• Short Summary

    The people of the Bolivian capital of La Paz were treated to an unusual spectacle on Saturday, (October 7).

  • Description

    The people of the Bolivian capital of La Paz were treated to an unusual spectacle on Saturday, (October 7). A bonfire was lighted in the square in front of St. Francis' Cathedral to destroy over 300 kilograms (650 pounds) of cocaine. The confiscated drugs had accumulated over a period of more than 30 years of government campaigns against illegal drug trafficking.

    The cocaine was stored in the vaults of the Central Bolivian Bank until Senor Mario Adett Zamora, the interior minister, decided to destroy it in a spectacular symbolic act to demonstrate the Government's determination to defeat drug smuggling. It was thought that an international syndicate--the Mafia has been named--had organised a network to smuggle cocaine, either treated or untreated, out of Boliva to New York where it could be sold to addicts at highly-profitable rates. The Bolivian government was concerned to stop this trade and rid its own youth of the dangers of cocaine addiction.

    SYNOPSIS: In front of the Cathedral of St. Francis in Le Paz on Saturday, hundreds of Beliviane ???thered for a ??? ???.

    The Government had ordered the destruction of a large quantity of confiscated cocaine. Over six-hundred and fifty pounds in weight of the drug was brought from the vaults of a bank where it had been stored for security. It accumulated during more than thirty years of government campaigning against drug trafficking.

    The bonfire was the idea of Senor Mario Adett Zamora, the Minister of the Interior. He thought it would be a spectacular symbol of the government's determination to crack down on drug traffickers who are tempted by the high prices cocaine can fetch in cities like New York.

    In a campaign against the illegal drug trade Bolivians have been reminded of the penalties that can be imposed. Three year jail sentences await anyone caught processing or handling cocaine in any form. The Government is determined to stop international trafficking from Bolivia, and eliminate the danger of addiction among young people at home.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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