Cocaleros and Their Citizenship: a Comparative Analysis Between Putumayo (Colombia) and El Chapare (Bolivia)

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Cocaleros and Their Citizenship: a Comparative Analysis Between Putumayo (Colombia) and El Chapare (Bolivia)

Master’s Thesis

Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA)

Student Name: Albert Kobus (13496247) Supervisor: Prof. C.G. Koonings

Universiteit van Amsterdam Faculty of Humanities

Amsterdam, 2021



I believe the feeling when acquiring new knowledge and skills is one of the most precious things life has to offer. For this reason, I started the master’s degree in Latin American Studies a year ago and I am more than grateful that I am now about to complete it. It was not necessarily easy, having a background in geography and having worked in different areas than science in the past 12 years, it was a challenge to get on track with this research. For this reason, I would like to thank Prof. Dr. C.G. Koonings, who guided me through this process and whose suggestions have been extremely helpful to complete this research successfully. I would also like to thank Myriam Rojas, who recently obtained the grade of PhD, and as such, provided me with lots of suggestions to perform this research successfully. Being from the south of Colombia, she also connected me to several people and organizations in the field, which resulted very important. Another thanks goes to my wife Lumieke. She gave me the space perform this research in many weekends and evenings. I hope that in the future, my drive and curiosity will be an inspiration for our two daughters, Olivia and Charlotte.



This research focuses on coca and provides a comparative analysis regarding the citizenship of cocaleros in two Latin American regions, i.e., Putumayo in Colombia and El Chapare in Bolivia. In Colombia, the cocaleros have been living on the state margins until nowadays and, as a result, this population is criminalized and stigmatized, leading to (state) violence and limited citizenship. When citizenship is limited and when cocaleros are on the state margins, acts of transgressive citizenship, i.e., acts of civil disobedience can be expected. In Bolivia, the same repressive regime applied as in Colombia until 2005, when ex coca-grower Evo Morales, representing the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) became the country’s president. Being an ex-inhabitant of El Chapare, he realized a significant political power for the cocaleros from this region, thereby leaving the margins of the state. This important step improved their citizenship significantly. Due to the recent political unrest in the country and an interim government that did not serve the interests of the cocaleros, the trust in the government was lost in El Chapare. Luís Arce, installed only recently and also from MAS, should try to regain this trust. Overall, despite the recent political unrest, the case of El Chapare could be used as an example by Colombian policymakers, since violence levels in El Chapare are relatively low and citizenship of cocaleros seems to be guaranteed. Colombian policymakers could use Bolivia as an example but need obviously to be aware of differences in local contexts. It could be useful to focus on these local contexts to implement more 'citizenship friendly alternatives' in Colombia.

Key words:

Coca, El Chapare, Putumayo, State Margins, Violence, Insurgent Citizenship, Transgressive Citizenship


Esta investigación se centra en los cultivos de coca y proporciona un análisis comparativo sobre la ciudadanía de los cocaleros en dos regiones de América Latina, es decir, el Putumayo en Colombia y El Chapare en Bolivia. En Colombia, los cocaleros han estado viviendo en los márgenes del estado hasta el día de hoy y, como resultado, esta población es criminalizada y estigmatizada, lo que lleva a la violencia (estatal) y la ciudadanía limitada. Cuando la ciudadanía es limitada y los cocaleros están al margen del estado, se pueden esperar actos de ciudadanía transgresora, es decir, actos de desobediencia civil.

En Bolivia, se aplicó el mismo regimen represivo que en Colombia hasta el 2005, cuando el ex cocalero Evo Morales, representante del Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) se convirtió en presidente del país. Siendo un ex habitante de El Chapare, se dio cuenta de un poder


político significativo para los cocaleros de esta región, dejando así la marginalidad del estado. Este importante paso mejoró significativamente la ciudadanía de los cocaleros.

Debido a los recientes disturbios políticos en el país y un gobierno interino que no servía a los intereses de los cocaleros, en El Chapare se perdió la confianza en el gobierno. Luís Arce, instalado recientemente y también miembro de MAS, debe intentar recuperar esta confianza. En general, a pesar de los recientes disturbios políticos, el caso de El Chapare podría ser utilizado como ejemplo por los políticos colombianos, ya que los niveles de violencia en El Chapare son relativamente bajos y la ciudadanía de los cocaleros parece estar garantizada. Los legisladores colombianos podrían tener en cuenta a Bolivia como un buen ejemplo, pero obviamente considernado las diferencias de los contextos locales.

Ademas, podría ser útil centrarse en estos contextos locales para implementar más 'alternativas favorables a la ciudadanía' en Colombia.

Palabras Claves:

Coca, El Chapare, Putumayo, Márgenes estatales, Violencia, Ciudadanía insurgente, Ciudadanía transgresora


Dit onderzoek richt zich op coca en biedt een vergelijkende analyse van het burgerschap van cocaleros in twee Latijns-Amerikaanse regio's, namelijk Putumayo in Colombia en El Chapare in Bolivia. In Colombia leefden de cocaleros tot op de dag van vandaag in de marges van de samenleving als gevolg daarvan wordt deze bevolkingsgroep gecriminaliseerd en gestigmatiseerd, wat leidt tot (staats)geweld en beperkt burgerschap.

Wanneer het staatsburgerschap beperkt is en wanneer cocaleros zich in de marge van de samenleving bevinden, kunnen daden van grensoverschrijdend burgerschap, d.w.z. daden van burgerlijke ongehoorzaamheid, worden verwacht. In Bolivia gold tot 2005 hetzelfde repressieve regime als in Colombia, toen ex-cocateler Evo Morales, vertegenwoordiger van de Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), president van het land werd. Als ex-bewoner van El Chapare realiseerde hij een aanzienlijke politieke macht voor de cocaleros uit deze regio, waardoor deze groep de marge van de samenleving kon verlaten. Deze belangrijke stap verbeterde hun burgerschap aanzienlijk. Door de recente politieke onrust in het land en een interim-regering die de belangen van de cocaleros niet diende, is het vertrouwen in de regering in El Chapare verloren gegaan. Luís Arce, pas onlangs geïnstalleerd en ook van MAS, moet proberen dit vertrouwen terug te winnen. Ondanks de recente politieke onrust kan de casus van El Chapare in het algemeen als voorbeeld worden gebruikt door Colombiaanse beleidsmakers, aangezien de cijfers van geweld in El Chapare relatief laag zijn en het staatsburgerschap van cocaleros gegarandeerd lijkt. Colombiaanse


beleidsmakers zouden Bolivia als voorbeeld kunnen nemen, maar moet zich uiteraard bewust zijn van verschillen in lokale contexten. Het kan nuttig zijn om op deze lokale contexten te focussen om meer 'burgervriendelijke alternatieven' in Colombia te implementeren.


