Bolivia High Aims, Low Comedy

An earnest battle against drugs turns into a series of mishaps

When a U.S. Air Force C-5A transport plane landed in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz to launch the latest battle in America's war on drugs, the far-off town of Trinidad, 250 miles to the northwest, paid little heed. But the next day Trinidad Mayor Pedro Alvarez was summoned to the local Bolivian air force base for some unsettling news. The gringos are coming, he was informed; the base would need another well. Since that day, the tranquil cattle-farming community of Trinidad (pop. 40,000), capital of Bolivia's northeastern Beni region, has not been the same. "Our humble town," complains Alvarez, "is...

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