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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
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Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops
    #4687088 - 09/20/05 07:57 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops
September 20, 2005 - falkland-malvinas.com

Bolivian peasant leader Evo Morales who has a comfortable lead in vote preference for next December?s presidential race said that if elected he would legalize growing coca which is the raw material for cocaine.

During a press conference Tuesday in La Paz, Mr. Morales anticipated that the current "zero coca" policy would be changed for one of "zero drug trafficking", if he?s finally confirmed as next president of politically unstable Bolivia.
Mr. Morales and his strong Movement Toward Socialism influence stems from the peasant coca producers' unions in the central Chapare region. However planting coca, a traditional infusion among highlands Indians going back centuries, is now considered a crime as part of the government?s efforts to cut cocaine production, and please the United States government.

Indian organizations argue that the coca they produce is for cultural and medicinal use and Mr. Morales once again denied the alleged link between the peasants and organized drug trafficking.

Mr. Morales emphasized that his party would rule on the basis of the laws from the ancient Andean peoples who spoke the Quechua language, and which says, "ama sua, ama lulla, ama kella" (do not steal, lie or be lazy).

"To those analysts and businessmen who ask us how Indian and peasants are going to rule Bolivia, I?m telling them we have professionals in our party who combine intellectual capacity with social conscience", stressed the Indian leader.

The latest public opinion polls published last weekend show Mr. Morales and his MAS group for the first time clearly ahead of former President Jorge Quiroga, who ruled between 2001-2002, and cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina.

The United States government for years has linked aid to impoverished Bolivia to the elimination of coca crops, most of which Washington argues ends in drug cartels labs in Peru and Colombia.

The issue is most controversial and has caused endless protests, blockades and riots by peasants? organizations contributing to the overall destabilization of the country.


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Invisibleveggie

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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #4841661 - 10/23/05 04:27 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

*update*

Candidate gives Bolivian coca farmers hope
October 23, 2005 - tri-cityherald.com

ASUNTA, Bolivia (AP) - The coca farmers on these steep mountain slopes have long felt their livelihood and Indian identity threatened by U.S.-backed efforts to uproot the crop that makes cocaine. Now they are pinning their hopes on one of their own - an Indian coca farmer who is the front-runner for Bolivia's presidency.

Evo Morales promises that if elected Dec. 4, he will decriminalize all coca farming. That would mean an end to a decade-old crop eradication program that has led to clashes between farmers and soldiers in which dozens have died.

He would also be Bolivia's first Indian president, and his leftist politics - he's a close friend of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez - would move yet another Latin American government leftward, following the paths of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

A Morales victory may worry Washington, as well as many governments in Europe, Bolivian cocaine's chief market. But the "cocaleros," as coca farmers are known, are delighted at the prospect.

"Many Indians are very hopeful that these elections can change history," said Issaes Alvarez, a 23-year-old cocalero and town councilor in Asunta, in a coca-growing region northeast of La Paz, the capital. "If the eradication continues there will be a massacre, there will be death, there will be violations of human rights."

Indians are the majority in this nation of 8.5 million, and for centuries, those in the Andean highlands have chewed the coca leaf to stave off hunger pangs and work up energy, used it in religious ceremonies and boiled it into medicinal tea. It's sold legally in supermarkets throughout Bolivia and Peru, and is served as tea in cafes.

But coca is also the main ingredient of cocaine, and the Bolivian and U.S. governments are convinced that a growing amount is being turned into drugs. Bolivia, the world's No. 3 coca power after Colombia and Peru, produced up to 118 tons of cocaine last year, up 35 percent from 2003, according to the latest U.N. World Drug Report.

Morales' family is one of many who migrated from Bolivia's poor western highlands, where it struggled along by herding llamas and growing potatoes. In the tropical Chapare region, in southeast Bolivia, Morales began growing coca, became a trade union official and, in 1993, president of the cocalero organization. He still operates a coca farm.

Chapare is his power base, and it was here that he led the often violent clashes with government forces over coca eradication. He was elected to Congress in 1997 and narrowly lost the presidential race to Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2002. He was a key figure in protests that brought down Sanchez de Lozada in 2003 and his successor, Carlos Mesa, in June.

Opinion polls give him a slight edge over conservative former President Jorge Quiroga.

During the last election, then U.S. Ambassador Manuel Rocha criticized Morales, only to see him shoot up in the polls. Morales jokingly called Rocha his "campaign chief."

This time Washington has kept silent about the election, but Morales has said plenty about Washington.