Coca, El Chapare, Putumayo, Marges van de staat, Geweld, Opstandig burgerschap, Grensoverschrijdend burgerschap


Table of Contents

List of Figures ... 8

List of Abbreviations ... 9

1. Introduction ...10

1.1 General ...10

1.2 Problem Statement ...11

1.3 Research Questions ...13

1.4 Theory ...13

1.5 Methods ...14

1.6 Document Structure...16

2. Life on the state’s margins: the lens of citizenship for understanding cocaleros’ realities ...18

2.1 The state and its margins ...18

2.2 Violence and security on the margins and the impact on citizenship ...20

2.3 Basic theories of citizenship ...22

2.4 Insurgent citizenship ...26

2.5 Transgressive citizenship ...29

2.6 Conceptualizing cocaleros’ realities: transgressive citizenship on the state’s margins . ...30

3. Coca as a livelihood for coca farmers in Putumayo and El Chapare...32

3.1 caCoca as a product ...32

3.2 Putumayo: from a remote and empty place occupied by colonos to a coca dominated department ...33

3.3 El Chapare: from recent colonization to an established coca region ...34

4. Putumayo and its turbulent relationship with the Colombian state and other actors ...37

4.1 The arrival of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) to the Colombian Amazon ...37

4.2 Putumayo’s acquaintance with drug traffickers and paramilitary groups...38

4.3 From (state) violence to the 1996 cocalero movement: showing the other side of the coin ...39

4.4 From counterinsurgency under Plan Colombia to PNIS as part of the peace deal with FARC ...42

4.5 The post-FARC era: the risk of a lethal power vacuum ...44

4.6 Contemporary social movements and acts of transgressive citizenship ...45


5. The relation between cocaleros in El Chapare, the Bolivian state, and other actors ...53 5.1 The National Revolution of 1952: the start of the widespread social mobilization in

Bolivia ...53 5.2 Coca unions and syndicates as a response to an absent and repressive state ...54 5.3 From establishing MAS to winning national elections: a victory for the cocaleros from El Chapare ...57 5.4 The introduction of the cato system ...58 5.5 From Morales to Añez to Arce: a temporary return of the theory of the margins with

transgressive citizenship...60 6. Conclusion: a comparative analysis of Putumayo and El Chapare using a

citizenship perspective ...63 6.1 Coca as a livelihood strategy for cocaleros and their relation with the state ...63 6.2 Cocaleros’ social movements and state responses: strategies of transgressive

citizenship ...66 6.3 Further research and policy implications ...68 References ...70


List of Figures

Figure number

Figure Title Page

Number 1 Fragment of Moviccaap’s letter to the national and

international community in February 2021


2 Fragment of Moviccaap’s letter to the national and international community in February 2021 (second part)


3 Call for a March in Putumayo in April 2021: ‘We reject aerial fumigation with glyphosate in the Amazon


4 Cocaleros (not visible) blocking the road between Campo Alegre and El Tigre in Valle del Guamuez in Putumayo


5 Cocaleras requesting recognition after the massacre of November 12, 2019



List of Abbreviations

AND Acción Democrática Nacionalista

ASP Asamblea por la Soberanía de los Pueblos

BC Before Christ

COB Central Obrera Boliviana

CSUTCB Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia FARC Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia

FETCTC Federación Especial de Trabajadores Campesinos del Trópico de Cochabamba

GDP Gross Domestic Product

IPSP Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos MAS Movimiento al Socialismo

MDS Movimiento Demócrata Social

MNR Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario

Moviccaap Movimiento campesino cocalero agrario y ambiental del departamento

OAS Organization of American States

PNIS Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos Ilícitos

UDESTRO Unidad de Desarrollo Económico y Social del Trópico de Cochabamba

UN United Nations

US United States

UvA Universiteit van Amsterdam WHO World Health Organization


1. Introduction

1.1 General

The production of coca is the largest illegal agribusiness in the world, with the Latin American countries Colombia and Bolivia being two of the three main producers.

Coca producers (cocaleros) in these countries have historically had a precarious position in their societies due to the means and policies to eradicate or control the production of coca. Colombia historically uses a repressive approach with aerial fumigation as a known example. This repressive approach in Colombia leads to the criminalization of cocaleros, which impacts the subjectivity and arbitrariness towards this group of citizens in general. Bolivia, having the strongest coca consumption culture in Latin America, followed the same approach in the last decades of the previous century, but chose a different approach with the shift from the neoliberal economic model to a socialist model of indigenous citizenship in 2005 under the regime of former coca grower Evo Morales. The former president chose a strategy with positive effects on the environment and human rights by permitting limited coca production, thereby prohibiting the production of cocaine. Morales' policy consisted mainly of titling land to coca-growing families with so-called catos (Grisaffi and Ledebur, 2016).

Morales chose an approach with an emphasis on human and citizenship rights. In the Colombian case, this angle of approach was never explicitly chosen as the main focus point by policymakers. In this master’s thesis, I present a comparative analysis of the citizenship of cocaleros in Colombia (Putumayo) and Bolivia (El Chapare). This analysis will demonstrate the different outcomes regarding citizenship for cocaleros in both countries in the different political, institutional, and economic contexts. The specific regions of Putumayo and El Chapare were chosen because of the rich history of coca production and because of the relative richness of scholarly literature about these areas.

This research is academically relevant since relatively little research has been carried out on the citizenship of cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare in the contemporary institutional context. In Putumayo, extensive research was carried out when the FARC was active (i.e., before the peace deal in 2016). However, in the contemporary setting, research on the citizenship of cocaleros is still relatively limited. Regarding El Chapare, a significant amount of research was carried out on


the citizenship of cocaleros until and including the presidency of Evo Morales, but little empirical research has been performed on the period after Morales.

From a societal perspective, besides the fact that this comparative analysis could support the process of policymaking regarding coca, it could also aid in demonstrating that repressive policies are not a sustainable solution for controlling the production of coca. By focusing on the Bolivian case of El Chapare, where a 'community-based control strategy' substituted repressive policies, the research might aid in the argumentation that the 'war on drugs harms the citizenship of cocaleros and that the Bolivian approach is a more successful way to address this issue.

1.2 Problem Statement

The first archaeological evidence of the cultivation and consumption of coca dates from around 2000 BC and was found in the Andean region of Ecuador. Historically, but also nowadays, the coca leaf is chewed and used for purposes such as the production of tea blends to achieve stimulating effects, such as the relief of hunger and fatigue, enhancing physical performance, and against altitude sickness (Plowman, 1984).

