Bolivia expects support from Celac and Europe for coca leaves

Bolivia expects support from Celac and Europe for coca leaves

Bolivian Vice President David Choquehuanca called on these two integration structures to support the highland country in its efforts to remove this raw material from List I of narcotic drugs of the 1961 Single Agreement.

“We call on the countries present at this event to support them in starting the process of critical review of the current classification of the coca leaf (…),” said the Vice President at the XXIV High-Level Meeting of the Coordination Mechanism and Cooperation in the Drug Sphere Celac-EU.

This forum brought together representatives of both regional blocs the day before in La Paz.

Since March 2023, the government of President Luis Arce has announced the decision to activate this process through a critical review by the World Health Organization.

Bolivia, along with Colombia and Peru, is one of the largest producers of this product and, through the Coca Law, maintains a legal limit of 22,000 hectares of this crop for legal use, while the surplus is subject to eradication and rationalization.

Choquehuanca defended the benefits of the ancient bush by arguing that it was a cultural heritage and described its medicinal and nutritional properties in an extensive exhibition.

He asserted that the “historical errors of the plant control regime and its derivatives” imposed by the 1961 Single Convention were “correctable and verifiable” in the light of current scientific knowledge.

He recalled that the indigenous peoples did not take part in the negotiations for the Single Agreement of 1961, which included the coca bush and coca leaves in List I of narcotics based on the report of the Commission for this study (Ecosoc) in 1950.

He also denounced that there is “knowledge of the biased and discriminatory nature of the methodological framework of the Ecosoc study and the lack of comparative academic and technical-scientific rigor to condemn the natural coca leaf to extinction and include it in this list. “

On this basis, he claimed that it is time to “decolonize the current arrangements of the Conventions” and do justice to the six decades of colonization of the coca leaf, the six decades of violation of sovereignty and the eradication of the coca leaf. Cola”.

He also called for dismantling the lies and post-truth that “the coca leaf is a drug.”

“The world needs to know about the nutritional and medicinal properties of the coca leaf; There are several research results on this,” concluded the Vice President.