"Thanks to coca, we've made it through the endless suffering caused by the white man's infamous war on drugs," he wrote on his Web site.

But meanwhile, the laborious work of pulling out plants by hand continues. Last year, troops uprooted 20,800 acres in Chapare - 83 percent of the total.

Los Yungas, about 300 miles away, is the only region where growing is legal. The government lets cocaleros farm 29,600 acres, but the U.N. Illicit Crop Monitoring Program estimates that an additional 13,000 acres are planted. The hillsides of Asunta, for example, are an endless patchwork of illegal green coca bushes.

Now the government is eyeing los Yungas too. Next month it will begin paying some farmers to destroy their plants and encourage them to switch crops voluntarily. Although authorities promise there'll be no uprooting by force, tempers are running high. After the army enlarged a checkpoint to track illegal drugs out of los Yungas, cocaleros threatened a blockade, fearing eradication was coming.

Farmers say alternative crops such as coffee and bananas are harder to grow and transport, and fetch a lower price. They are staking their hopes on Morales - and their future on coca.

"We're not going to let up. We'll keep fighting no matter what the consequences, because there's no other product that sustains us like coca," said Asunta farmer Juan Condori. "It's the only crop that supports the whole family."


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InvisibleHeavyToilet
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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #4841697 - 10/23/05 04:36 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

That's good news.

I just know something stupid will happen though, and it wont get legalized/decriminalized.


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Offlinebiglo
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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: HeavyToilet]
    #4856636 - 10/26/05 10:34 PM (11 years, 4 months ago)

Well, if you follow the new in South America, they're starting to not give a fuck about the US, especially in Venezuela, and Cuba.  Which is kind of good in a way, but a lot of shit can still happen either way.  Who knows, with Afghanistan turning into an opium monster, and south america not giving a fuck, anything is possible, maybe a gang of external factors can come together and end this fiasco known as the drug war.  :evil: It'll be an ugly end or continuation if anything...  :sad:


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Invisibleveggie

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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #5080281 - 12/19/05 12:30 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Anti-US leftist clinches Bolivia election
December 19, 2005 - metronews.ca

LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - Evo Morales, a leftist former coca leaf farmer vowing to be a "nightmare for the U.S.," was poised to become Bolivia's first indigenous president on Sunday after likely clinching one of the biggest electoral victories in the country's history.

Morales appeared certain to take office in January when his rivals conceded defeat and results tabulated by local media showed him garnering slightly more than 50 percent of the vote, much higher than predicted.

"Beginning tomorrow Bolivia's new history really begins, a history where we will seek equality, justice, equity, peace and social justice," Morales told hundreds of supporters amid chants of "Evo President! Evo President!" at his campaign headquarters in the central city of Cochabamba.

A high-school dropout who herded llamas as a boy, Morales has vowed to nationalize Bolivia's natural gas industry and roll back a U.S.-backed eradication program of coca, a key ingredient used to make cocaine but also prized by Indians for traditional medicinal uses.

Washington considers Morales an enemy in its anti-drug fight in Bolivia, the third biggest cocaine producer after Colombia and Peru. His critics fear a Morales government could jeopardize the country's flow of multi-million dollar economic aid from Washington.

Morales often invoked racial imagery on his campaign, feeding hopes among the impoverished Indian majority that one of its own could help reverse what most saw as more than 500 years of discrimination under leaders of European descent, which began with slavery in Spanish colonial silver mines.

Preliminary official results were expected to be released on Monday. Should Morales gain more than 50 percent of the vote he would avoid having to face a congressional choice between and him and his leading rival, rightist Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga.

Quiroga, a U.S.-educated engineer who served as president from 2001-2002, had vowed to keep Bolivia on a free-market path and implement U.S. coca eradication policies. Most of the country's coca leaves are processed into cocaine.

AN END TO HATRED

"There will be an end to hatred and xenophobia that we have suffered historically," said Morales, who said he was surprised at the historic outcome.

A Morales presidency will add Bolivia to a regionwide drift to the left that has seen leftist presidents come to power in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Support for Morales, a 46-year-old lawmaker who admires Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was also lifted by popular disillusionment with Bolivia's free-market economic policies, which many Bolivians say have done little to help many in South America's poorest country.

"Evo is a real man of the people. He's with us," said Estela Martinez, a homemaker celebrating in Cochabamba.

Morales will face tough challenges. Large-scale street demonstrations over economic policies, natural gas resources, greater autonomy for the provinces and Indian rights have toppled two presidents in the last three years.