Fourteen different alkaloids have been isolated from the coca leaf (Burchard, 1975).

The benzoylmethylecgonine alkaloid, commonly known as cocaine, makes up around 0.1 to 0.8 percent of its weight (Burchard, 1975). This alkaloid became increasingly popular as a recreational drug in the United States in the 1970s. When policymakers became aware of the rising addiction rates and the (ab)use of cocaine, their policies started to focus on the supply side, leading to repressive policies regarding the cultivation of coca in Latin America. These policies were framed as the 'war on drugs’ and contributed to the stigmatization and precarious societal position of cocaleros in Colombia and Bolivia.

The ‘war on drugs’ brought a tremendous amount of violence to the Latin American continent. Since the introduction of this philosophy and its financial funding by the US, the Colombian and Bolivian governments had the intention to eradicate coca as much as possible. In order to do so, aerial fumigation of the coca crops has been a widely used method. However, the use of this method is highly controversial due to its socio-environmental impact on local communities (Grisaffi and Ledebur, 2016).

In addition to this violence by the state, cocaleros have been targeted by criminal


organizations. These organizations had the primary objectives to benefit from the coca revenues.

Due to their precarious societal position, cocaleros have historically organized themselves in social movements in both countries. The objectives of these movements were to request attention for their citizenship status. In their demonstrations, these movements typically opted for solutions in collaboration with the state, such as state investments in alternative development, instead of repressive strategies which, from the perspective of cocaleros, do not offer a sustainable or long term solution to control the cultivation of coca (Grisaffi and Ledebur, 2016; Clemencia Ramírez & Klatt, 2005).

In the case of Putumayo, the efforts of the social movements certainly contributed to more recognition of the cocaleros’ societal position, but a sustainable and long- term solution serving the interests of both the government and the cocaleros was never successfully implemented. In all the governmental policies until today, there has been an element of repression to control and eradicate coca.

Bolivia also applied such repressive strategies in the previous century under Hugo Banzer, a former military and member of the right-wing party Acción Democrática Nacionalista (ADN). With a history and foundation of social movements, the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) managed to win national elections in 2005. With roots in El Chapare region, this political party proposed a new economic model of socialism combined with indigenous citizenship instead of neoliberalism. In this context, the new president Evo Morales implemented the so-called cato. Within this system, the Bolivian government forced coca producers to authorize themselves with a biometric registry. Furthermore, the state monitors the registration and recurring measurement of each cato of coca. The state also monitors coca cultivation and traces coca leaf transport and sales. In order to restrict coca cultivation to the one cato limit, the community is empowered to self-police, which includes training for union representatives on database use and community joint action to monitor and restrict coca planting. This model has proven to be more effective in reducing coca acreage than police and military repression and has extended social and civil rights in previously peripheral regions. This was also due to the government investing in roads, schools, and health posts to bring the region into the economic and social mainstream (Grisaffi and Ledebur, 2016).


Due to the different political and institutional arrangements in both countries, both cases can be examined using the analytical concept of citizenship as an angle of approach. This approach is relevant, as the citizenship of cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare is impacted differently within both regions' political, institutional, and economic contexts.

1.3 Research Questions

Based on the above, I will perform a comparative analysis between Putumayo and El Chapare with a citizenship perspective, using the following research question:

How has the citizenship of cocaleros in Putumayo (Colombia) and El Chapare (Bolivia) been affected by their livelihood, their relation to the state, and their relation to social movements?

I used the following sub-questions:

1. What is coca, and how do cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare incorporate coca in their livelihood strategies?

2. What is the relation between the coca economy, cocaleros in Putumayo / El Chapare, and the Colombian / Bolivian state, respectively?

a. Does the state use repression/violence, and if this is the case, how can this be characterized?

b. Is the cultivation of coca regulated, recognized and/or institutionally incorporated?

c. Do cocaleros have alternatives for rural livelihoods?

3. To what extent are cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare connected to social movements, and what is the agenda and strategy of these movements?

4. What is the response of the state to these movements?

1.4 Theory

I will use the concept of state margins as proposed by Veena Das and Deborah Poole (2004) to understand how the relation between cocaleros and their states has been shaped historically. As will become evident, being on the margins of the state impacts the citizenship of the cocaleros.

The citizenship debate has developed around several schools of thought in the past decade. These schools of thought hinge around the liberal, the communitarian, the


republican, and the neo-republican citizenship theories. More recently, the concept of citizenship is considered dynamic and can also be given meaning by those who do not officially have the status of citizen (Asen, 2004). This is also the central idea of James Holston (2008), who introduced the concept of insurgent citizenship. This concept states that after the emergence of democracy in Brazil, the ‘differentiated’

citizens started to challenge their different status and thus became insurgent citizens, thereby asserting their rights to the legal ownership of property and urban services. He suggests that such struggles are insurgent as they have originated outside of traditional mobilization structures such as political parties and trade unions. Instead, insurgent citizens are connected to grassroots neighborhood organizations and social movements. They have used a mixture of practices to claim rights and basic needs through direct action, such as land occupations, and the utilization of legal processes to proclaim and practice citizen rights. Based on Holston's work, Earle (2009) proposed the notion of transgressive citizenship, arguing that in order to position themselves politically, social movements use transgressive acts of civil disobedience (i.e., acts that are morally, socially, or legally unacceptable) to interact with formal institutional mechanisms successfully.

As can be seen from the above, in addition to the state margins as a concept, I will use the lens of citizenship as an analytical framework in this research in order to understand how the different perceptions of citizenship of cocaleros in both countries have emerged.

1.5 Methods

I conducted this research between February and June 2021. The data gathering took place during the initial stages of the research, i.e., from February 2021 to April 2021, using a number of methods. Considering the historical nature and the extensive research performed on coca as a product and coca as a livelihood strategy for cocaleros in rural areas, a literature study was carried out for this part of the research. In order to develop an understanding of the relation between the coca economy, cocaleros in Putumayo / El Chapare, and the Colombian / Bolivian state, respectively, the same methodological strategy (i.e., literature study) was used, considering the availability of scholarly documentation.

Regarding social movements in both regions and state responses to these movements, reference was made to scholarly literature for the historical movements. However, for contemporary social movements, an approach of digital ethnography was used in combination with semi-structured interviews. The digital


ethnography entailed a number of groups that actively promote their ideas and statements relevant for this research on social media (Facebook). In addition to digital ethnography as a research method for contemporary social movements, seven semi-structured interviews were held with individuals from Colombia and Bolivia representing NGOs, universities, and social movements. A snowball sampling approach was used for performing the interviews since it appeared rather challenging to 'cold approach' individuals in the field on this sensitive subject.

