began to
turn to coca-growing, the peasant federations began to join the
CAPHC, the majority of them illegal. In 1992, a group of CAPHC
advisers toured the United States to promote legalization of the