It is extremely surprising, to say the least, to see questions being raised in the United States about the degree of success in the fight against drugs in Bolivia, and even more so, to see the country put at par with other much more heavily affected countries in regard to terrorism within its borders {"U.S. Tempers Expectations of Quick Antidrug Victory in Bolivia," news story, Nov. 30}.

Any doubts about the speed with which the eradication of excess coca, interdiction and seizures of paste have been carried out in the country, should, in fact, relate to the wisdom of continuing at the current pace. By all standards Bolivia has so far achieved victories in these endeavors, which are far above the goals agreed to for a year with the American government. Bolivia may have reached a point where it has become a victim of its very success.

It should be clear by now that the production of the coca leaf in Bolivia responds, first, to an ancient tradition among its Indian peasants, which has been passed down the generations since the days of the Inca Empire; and, second, to the utter lack of alternative economic activities for poor farmers for whom coca represents their very livelihood.

The success of the Bolivian government in razing coca plantations is contributing heavily to the alarming unemployment and concomitant misery among its poorest population. Poor Indian farmers who have voluntarily chosen to take advantage of U.S.-sponsored programs to eliminate excess coca production have found themselves alone and with no alternative source of employment.

Bolivia is committed to the elimination of excess coca production and has openly stated that 100 percent eradication can and will be achieved within five years if international cooperation is forthcoming for the country's Alternative Development program. We believe this compares favorably to the United States' intention to reduce cocaine demand by 50 percent during the next 10 years.

It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the unemployment and discontent being continuously augmented by drug policies are not being offset by the creation of jobs for those left without a means of livelihood. The international community's support in general, and particularly that of the United States as proclaimed in Cartagena, has been long in coming. What is even more worrisome is that in spite of our government's efforts to attract American and other foreign investment to the country, private investment, which is so welcomed in Bolivia because it could provide decent jobs for our people, has plummeted since 1985, and not because Bolivia has not presented the right conditions.

Also, we utterly reject any suggestions that place Bolivia on the same blacklist as other countries well known for terrorism. Indeed, there have been bombings and other attempts against civilians in La Paz; under no circumstance, however, can they be compared to the outright wars now being waged in other countries. If the number and frequency of attacks in La Paz were compared to those in some major capitals of the world -- or to the number of murders in the District of Columbia, for that matter -- I believe La Paz would look like a placid and boring place.

As to the alarmist opinions of American officials in La Paz who have stated that Americans are the primary targets of terrorist attacks in Bolivia, please let me remind you that the cases that have been most cited in the international press lately involve not the American community in La Paz, but the kidnapping of a Bolivian industrialist and the threats of political, not drug-related, groups on the lives of President Paz Zamora and other government officials.

Further, nowhere is it mentioned in the article that the dismantling of the CNPZ, the group that claimed responsibility for the attempt against the U.S. Marines' residence, the bombing of the John F. Kennedy memorial and kidnapping of the Bolivian industrialist, could not have started on a more auspicious note than it recently has.

What is fair to ask, however, is whether these outbursts in Bolivia are not being fanned by social discontent and unemployment, and whether the extreme success of the fight against drugs coupled with the lack of investment and jobs are not, in the end, abetting the problems for which the country and its government are being questioned. JORGE CRESPO-VELASCO Ambassador of Bolivia Washington