Therefore I expected before starting the research that this approach had the greatest potential to yield positive results.

This research was conducted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This implied that I was not able to conduct any (physical) fieldwork. Considering the relatively short timeframe in which I performed this research, I believe the context of this pandemic limited the number of semi-structured interviews I conducted. As described above, coca is a sensitive subject, particularly in Bolivia, and therefore being in the field would have probably eased the process of performing interviews.

Nevertheless, I did generate a good and valuable amount of empirical data from these interviews and digital ethnography. In general, I believe the set of information gathered for this research is sufficiently valid to provide an answer to the research questions described in Chapter 1.3. However, I realize my positionality would have been different when this research would have been performed in the field.

Considering that this work was carried out with human participants, personal data were collected, which were not shared with other (external) individuals or parties.

To process the data, anonymization, pseudonymization, and encryption were used to enhance the security of the data of the collaborators. The data will be stored on a UvA storage service up to a maximum of 1 year after the research has been conducted.

The participants were selected based on specific individual features (for example, for being academically involved in the subject), and the participants were mentally competent adults (> 16 years old), and they all participated voluntarily. While using the methods specified above, there have been no harmful or disadvantageous effects or chance incidents, and the interviews have not been discomforting for the interviewees.


Before conducting the interviews, an information brochure and an informed consent were used to brief the interviewees about the research and how the data the interviewees were about to share would be protected.

1.6 Document Structure

In Chapter 2 of the thesis, I will develop a theoretical framework based on the concept of state margins. I will link this idea with basic theories of citizenship and two contemporary discourses of citizenship, i.e., insurgent citizenship and transgressive citizenship. In Chapter 3, I will describe the characteristics of coca and how the regions of Putumayo and El Chapare have developed from a historical perspective, and how coca as a product creates a livelihood for cocaleros in these regions.

In Chapter 4, I will demonstrate how coca has historically shaped a relationship between cocaleros in Putumayo, their (violent) state, other (violent) actors, and social movements. I will do so by examining the relationship between the cocaleros and FARC, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers. In this chapter, I will also describe the 1996 cocalero social movement and the aftermath. Furthermore, this chapter will describe how Plan Colombia introduced another wave of repression and violence in the region. Also, this chapter will focus on the peace agreement with FARC and the impact on cocaleros in the region. The chapter will conclude with an overview of contemporary social movements, their political agendas, and the state's responses.

In Chapter 5, I will show how coca has historically shaped a relationship between cocaleros in El Chapare, their (violent) state, other (violent) actors, and social movements. I will do so by examining how the 1952 national revolution in the country created increased social mobility among peasants and the poor. This chapter will also focus on the importance of the coca unions and sindicatos. The chapter will then describe how, given the history of strong social movements in Bolivia, Evo Morales became the country president, representing his political party known as MAS. In this part of the chapter, I will focus on the impact the presidency of Evo Morales had on the citizenship of cocaleros in El Chapare. I will also focus on the change of power to Jeanine Añez's party Movimiento Demócrata Social (MDS) and the most recent change back to MAS with Luís Arce.

Chapter 6 will provide a conclusion by performing a comparative analysis between the citizenship of cocaleros in both places on a more conceptual level. In this


analysis, I will refer to the theoretical framework in order to provide an answer to the research question.


2. Life on the state’s margins: the lens of citizenship for understanding cocaleros’ realities

This chapter discusses the essential theoretical concepts for this research: the margins of the state in relation to violence, insurgent citizenship, and transgressive citizenship. The following paragraphs describe the academic debates around these concepts and theories.

2.1 The state and its margins

As described in the previous chapter, there is a delicate relationship between cocaleros and their states. In order to conceptualize this relationship, it is important to define the characteristics of the state itself. According to Weber (1978, as cited in Das & Poole, 2004), a state is a compulsory political organization with continuous operations where the administrative staff claims to have a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order within a given territorial area. More recently, Parekh (2002, as cited in Axtmann, 2004) gave six characteristics of a successful modern state. First, the state should be territorially distinct, possess a single source of sovereignty, and enjoy legally unlimited authority within its boundary. Second, it should have a single set of constitutional principles and exhibit a singular and unambiguous identity. Third, the state represents a homogeneous legal space within which its members move freely, carrying a more or less identical basket of rights and obligations. Fourth, all citizens are directly and identically related to the state, not differentially or through their membership of intermediate communities. Fifth, members of the state are deemed to constitute a single and united people. Sixth and finally, if the state is federally constituted, its component units should all enjoy the same rights and powers (Parekh, 2002, as cited in Axtmann, 2004, p.263-264).

Axtmann (2004) points out that the pressure on the territorially consolidated, sovereign nation-state has increased in the last decades of the 20th century. He argues that in an increasing number of countries, communities with distinct languages, histories, and traditions request recognition and support for their societal status. They demand differentiated rights, powers, status, or immunities, going beyond the common rights of citizenship. According to Axtmann (2004), the possession and exercise of such rights will ensure the full and free development of the culture and practices of these groups. For these groups, assimilation, i.e., to culturally melt the minority into the dominant culture, is not an option.


The process of assimilation is a crucial element of the argument put forward by Das

& Poole (2004) about state margins. According to Das & Poole (2004), the imagination of the figure of law implies the creation of boundaries between those practices and spaces that were deemed to be part of the state and those that were excluded from the state. On this basis, the ideas of legitimacy and sovereignty arose, giving the state the right to rule and the power to punish within its boundaries without being punished itself. By examining political life using this angle of approach, Das & Poole (2004) imagine a degree of wilderness, lawlessness, and savagery that not only threatens the state from outside its jurisdiction but also from within. When examining threats to the state from outside, the authors add to this that one should imagine a 'state of nature' as the opposite and origin point for the state and the law. It is on this basis that the state’s margins, i.e., the state of nature, 'as located in the space of language and practice where the real spaces or sites that provide impetus to the idea of the state of nature meet the mythical or philosophical origins of the state’ (Das & Poole, 2004, p.8). In this view, the margins of the state are ‘sites where nature can be imaged as wild and uncontrolled and where the state is continuously refounding its modes of order and lawmaking’ (Das

& Poole, 2004:8). These margins are not by definition defined by territorial or geographical boundaries, but are merely ‘sites of practice on which law and other state practices are constantly colonized by other forms of regulation that emanate from the pressing needs of populations to secure political and economic survival’

(Das & Poole, 2004, p.8).

