Somehow this doesn’t surprise me at all:
A certain US soft drinks giant may disagree, but Bolivia has come up with a fizzy beverage it says is the real thing: Coca Colla.
The drink, made from the coca leaf and named after the indigenous Colla people from Bolivia’s highlands, went on sale this week across the South American country.
I’m just wondering if people are going to pronounce it’s name phonetically or just call it Coca Cola.
This is an exciting couple of days for proponents of drug decriminalization. Yesterday Argentina’s Supreme Court ruled the prosecution of personal marijuana use unconstitutional. Last Thursday, Mexico enacted a new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of all drugs.
I’m doing research for a student note to be published in the Fordham International Law Journal, and found this article (cite: 39 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 237.) It’s one of the best studies of the relationship between Bolivia and the United States I’ve read, and is doubly interesting because of its focus on coca and the drug trade. The main conclusion is also noteworthy, namely, that the presidency and political phenomena of Evo Morales would not have been possible without the U.S.’s heavy handed anti-drug policy.
The Guardian has an interesting article about a cocaine bar in La Paz. It, of course, reflexively blames Evo as setting a “national example” which encourages cocaine production and use. Foreign Policy’s Passport blog questions this dubious claim.
T’anta Wawa rips into the foolishness on display in this article. Choice quote:
The title of the piece is ‘The world’s first cocaine lounge’, which you could say was the first indication that the hyperbole of the article doesn’t quite live up to reality. World’s first? What, really? Has Mr Franklin ever been backstage at a music or film industry awards do? Has he ever been to some of the wilder parties in Bogotá, or even L.A?
Read it all here.
It’s sometimes good to remember that as extreme as Evo Morales is, conservatives don’t exactly have a sterling record of restraint here. With the return of Luis Arce Gómez to Bolivia, we are reminded of how the old conservative front of Bolivia acted. Gómez, who just finished a 15 year sentence in Federal prison in Miami, will now go to jail for another 30 in Bolivia, the maximum amount under Bolivian law.
Gómez, a.k.a “the Minister of Cocaine,” was part of what is now known as the Cocaine Coup of 1980. The Cocaine Coup, which installed career military officer, Luis García Meza Tejada, to power, involved a colorful group of players; Gómez and Meza are joined by former Nazi officer, Klaus “the Butcher of Lyon” Barbie, and Italian neofascist Stefano Delle Chiaie. Besides these goons, Meza imported some professional torturers from the infamously repressive Argentine Videla dictatorship.
Gómez, as Interior Minister, ran the junta’s drug running activities which funded in part the coup. These were so severe that the Reagan administration kept its distance, even as it cozied up to any number of autocratic Latin American caudillos, and the DEA launched an investigation and arrested Gómez after the junta fell from power (it lasted only a year). He was convicted in absentia, but now will serve out his sentence.