Colombia's Defense Minister said on Monday the military will step up an offensive against drug trafficking gangs responsible for clearing thousands of hectares of protected national parks for coca plantations.
Colombia, a top source of coca, the base ingredient in cocaine, eradicated more than 100,000 hectares of the crop last year, President Ivan Duque said on Thursday. The Andean country has come under repeated pressure from the United States, an important destination for cocaine shipments, to reduce coca cultivation, especially as crop figures shot up in recent years.
Bolivian President Evo Morales defended Bolivians' right to chew coca leaves, the main ingredient of cocaine, on Monday, saying it was an ancient tradition and the world's No. 3 cocaine producer was working to fight drug trafficking.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales and his Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, recently celebrated their government's fifth anniversary and the first of his second term in La Paz, Bolivia.
Coca Brynco was launched in Bolivia earlier this week. It is the first mass produced soft drink of its kind and the project is supported by the government of President Evo Morales.