Das & Poole (2004) propose three different approaches around the concept of margins. I argue that the three approaches proposed by Das & Poole (2004) can all be used to conceptualize the cases of cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare. In the first approach, margins are considered peripheries functioning as 'natural containers' for those who are not sufficiently socialized. Under this approach, the state is considered to pacify or manage these populations such that they are transformed into lawful subjects instead of unruly subjects. When defining the state's margins, scholars seek those places where the law is continuously being refounded, either with the use of (state) violence and non-state authority. The first approach can be used since, in both cases, at least historically, there has been a conflictual and violent relationship between the cocaleros and their states. In Putumayo and El Chapare, the states saw the coca cultivating regions as wild and uncontrolled (Clemencia Ramírez, 2011; Grisaffi, 2019), continuously trying to establish modes of order and lawmaking. These attempts, in turn, have repeatedly


been challenged and, to use Das and Poole's terminology, 'colonized' by the inhabitants of these regions, for example, by the use of social movements.

The second approach proposed by Das & Poole (2004) is related to the issues of legibility and illegibility. According to the authors, the modern state is constructed through its writing practices, intended to control the state's subjects, populations, territories, and lives. Based on the ethnographies included in the collection edited by the authors, it can be seen that given the illegibility of the state's own practices, the state is being experienced accordingly in the different forms, spaces, and practices. Examples given are economies of displacement and the falsification of documents, amongst others. The second approach can be also be used in the cases of cocaleros since the dichotomy of legibility and illegibility is of relevance to both locations. For example, in both regions, checkpoints have been used historically to check citizens' identity to enhance (the sense of) security. At these locations, falsification of documents is a likely phenomenon, leading to the 'violent unsettlement of the assumptions about the security of identity and rights' (Das &

Poole, 2004). This then leads to distinct temporal dynamics surrounding people's interaction with the state and state documents (Das & Poole, 2004).

The third approach is about the space between body, law, and discipline, meaning that sovereign power exercised by the state is also about bodies. In this respect, the notion of biopower (Foucault, 1976 and 2003, as cited in Das & Poole, 2004) is used, referring to the state's power regarding the use of politics in biological aspects of the population, such as demographic features and medicine use. By pointing to how this power is spread towards the ‘capillary branches of the social’, the concept of margins is relevant here since it raises the question as to how ‘politics becomes the domain in which life is put into question’. The third approach can be used to conceptualize the controversial method of aerial fumigation. At both locations, biopower has been used historically and can be seen as a way to spread the state's tentacles into the capillary branches of the social.

2.2 Violence and security on the margins and the impact on citizenship

In the previous paragraph, I discussed how the margins of the state can be defined conceptually. In scholarly literature, people living on those margins are central to discourses and practices of violence, security, and citizenship in Latin America (Arias

& Goldstein, 2010; Holston, 2008). The impact of national and public security


practices on citizenship is, in fact, a widely debated topic in Latin America (UNDP, 2012).

Since the democratization of Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been a focus on security in order to reduce levels of violence and to defend the integrity of Latin American democracies (Hurrel, 1998). Based on being a threat to democracy, Latin American governments feel the need to control and 'govern' violence, which makes that the reduction of violence through security practices and policies is generally high on the political agendas. It is undeniable that levels of violence in Latin America are generally high, with homicide rates among the highest in the world. In order to understand these levels of violence on the continent, it has been associated with high levels of inequality in the region (Hoelscher, 2015), rapid urbanization (Clarke, 2006), and with inefficiencies in the system of organized crime and criminal justice (Denyer Willis, 2015). Other contributing factors given are the colonial history (Thomas, 2011, as cited in Campbell, 2019), clientelism (Hilgers, 2012, as cited in Campbell, 2019), and access to firearms ( Campbell & Clarke, 2017, as cited in Campbell, 2019).

As a result of the high incidence of violence on the continent, fear for violence, i.e., for getting involved in shootings, robberies etc., is generally high. This impacts the way people behave in public spaces and on how security is being negotiated. For example, in some countries, it is common to run the traffic light at certain hours.

Also, the investment in the use of gated communities and private security is widespread in Latin America. This fear of crime encourages citizens and makes citizens permissive towards punitive and repressive security policies by the government, having implications for democracy (Campbell, 2019). An example of such security policies is the use of so-called ‘high risk’ areas in Latin American cities, giving security forces of the government far-reaching competencies to maintain law and order in such areas. Campbell (2019) adds to this that, on the one hand, there is the issue of security actors violating or subjecting legal rights to negotiation. On the other hand, there is constant discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and criminalization for those living on the conceptual margins to enjoy full citizenship.

As we saw in the previous paragraph, Putumayo and El Chapare (at least historically) can both be viewed using the concept of the margins of the state. This paragraph followed that marginal spaces are often associated with discourses of security and violence. There is a field of tension between security policies and


citizenship in these geographical areas. Citizenship is a broad and widely debated term, and therefore, in the next paragraph, I will elaborate on this term.

2.3 Basic theories of citizenship

There is increasing interest in using citizenship as a theoretical concept for social and political issues concerning inclusion and exclusion (Steiner et al., 2013, as cited in Campbell, 2019). These issues are a reflection and heritage of modernity, economic liberalism, colonialism, and the socio-economic context in which they occur. Due to several social phenomena, such as modernity, economic liberalism, and the impact of past imperial structures, people’s ability to participate in democratic and social processes is increasingly threatened on a global scale, especially in places where citizenship was previously only available to certain kinds of citizens. Moreover, the combination of globalization, neoliberalism, and modernity has further deepened inequalities, for example, wealth, power, and resource endowment (Campbell, 2019). Since the theoretical term citizenship is increasingly used, it is worthwhile to focus on the different meanings the term can postulate.

When defining the core elements of citizenship, reference is made to the work of Marshall (1964) in much of the relevant scholarly literature. According to this scholar, the three core elements of citizenship are the civil, the political, and the social. Civil rights include rights such as the freedom of speech, the right to own property, and a justice system. Political rights include the right to vote and to participate in the government. Social rights include access to education, health care, etc., and evolved in the period after the Second World War to guarantee a minimum standard of living. Marshall believed that ensuring a basic level of social rights through the welfare state would reduce social inequality, leading to fewer class conflicts within society (Karriem & Benjamin, 2016). Marshall also believed that when all the rights mentioned above would be granted to the state's citizens, 'full citizenship' would be achieved.

