Bolivia to Build Cities to Protect Borders

LA PAZ – A Bolivian government official proposed in an interview published Sunday to build “border cities” to improve security and reduce criminal activity in those regions, instead of fostering a military or police presence aimed at doing that.

The government will work to build up borders it feels are “weak and unguarded,” Ademaf development agency chief Juan Ramon Quintana told the La Razon newspaper.

“Our borders each day are becoming more vulnerable areas for the state’s security,” Quintana said.

President Evo Morales’s administration will push for the creation of “border cities” that will help fight against “illegitimate activities,” including smuggling and drug trafficking, Quintana said.

That does not mean the creation of “human settlements” in all regions, since in some of them “intensive capital” would have to be invested to industrialize them, Quintana said.

“The problem of the borders will not be resolved by military or police coverage … The only sustainable policy over time and which will allow the sovereignty, institutions and borders of the state to be guaranteed is economic activity,” the development agency chief said.

Morales created Ademaf on June 4 because, Quintana said, “the border is the farthest corner of the homeland and, therefore, the last beneficiary of state forces.”

Bolivia borders Brazil on its north and east, Argentina and Paraguay to its south and Chile and Peru to the west.

Quintana was considered the “strong man” of Morales’s first administration from 2006 to 2009, and he became the target of criticism for his actions, both by the opposition as well as by some union and social sectors that support the leftist government.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune

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