Bolivia Seeks To Decriminalize Coca
The Bolivian government has gotten the support of Spain in its diplomatic campaign to decriminalize the coca leaf, which can be purified to make cocaine powder.
Chewing of the leaves, a practice going back thousands of years among South American Beringians, has been internationally banned under the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, reports CNN. Bolivia petitioned the UN Economic and Social Council to modify the drugs convention nearly 18 months ago, reports The UK Telegraph, and the body set a January 30, 2011 deadline for other countries to lodge any objection to the request.
Should no country mark an objection, more coca products would be sold across the globe, as well as appearing in products ranging from soft drinks to toothpaste. The original recipe of Coca-Cola contained the ingredient, hence its name. An “energy drink” derived from the coca leaf named Coca-Colla is currently being sold in Bolivia.
To make sure there is no objection raised, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca began a European tour on Monday to raise awareness of the coca leaf. That campaign has already gotten the support of Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez, who on Tuesday offered to act as a mediator at the UN “to try to help to find an agreement” on the issue.
Choquehuanca is next off to France, Belgium, Sweden, and Britain.
However, the Washington Office on Latin America, (WOLA) an American non-governmental organization, told CNN that the US would likely oppose any removal of coca from the UN ban.