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Montevideo, April 23rd 2017 - 05:27 UTC

Bolivia expands legal coca crop area by 12.000 hectares

Thursday, March 9th 2017 - 21:33 UTC
Full article 13 comments
“We want to guarantee coca supplies for life” for Bolivians who consume the leaves legally, sometimes in ancestral rituals, Morales said in a speech. “We want to guarantee coca supplies for life” for Bolivians who consume the leaves legally, sometimes in ancestral rituals, Morales said in a speech.
Morales signed a law which officially recognizes as legal 22,000 hectares of coca crops, raising the limit of 12,000 hectares fixed in the previous law. Morales signed a law which officially recognizes as legal 22,000 hectares of coca crops, raising the limit of 12,000 hectares fixed in the previous law.

Bolivia passed a controversial measure on Wednesday to expand production of coca, the raw material for cocaine. Leftist president Evo Morales dismissed warnings that an increase in coca crops would fuel the illegal drug trade.

 The coca leaf is commonly chewed or drunk like tea, but drug gangs make it into cocaine in a chemical process that brings out its narcotic qualities. Morales rolled back a 1988 US-backed law which curbed illegal coca growing by restricting production.

He is himself a former coca farmer and current leader of a grouping of coca farmers' unions in the central Chapare region.

“We want to guarantee coca supplies for life” for Bolivians who consume the leaves legally, sometimes in ancestral rituals, he said in a speech.

Morales signed into law a reform passed by congress last month. It officially recognizes as legal 22,000 hectares of coca crops, raising the limit of 12,000 hectares fixed in the previous law. A European Union study in 2013 estimated demand for legal coca in Bolivia at just 14,700 hectares.

Other coca farmers' unions boycotted the launching of the measure, alleging that Chapare supplies coca to the cocaine trade.

Bolivia is the third biggest coca producer in the world after Colombia and Peru. Those two countries are trying to reduce their coca crops to curb drug-trafficking.

Former president Jorge Quiroga said Morales's move would “bring international shame” on Bolivia “due to the stigma of drug-trafficking and the crime that it will cause.”

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

Top Comments

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  • HughJuanCoeurs

    Probably meant Cocoa rather than Coca...

    Mar 09th, 2017 - 09:47 pm 0
  • Jack Bauer

    The Bolivians are going to have to chew a lot of leaves to take care of the extra production...

    Mar 10th, 2017 - 06:36 pm 0
  • DemonTree

    This will probably be good for Bolivia, who will get richer farmers and more taxes, and bad for all Bolivia's neighbours, who will get more crime and a bigger drug problem...

    This does make me curious though. If chewing coca leaves is supposed to be comparable to just drinking a lot of coffee, what happens if you inject caffeine straight into your veins?

    Mar 10th, 2017 - 06:57 pm 0
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