Several scholars have proposed the idea of progression with regards to citizenship rights. This idea implies that citizenship rights that were once granted will no longer be taken back by the state. Based on this, Marshall received the critique that his work should be seen as a product of his time (i.e., the 40's of the previous century) and that it does not consider the accumulation of citizenship rights in later decennia.

In addition to this, scholars have argued that the divide between civil, political, and social rights is too rigid and more applicable to the developed world than to the


developing world. In Marshall's defense, his work only focused on England in the post-Second World War period. He never claimed to have developed a framework applicable to other nation-states or other chronological periods (Earle, 2009).

Another critique Marshall received on his work was that it did not consider that social citizenship rights were historically obtained by violent or activist encounters between the society and the state. While this claim is correct, Marshall did acknowledge the tensions involved in the expansion of citizenship. The emergence of trade unions can be seen as an example of such tensions, as these unions sharpened the contrasts between the elite and the working classes. In addition to this, Marshall also demonstrated that expanding social rights, such as a welfare system, can reduce the contrasts between different classes (Earle, 2009).

Until about 1980, there was consensus among scholars about Marshall's three dimensions of citizenship. Citizenship was seen as a question of emancipation: legal, political, and socio-economic participation of all national states (Van Gunsteren, 1998). However, due to some social changes, such as individualization, globalization, secularization, the growing gap between government/politics and the citizen, the changes in traditional relationships between political parties, church organizations, trade unions, the family, and the rise of the ‘calculating citizen’, the discussion about citizenship flared up again around 1980 (Van Gunsteren, 1998;

Stolle & Hooghe, 2004, Isin & Turner, 2002). These changes led to discussions in society and among scholars about a (supposedly) declining sense of citizenship. In this discussion, four main citizenship theories became apparent: the liberal, the communitarian, the republican, and the neo-republican citizenship theory (Van Gunsteren, 1998).

The liberal citizenship theory

The liberal citizenship theory is based on the assumption that an individual naturally pursues self-interest and that individual rights should be embedded in the law. The individual decides which action yields the best results, leading to the most significant (individual) happiness. Based on these assumptions, an individual should be given freedom, secured by universal citizenship rights, protecting the pursuit of self-interest (Van Gunsteren, 1998). In liberal theory, the individual with his rights, opinions, and choices is seen as a given, regardless of the context in which this occurs. This is a passive and private form of citizenship: citizens are recipients of rights. They do have to adhere to the rules of constitutional democracy and the rule of law and abide by them (Van Gunsteren, 1998).


The communitarian citizenship theory

The communitarian citizenship theory emerged in the 1980s as a reaction to the liberal view that had long been dominant in thinking about citizenship and drew on notions developed particularly in the nineteenth century (Delanty, 2002; De Haan, 1993). Communitarians do not prioritize the individual but the community, opposing individualism (Delanty, 2002, p.162). The communitarians assume that citizens naturally belong to a historically grown cultural community and positively shape individuals using upbringing and education. Loyalty to the community and education to loyalty lead to the flourishing of the community and its members. The emphasis in this citizenship theory is on the citizen's duties to the community that aims to build a strong community based on shared values and traditions. The theory does not assume universalism, but it views citizenship as specific to a particular community. The main goal is consensus and thus the avoidance of conflict. The 'good' citizen has a strong moral bias, and community thinking and social cohesion are essential (Delanty, 2002; Janoski & Gran, 2002; Van Gunsteren, 1998).

The republican citizenship theory

Republican citizenship theory can be considered a particular variant of communitarian theory (Janoski & Gran, 2002; Van Gunsteren, 1998). This theory places one community, the public community, at the center of political life. This public community is called the republic. The republic is characterized by publicness and a government formed by community members (a democratic form of government). The citizen is thus both ruler and ruled (Dagger, 2002; Van Gunsteren, 1998). Publicness implies that politics understood as a matter/activity of the public must be exercised in public. Politics, as such, requires public debate and public decision-making. In this reasoning, 'Public' denotes not only a group of people but also a separate sphere of life, the public or public sphere, which can be distinguished from the private sphere. Serving the public community is considered the highest good. The ideal citizen is the citizen who actively participates in the public community/public life (Dagger, 2002; De Haan, 1993; Van den Brink, 2002).

As can be seen from the above, similar to the communitarians, republics also focus on obligations towards the community/public rather than on individual rights.

The neo-republican citizenship theory

In the 1990s, the Dutch political scientist Van Gunsteren (1998) developed a concept of citizenship that better suited the time's social developments. He introduced a completely revised version of the republican citizenship concept. His concept view was that contemporary citizenship theory should be based on the


increasing pluriformity in (Western) society. In addition to the familiar communities based on nationality, family/family, religion, and employment, other less familiar ties often play a role in the lives of individuals. As a result, identities are formed based on different and ever-changing connections. This makes public planning increasingly difficult because, according to administrators, society is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to understand. Van Gunsteren calls this phenomenon ‘the unknown society’ (Van Gunsteren, 1998, p.23).

In this society, the primary task of the citizen is to organize plurality or diversity.

This is because the citizen is a member of a public community (i.e., the republic).

This community is one of many communities in which the citizen is a member, but it is the central community for the citizen. A core task of the republic is to organize diversity (plurality), not only of individuals but also of communities: ‘the republic creates and protects the freedom of individuals to form communities, join them, and exit from them’ (Van Gunsteren, 1998, p.24). Citizens must be educated to exercise virtues: to serve the republic through competencies such as the ability to engage in debate, demonstrate reasonableness, and tolerate diversity. The primary virtue, however, is the ability to organize diversity or plurality. Neo-republicanism is thus concerned with the processes of interaction among citizens. Neo-republican theory recognizes that individuals can exhibit great differences among themselves and be highly loyal to communities other than the republic. However, they must exhibit civic virtues or at least act such that they are engaged in organizing plurality if they are to exercise citizenship. The neo-republican theory also emphasizes duties to the community and has a strong normative bias. Central to this is the duty of citizens to find ways to cope with diversity. This is the only way to create liveable situations. The ideal citizen is the citizen who can do this by participating in public debates and adopting a tolerant attitude (Van Gunsteren, 1998, p.24-28).

Discursive citizenship

Over the past decade, the emphasis in citizenship research has increasingly been on the everyday practices of citizenship. Within this research, there has been increasing interest in the so-called discursive approach, which has received a strong impetus from social psychology. 'Discursive social psychology', emerging in the 1980s, studies conversations and written texts as social practices (Barnes et al., 2004). Within this approach, scholars move away from a fixed definition of citizenship: rights and obligations of individuals and groups and their actions.

