Long life to coca leaf!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

pijcheoWith a “Causachun coca! (quechua), viva la coca. Long life to coca leaf!” the vice -minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia ended his intervention on Monday at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Vice-minister Hugo Fernandez protested against the request of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to eliminate the traditional use of coca, such as coca chewing and coca tea. At the same time a vigil to defend the coca leaf took place in La Paz.

Fernandez denounced the lack of respect of the Board. He read the letter President Evo Morales sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon last Saturday. Coca is not cocaine, Fernandez said, and he strongly questioned the INCBs interpretation of the UN drug conventions.  He repeated that Bolivia would seek to remove the coca leaf from the list of the 1961 Single Convention.

"Bolivia is convinced that te day will come that the INCB will recognize its error, just as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican recently did with Galileo and his contibution to science," Fernandez said.

Read the full speech of Fernandez and the letter to Ban Ki Moon