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Bolivia: Special Police Forces
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > The Security Forces > Special Police Forces


Other police forces under the Ministry of Interior, Migration, and Justice included antiriot, antinarcotics, and antiterrorist units. The Special Security Group (Grupo Especial de Seguridad -- GES) was an operational, technical, and specialized unit. Its approximately 450 members were organized into motorcycle companies. They were mobilized to reestablish public order or to respond to an attack against private property. Normally, they served in the Legislative Palace; Ministry of Interior, Migration, and Justice; and other public institutions; or in the national police's National Guard and DIN.

The GES also assumed counterterrorist functions. In March 1987, French police advisers and Bolivian experts began giving a threemonth antiterrorism course -- consisting of technical and psychological training -- to 400 GES members. The purpose of the training was to form a special group for responding to hostage taking incidents. That June the Bolivian police announced officially the creation of a twenty-two-member antiterrorist command, the Multipurpose Intervention Brigade (Brigada de Intervención Polivalente -- BIP), responsible for solving cases of "uncommon violence," such as kidnapping, hostage-taking, and outbreaks of subversion. The government of President Paz Zamora gave responsibility for antiterrorist actions to the Special Elite Antiterrorist Force (Fuerza Especial Antiterrorista de Elite -- FEAE).

The narcotics police, with about 6,000 members, included the Special Antinarcotics Force (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico -- FELCN) created in 1987, and a subordinate force, the Rural Area Police Patrol Unit (Unidad Móvil Policial para reas Rurales -- Umopar). The Umopar, popularly known as The Leopards (Los Leopardos), was formed in late 1983 under a United States-funded program designed to eradicate the nation's cocaine trade and in accordance with four treaties on narcotics, signed by both countries on August 11, 1983. By early 1989, FELCN had its own intelligence service, which was charged with collecting evidence on individuals suspected of narcotics trafficking.

Data as of December 1989

Last Updated: December 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bolivia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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