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Bolivia launches international campaign to defend coca leaf, denounces ‘colonial thinking’



The Bolivian government on Wednesday launched a campaign to urge international reflection and reconsideration of the “vague condemnation” of coca leaf’s inclusion on the UN drug list.

The country’s Vice President David Choquehuanca and Prime Minister Rogério Maita led the event in La Paz, providing ambassadors, indigenous peoples, and trade union leaders with extensive information about rebel actions. “A Critical Review of the Classification of Coca Leaf in the 1961 United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs.”

“What we do is advocate The purity of our coca leaves Because it is condemned, it is identified, it is condemned as a blacklisted drug, it is banned as if it were a poison,” said the Bolivian Foreign Minister.

It said the factory was “in the midst of bigotry, racism and colonialism, and was condemned without process or right to defence.”

Bolivia is currently asking for a “review of the trial” and a reconsideration of the “conviction”. Because the plant is “not only innocent of any complaints that may be attributed to it.” However, the minister emphasized that “we can give health, energy and hope to sick people who are undernourished.”

This does not mean the country will abandon its efforts in the fight against drug trafficking, Mayta added, adding that the legal and traditional use of coca leaves is “another big problem” that communities have to face. I thought it might help solve the problem.”

The prime minister recalled that last June, Bolivia asked the United Nations for a “critical review” to declassify coca leaf from the drug list.

Attached to the request was a document containing more than 100 documents, scientific studies, and “evidence.” Vice Presidential Secretary General Juan Carlos Arralde explained the medicinal properties of coca leaf, which have been practiced in recent decades in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and other countries in Asia and Europe.

Meita said the documents were available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website as of Wednesday this week, and that Bolivia’s diplomatic missions abroad would launch “a campaign to communicate (this) information.”

He also announced that Bolivia’s embassies and accredited organizations will receive “the voices of the Bolivian people calling on them to reflect on the misleading accusations against the coca leaf in order to correct this historical injustice.”

This act was sanctioned by a purification ritual performed on behalf of the authorities by an “amauta” or indigenous sage.

Coca leaves are listed as having traditional and medicinal uses in Bolivia’s constitution, which has been in effect since 2009, but some of the production is diverted to drug trafficking for the production of cocaine.

Bolivia denounced the 1961 treaty in 2011 and rejoined it two years later with reservations about “acrico,” or the act of chewing coca leaves, within its territory.

In 2017, the country expanded the area under which the plant can be legally cultivated from 12,000 hectares to 22,000 hectares.

In its annual report published last November, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that Bolivia’s coca leaf crop had increased by 4%, growing from 29,400 hectares in 2020 to 30,500 hectares in 2021. It was determined that the area had become a hectare.

Luis Arce’s government presented its own figures showing a 0.7% reduction in surface area, claiming “methodological” differences with Unodc.

Source: Biobiochile

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