Barnes et al. (2004) indicate that the delineated description of citizenship implies a 'top-down approach', i.e., the starting point is a number of fixed characteristics of citizenship instead of assuming that people fill in citizenship through everyday talk.


Through everyday conversations, people give meaning to their lives, in this case to citizenship, and by analyzing those conversations, we arrive at the construction of social meanings of citizenship. Citizenship is thereby moved from the cognitive to the discursive domain (Barnes et al., 2004, p.202). This means that citizenship is approached from the perspective of the people themselves and not from institutions. The idea is that citizenship should be seen as a dynamic concept rather than a static concept. Citizenship is not something that one possesses, citizenship cannot be granted, but people themselves give meaning to citizenship through their own actions (Asen, 2004, p.204). According to this vision, citizenship can also be given meaning by those who do not officially have the status of citizen (Asen, 2004, p. 203-204). This is also the central idea of James Holston (2008), who introduced the concept of insurgent citizenship, which I will describe in the below paragraph.

2.4 Insurgent citizenship

James Holston developed the concept of insurgent citizenship based on ethnographic research in São Paulo, Brazil. He developed this concept to understand how struggles around basic needs experienced by marginalized groups in society, such as slum dwellers, lead to differentiated regimes of citizenship. In addition, Holston considers how the nexus between democratization and neoliberalism impact the potential of new forms of democratic citizenship, leading to forms of unequal citizenship for the marginalized people. A consideration of the effect of the twin processes of democratization and neoliberalism on the quality and experience of citizenship is relevant to many Latin American countries and, therefore, to Colombia and Bolivia. In Bolivia, the insurgent movements have been so successful that the political party with an insurgent base managed to win the national elections. After this occurrence and with the introduction of indigenous citizenship instead of the neoliberal economic model, insurgent citizens in Bolivia, including cocaleros, were also given text-based rights, thereby improving their citizenship status.

Holston develops the concept to understand both the horizontal relations between citizens and the vertical relations with the state. He argues that the effects of neoliberalism, such as the privatization of basic services, particularly affect some of the more precarious groups of the working classes. Holston documents how the struggle for basic needs in favelas and other neighborhoods in Brazil led to the formation of voluntary or neighborhood organizations that campaign for basic needs such as piped water, street lighting, or tarred roads. Holston argues that grassroots neighborhood organizations provide an 'alternative public sphere of participation through which they engaged their needs in terms of citizen rights' (Holston, 2008,


p. 235). He suggests that such struggles are new and insurgent as they have originated outside of traditional mobilization structures such as political parties and trade unions. Furthermore, their collective action has combined a mixture of practices in which to claim rights and basic needs through direct action, such as land occupations and the utilization of legal processes to claim and practice citizen rights.

As a result, Holston contends that collective action processes develop new understandings of what citizens' rights may and should encompass, not based on legal or institutional definitions but on individuals' daily experiences. Furthermore, as Holston points out, the experiences of mobilization inside neighborhood organizations, which lean towards consensual decision-making processes, give a new sense of citizenship and democracy that informs conflicts with and against the state. He does, however, point out that alternative forms of citizenship do not replace established citizenship regimes as a "method for spreading disparities and disparities." Instead, they now cohabit in the same social space and face one other' (Holston, 2008, p.249). In the case of Brazil, this clash has transformed the relationship between the state and people to some extent, challenging and modifying development and legal frameworks that touch the everyday lives of the disadvantaged and disadvantaged, notably in the area of land tenure. As Holston illustrates, the efforts waged by neighborhood organizations in São Paulo have had a significant impact on land tenure rights, and hence the right of the socioeconomically marginalized to the city.

The concept of insurgent citizenship is based on an important paradox (Arias &

Goldstein, 2010; Koonings & Kruijt, 1999; Koonings & Kruijt, 2004), namely that the introduction of democracies in Latin America led to an increase of violence, injustice, and impunity. The fact that violence and injustice spiraled after the advent of democratic regimes is a paradox, as with the disappearance of the authoritarian regimes on the continent in the previous century, it was expected that the violence levels would reduce since this was deemed to be evident based on democratization theories. However, given the neoliberal nature of the contemporary Latin American democracies, scholars have argued that these types of democracies themselves are responsible for much of the social violence in Latin American countries (Arias &

Goldstein, 2010; Jaffe, 2014). Such violence, according to them, is the logical outcome of neoliberal democracy's unfolding. They argue that violence in Latin American countries is caused not only by a failure of institutions but also by patterns of international trade, transnational political and economic regimes, grave wealth


inequality, and particular historical forms of social relations in specific countries, subnational regions, or cities (Arias & Goldstein, 2010). In addition to violence, citizens suffer from corruption and injustice:

"Brazilians cannot trust the state to guarantee their rights...[furthermore], if their rights are being violated, they are equally unlikely to anticipate restitution via the courts" (Holston, 2008, p.286).

As a result, the alternative public spaces established by insurgent citizenship can counteract such experiences by providing a new platform for individuals to fight and assert their rights via collective action. These alternatives are likely to emerge on the state margins as outlined in paragraph 2.1. As defined by Holston, insurgent citizenship is an idea that explores how democratic processes open up new areas as well as views on what democratic citizenship should involve and imply. However, as Holston points out, such procedures are hampered by neoliberal privatization policies, which disproportionately damage the ability of socioeconomically marginalized groups to participate in meaningful citizenship and democracy.

Holston develops the concept to understand both the horizontal relations between citizens and the vertical relations with the state. He focuses on neighborhood organizations in São Paulo, illuminating how struggles around basic needs can become politicized and framed around the demand for citizenship rights.

Furthermore, his concept of insurgent citizenship demonstrates a concern to analyze both the horizontal and vertical relations of citizenship.

It is particularly the paradox of violent democracies resulting from neoliberal democracy's unfolding that is relevant for both Colombia and Bolivia (pre-Morales).

As a result of this and due to injustice, corruption, failing institutions, and a government failing to guarantee basic rights, citizens on the outskirts of urban environments assert their right to have rights. I argue that the struggle for citizen's rights has historically applied to both Putumayo and El Chapare, but based on the empirical focus of Holston's work, i.e., marginalized groups with a low-middle income in urban environments, the concept of transgressive citizenship better suits the cases of cocaleros, residing in rural environments. I will outline this concept in the below paragraph.


2.5 Transgressive citizenship

Earle (2009) puts forward the concept of transgressive citizenship in her dissertation about the housing movement in São Paulo. The notion of transgressive citizenship is based on the concept of insurgent citizenship by James Holston (2008). The basic idea is that where being insurgent does not necessarily mean that citizens act against the law, transgressive citizenship implies morally, socially, or legally unacceptable acts. She argues that citizens and social movements, to position themselves politically, use transgressive acts of civil disobedience (i.e., morally, socially, or legally unacceptable) to interact with formal institutional mechanisms successfully.