Results showed Morales' Movement Toward Socialism party was just one seat shy of control in the lower house of Congress -- and without control of the Senate.

CHALLENGES THE U.S.

An Aymara Indian, Morales first rose to power as the leader of the country's coca farmers, heading sometimes violent confrontations against Bolivian troops cooperating with the U.S. to destroy coca crops.

Political turmoil has plagued Bolivia for most of its 190-year history, including dozens of coups and counter-coups and many presidents who had weak mandates when they took office without a big majority of votes.

Morales' unexpectedly large margin may give him a chance to serve out his five-year term unlike the country's other recent leaders, according to analysts.

The majority Morales won on Sunday was the biggest "not only in the last 20 years of democracy, but in the entire history of the republic," said Roger Cortes, a political analyst in La Paz.


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InvisibleLe_Canard
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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #5080480 - 12/19/05 02:28 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

This should prove interesting, to say the least.....


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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: Le_Canard]
    #5080707 - 12/19/05 05:49 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Seriously, things are getting wierd in S. America. Pretty soon, the United States is going to have zero influence there. I was just watching on the news today that Hugo Chavez was having meetings w/ the President of Columbia, two people that previously hated each other. Brought together by a dislike of America...

Now Bolivia too, and already much of Central America is turning more to China and Japan than they are to the US. Someone better get their head out of their ass and wonder if security on our neighboring continent should be sacrificed for an outdated war on drugs.


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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Invisibleveggie

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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #5082486 - 12/19/05 05:50 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Morales sharpens criticism of U.S. drug policies
December 19, 2005 - reuters.co.uk

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia (Reuters) - Evo Morales, who won Bolivia's presidential election on vows to end a U.S. campaign against coca growing, stepped up his criticism of American anti-drug policies on Monday, accusing Washington of using drug fighting efforts to militarise the region.

In his first news conference since claiming victory on Sunday Morales -- who took a surprisingly strong majority and will be Bolivia's first Indian leader -- insisted he was opposed to drugs but disputed Washington's methods.

"The fight against drug trafficking is a false pretext for the United States to install military bases and we're not in agreement," he told reporters.

"We support an effective fight against drugs. Neither cocaine or drug trafficking are part of the Bolivian culture," he said in his stronghold of Cochabamba as the first official results from Sunday's vote trickled in.

Washington considers Morales, who first rose to power as the leader of the country's coca leaf farmers, an enemy in its anti-drug fight in Bolivia, the third biggest cocaine producer after Colombia and Peru.

The U.S. government insists much of Bolivia's coca is processed into cocaine, but farmers say they grow the plant for traditional medicinal uses, herbal teas and religious ceremonies.

According to UN statistics, Bolivia put 107 tonnes of cocaine on world markets last year. The United States spends $150 million a year on anti-drug efforts in Bolivia.

Some analysts said the United States should move quickly to engage Morales and discuss ways to bridge their differences.

"I would hope that Morales' position would lead to the U.S. taking a more realistic policy because if there's one thing we've learnt in last 20 years is we can't stop the drug trade," said Nicolas Shumway, director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

"What I'm hoping is the U.S. will listen to him and try and hear his concerns and not just try to impose a policy on Bolivia unilaterally," Shumway said.

NO CALL FROM WASHINGTON

Morales' leading rivals conceded defeat when results tabulated by local media Sunday showed him heading for a resounding victory, taking slightly more than 50 percent of the vote.

With 33 percent of the official results tallied Monday, Morales led with 48 percent to 35 percent for Jorge Quiroga, a conservative former president. The official count will take several days but based on media calculations Morales' vote tally is expected to remain near 50 percent.

If Morales gets more than half of the votes he will avoid having to face a congressional vote between the two top vote-getters as required by Bolivian law.

Asked by reporters if he had been contacted any Bush administration officials after he emerged as the likely victor, Morales said no. "I don't expect to be, either," he said.

Morales, a lawmaker who admires Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's drive for regional co-operation to counter U.S. influence, drew his most fervent support from Bolivia's indigenous majority.

Many Bolivian Indians see one of their own reversing what most see as more than 500 years of discrimination under leaders of European heritage, beginning with slavery in Spanish colonial silver mines.

"There is hope that things are finally going to change," said Carlos Pilco, a 48-year-old mechanic, in El Alto, a satellite city to La Paz and home to hundreds of thousands of indigenous Bolivians.

Aymara Indian law student Jorge Quispe, 30, urged Bolivians to give the new leader time to implement his program.

