Bolivia's Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca is on a European tour launching a diplomatic offense to try to end the international ban on chewing of Coca leaf.
Coca is a plant native to Western South America, is of really high value for the native people of the region. The plants finds its roots in the culture, heritage and the religion of the native people as well as is used in many domestic medical practices.
Coca is traditionally cultivated in the lower altitudes of the eastern slopes of the Andes. Since ancient times, its leaves have been an important trade commodity. It is widely consumed by the Andean peoples of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.
Plant being useful for so many things was once backbone of the economy of the region before a call for the prohibition of the use of the coca leaf except for medical or scientific purposes was established by the United Nations in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The convention says that coca-chewing be eliminated within 25 years of the convention coming into effect in 1964. The ban is backed by many countries since coca is a raw material for producing drugs like cocaine. US which is the largest consumer of cocaine backs the ban to eradicate and control the cocaine consumers.
Plant forming much of the part of the culture, it is tough for the people to obtain, chew or use Coca after the international ban. There is big resistance against this law and has united the Andean region.
In the beginning of the 21st century, Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela together urged for expanding the legal trade of the crop. With the strong words used by Eva Morales of Bolivia in UN general assembly "coca is not Cocaine" and by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in Venezuelan National Assembly showing his biceps, "I chew Coca every day and see how I am," Both the countries are hoping that their problem will not go unheard.
Bolivia's first indigenous head of state, Mr Morales who is also a former coca grower and leader of a trade union of coca grower asked the reporters "How can it be possible that the coca leaf, that is the symbol of our identity, which is ancestral, is penalised?" as quoted by the BBC.
Scroll down if you are looking for comment form, your comment is very much appreciated!!