Although Earle (2009) acknowledges that there is a degree of 'insurgence' of citizenship on the city's peripheries, she states that the argument is not sufficiently supported by the empirical focus of Holston's work. She believes that the text-based citizenship rights described in the Brazilian Constitution provide a valid and strong basis for the marginalized citizens to oppose the state. Her idea is that there is no restriction for marginalized citizens to interact with the state through the political society, but that these citizens are limited due to factors such as the use of elite language in the law, implying that dialogue with state actors can only be carried out by the use of more privileged channels. Earle (2009) demonstrates that many of the marginalized in São Paulo are unable to be in dialogue with the state to request attention for their situation, creating a 'porous and moveable boundary' between society and the state. By using acts of transgressive citizenship, i.e., acts that are morally, socially, or legally unacceptable (in Earle’s case, the occupation by São Paulo MMC (Movimento Moradia do Centro) of highly valued buildings in the city center), the idea is that the state should reflect on their own practices, taking the demands of the citizens using such acts into consideration.

In her conclusion, Earle (2009) states:

The idea of ‘transgressive citizenship’ could be usefully employed as a lens through which to examine the activities and political positioning of social movements in other parts of the world that interact with the state through formal institutional mechanisms and that engage in transgressive acts of civil disobedience (Earle, 2009, p.296).

The above statement indicates that the notion of transgressive citizenship is useful for the urban environment of São Paulo in Brazil and can also be used in other


environments where social mobilization occurs. For example, social movements in Putumayo and El Chapare have historically been interacting with the state to position cocaleros’ perspectives on citizenship. At the same time, in order to request states to pay attention to the subject of citizenship in both cases, cocaleros have used transgressive acts (i.e., acts being unacceptable from a moral/social and legal point of view) to negotiate with their states and to improve their citizenship status.

Examples of such acts are the occupation of the ECOPETROL site in Putumayo in 1996 and the roadblocks when Jeanine Añez came to power in Bolivia. I will further describe and analyze these occurrences in Chapters 4 and 5, respectively.

2.6 Conceptualizing cocaleros’ realities: transgressive citizenship on the state’s margins

In this chapter, I demonstrated that when defining the state's conceptual margins, scholars seek those places where the law is continuously being refounded using violence and non-state authority. On this basis, I argued that the concept of state margins by Das & Poole is a useful theoretical concept to study the cases of cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare. In both cases, there have been continuous state-making processes in the region that took place because cocaleros were perceived as poorly socialized groups that needed to be pacified or managed such that they would be transformed into more lawful citizens. In addition to this, the state used checkpoints and biopower (aerial fumigation) in both regions for state- making. In these processes of state-making, the states continuously try to establish modes of order and lawmaking. These attempts, in turn, have repeatedly been challenged and, to use Das and Poole’s terminology, ‘colonized’ by the inhabitants of these regions.

I then demonstrated that people living on the above-mentioned (conceptual) margins are central to discourses and practices of violence, security, and citizenship in Latin America and that there is a field of tension between security policies and practices imposed by the government and citizenship of marginalized groups. Next, I demonstrated that the citizenship debate has developed around several schools of thought in the past decade. These schools of thought focus on the liberal, the communitarian, the republican, and the neo-republican citizenship theories. More recently, the concept of citizenship is considered dynamic and can also be given meaning by those who do not officially have the status of citizen. This is also the central idea of the concept of insurgent citizenship by James Holston (2008). Finally, I argued that that the struggle for citizen's rights has historically been applicable to


both Putumayo and El Chapare, but based on the empirical focus of Holston's work, i.e., marginalized groups with a low-middle income in urban environments, the concept of transgressive citizenship better suits the cases of cocaleros in Putumayo and El Chapare. This is because the lens of transgressive citizenship is useful to study the political positioning of social movements interacting with the state through formal institutional mechanisms, engaging in transgressive acts of civil disobedience. As will become apparent in the following chapters, social movements in Putumayo and el Chapare have historically been interacting with the state to position cocaleros’ perspectives on citizenship. At the same time, to request states to pay attention to the subject of citizenship in both cases, cocaleros have used transgressive acts (i.e., acts being unacceptable from a moral/social and legal point of view) to negotiate with their states and to improve their citizenship.


3. Coca as a livelihood for coca farmers in Putumayo and El Chapare

This chapter will start by describing what coca is as a product and how it relates to cocaine. With the characteristics of coca in mind, I will contextualize both locations using a historical perspective. This perspective will aid in understanding why coca farmers started to incorporate coca in their livelihood strategies.

3.1 Coca as a product

There are approximately between 75 and 250 species of coca, all known as the Andean crop Erythroxylum, which can be found in the lowlands of the western Amazon basin (Plowman, 1984). Early pre-Colombian civilizations already acknowledged the psychological effect of the alkaloids present in the coca leaves.

Therefore, they started to cultivate two species of the coca family, namely E.coca and E. novogranatense. The primary archaeological evidence of coca leaf cultivation dates to around 2000 BC and was found in the Andean area of Ecuador (Plowman, 1984). Nowadays, coca cultivation mainly occurs in the Andean regions of Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, and the product is being used both for licit and illicit purposes.

The coca crop, which typically has a height of one to two meters, does not require fertilizers and is not susceptible to pest problems. Furthermore, the crop grows well in soils containing relatively low amounts of nutritional components and can be harvested three or four times every year (Hellin, 2001). These characteristics make that relatively little (financial) investment is required for starting to cultivate the crop.

The dried leafs obtained after harvesting the crop are known as la hoja de coca or simply coca. Examples of the historical use of coca include chewing of the leaf like tobacco. The product is also consumed as a tea, used as an ointment, or a bathing solution (Sanabria, 1993). The reported benefits of the use of coca are better physical acclimatization at high altitudes, better social connection, health benefits, and increased energy levels. There is a difference in 'cultural and historical embeddedness' in Colombia and Bolivia. In Colombia, only a small number of indigenous groups (Paeces, Arhuacos, Huitotos, and Tukakoans) use coca nowadays. In these communities, the use of the product is limited to chewing and to some medicinal applications (Clemencia-Ramírez, 2011). In Bolivia, coca is part of the country's cultural heritage and is also considered a natural resource, comparable to coffee, plantain, etc. The strongest coca tradition can be found in Las Yungas, north of the capital La Paz. Since 2005, the Bolivian Ministry of the Interior




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