At the meeting of the UN Commmission on Narcotic Drugs that opened today in Vienna, Bolivian President Evo Morales held up a coca leaf and defended -- to applause -- the right of Bolivians to grow and chew the plant:
Morales said that chewing coca leaves was an "ancestral right" for Bolivians. "We are not drug addicts when we consume the coca leaf. The coca leaf is not cocaine, we have to get rid of this misconception," he said in a speech that ended with applause from the hall.
"This is a millennia-old tradition in Bolivia and we would hope that you will understand that coca leaf producers are not drug dealers."
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Despite diplomatic relations being restored with Bolivia yesterday, Vice President Vice President Alvaro Garcia said today the DEA is still unwelcome there.
[Garcia]says the Drug Enforcement Administration "was a mechanism of political blackmail" and is not welcome back.
The DEA was expelled from Bolivia in 2008 by by President Evo Morales.
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
President Evo Morales and thousands of supporters celebrated Bolivia's new constitution as it took effect on Saturday, saying the new document will enshrine indigenous rights and end centuries of oppression.
The constitution, the first approved in Bolivia by popular vote, promises more power for the poor, Indan majority; recognizes communal justice; grants some regional autonomy; and declares coca a part of the nation's heritage.
President Morales told the DEA recently to take a hike. (link fixed)[More...]
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