Organization of American States ..............................News Release


February 5, 1998

Bolivia's new ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Marlene Fernández, said on Wednesday that her government is determined to rid the country of drug trafficking within four years. It is anticipated that all illegal coca crops will be eradicated by the year 2002.

The ambassador's maiden presentation in the OAS Permanent Council outlined her country's position that an alternative development engaging the private sector as well, would be vital to ending the scourge. "Putting an end to the grave drug trafficking problem is, without a doubt, a top priority on Bolivia's agenda," maintained Ambassador Fernández, reiterating President Hugo Banzer's proposal for a hemisphere-wide alliance to wage war on illegal drug- trafficking and related crimes.

She also made mention of Bolivia's problem as a landlocked country, and stated the Banzer administration's desire to take a rational approach to the question. Creative ways had to be found by freely engaging the consciousness of the Americas. "We will accomplish this without the burden of passion, but with the conviction nonetheless that our claim for free and sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean to be restored is a legitimate and undeniable claim."

The ambassador called on OAS member countries that had not yet done so to ratify the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and stated that her government supported the OAS efforts to bring the summits processes together, based on the example of the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Summit, held in Bolivia. "No organization is in a better position than the OAS to ensure a more effective multilateral approach to regional policies and to make these institutional processes solid," she explained.

The new Bolivian permanent representative, who was warmly welcomed by her colleagues in the Permanent Council, worked as a journalist with the Spanish section of the American television network CNN.

<--Press Releases