views updated


Chapare is a river and region in east central Bolivia, notorious as the center of non-traditional coca cultivation in the country. The river and its fertile valley lie to the east of Cochabamba and have long attracted immigration from the highlands. In the mid-twentieth century road construction and agricultural investments sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development opened the region to intensive colonization. Ironically, this infrastructure later channeled a large migrant stream, displaced by the collapse of tin mining and a series of droughts, who began large-scale coca cultivation. These growers, cocaleros, carried on a twenty-year struggle against a variety of coca eradication programs. From this resistance, the Chapare formed the base for the Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement toward Socialism; MAS) political party and for Evo Morales's rise to power.

See alsoMorales, Evo; Venezuela, Political Parties: Movement to Socialism (MAS).


Kohl, Benjamin H., and Linda C. Farthing. Impasse in Bolivia: Neoliberal Hegemony and Popular Resistance. London and New York: Zed Books, 2006.

Montes de Oca, Ismael. Geografía y recursos naturales de Bolivia, 3rd edition. La Paz: EDOBOL, 1997.

                                          David Block