This week, the U.N. reported that coca cultivation in Bolivia fell nine percent last year, and a massive 26 percent in the past three years.

Two mid-altitude regions – Yungas de La Paz and the Cochabamba Tropics – account for nearly all cultivation in Bolivia and both areas saw significant reductions in 2013. Remarkably, illegal cultivation in Bolivia’s national parks was cut in half, to only one thousand hectares.

The nationwide decrease, to an area of only 23,00 hectares, or 12 miles, is widely regarded as a laudable achievement, but overlooked is the fact that Bolivia’s success has come on its own terms – not Washington’s – and with vital cooperation from many of the country’s small coca farmers.

“Bolivia reduced the crop through eradication efforts, but also with the participation of coca growers and farmers,”Antonino de Leo, U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime’s representative in Bolivia, told IPS.

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