Street protests over the country's economic policies have unseated two presidents since 2003.

"Bolivians have to think about what ways we can support our president, he said.


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Invisibleveggie

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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #5111302 - 12/27/05 02:55 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Morales will reject U.S. aid if it includes drug provisos
December 27, 2005 - newsfromrussia.com

Bolivia's President-elect Evo Morales will reject U.S. economic and military aid if the United States requires continued coca-eradication efforts to get the money, a close aide to the former coca growers' leader said Tuesday. Morales also plans to withdraw Bolivia's military from anti-drug efforts and leave the job to police, said Juan Ramon Quintana, a member of the Morales' transition team.

Morales, who won Bolivia's presidency Dec. 18 with a decisive 54 percent of the vote, campaigned on promises to end the eradication of coca plantations. Coca eradication is a condition for aid from the United States, which gave Bolivia US$91 million (Ђ77 million) in 2005. The decision was made "mainly for reasons of sovereignty," said Quintana, who described Bolivia's Special Force to Fight Drug Trafficking as "an appendix" of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"This poses a huge risk for the security of the state," he said. "All the national agencies and capabilities must be put back under the government control." Morales' team also announced that he will travel Friday to Cuba and then to several European nations in his first trip abroad since winning the election. He'll also visit Brazil, beginning on Jan. 13, before assuming office on Jan. 22, said his spokesman, Alex Contreras.

Bolivia's national police commander, Gen. David Aramayo, acknowledged that the United States offers "important support" in the coca-eradication campaign, but insisted that his force has been ultimately responsible for the drug unit. A U.S. embassy spokesman, who asked not to be identified by name, said the embassy would not comment on Quintana's announcement. Bolivia's armed forces have played a key role in the eradication of coca leaf, especially in the Chapare region where Morales came to national political prominence as a leader of the coca growers. Clashes between the military and growers have killed dozens of farmers since 1997.

Coca is used to make cocaine, but it also has legal religious and medical uses. Indians also chew it to fight fatigue. Morales once wrote on his Web site, "Thanks to coca, we've made it through the endless suffering caused by the white man's infamous war on drugs." But he's also made a point of saying he'll crack down on cocaine trafficking while protecting the plant's traditional uses. Bolivian law currently allows 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of coca plantations, but official estimates put the actual size of the crop at some 27,700 hectares (68,000 acres), reports the AP.


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InvisibleWorld Spirit
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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #5120680 - 12/29/05 11:57 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

This is interesting on a political level.


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Invisibleveggie

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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: World Spirit]
    #5120743 - 12/30/05 12:24 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Bolivia Leader Won't OK Coca Eradication
December 30, 2005 - CBS News

(AP) President-elect Evo Morales traveled to the heart of Bolivia coca-growing region to reinforce a campaign theme: he will not permit the widespread destruction of the country's coca crop.

The pledge from the leftist leader drew enthusiastic applause from thousands of coca growers Wednesday night _ many of whom help Morales win this month's vote by the largest margin in recent Bolivian history.

"We are winning the green battle: the coca leaf is beating the North American dollar," said Morales, a frequent critic of U.S. policy in the region. "I guarantee you, there will be no zero coca."

The 46-year-old Aymara Indian who won the Dec. 18 balloting with a decisive 54 percent of the vote, campaigned on promises to stand up to the U.S. on the eradication of coca, the raw ingredient of cocaine.

He repeated his promise to allow coca cultivation, an activity that helps sustain nearly 30,000 families in the area.

Morales says his goal is to crack down on drug trafficking while promoting legal markets for coca leaf. The president-elect has said farmers in Chapare should be allowed to plant 3.7 acres per family of coca leaf.

That proposal has been rejected by the United States, which says much of the coca produced in Bolivia _ as in the other major producing nations of Peru and Colombia _ is refined into cocaine and eventually makes its way into the U.S.

A Morales aide said this week that he also plans to reject U.S. economic and military aid, worth $91 million this year, if the United States continues to insist on coca eradication as a condition for the money.

Morales was to travel Friday to Cuba then return to Bolivia for New Year's Eve before visits to several European nations, South Africa, China and Brazil.


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Offlinenonick
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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: veggie]
    #5125747 - 12/31/05 01:21 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

why won't this guy just legalize pot as well. ...oh wait, because pot makes people think and the government doesnt like that. because pot law vicitims are just food for the ever-hungry system, and morales is just another big government asshole. he doesnt actually want to help anyone. he just wants to serve his own purposes, like every other politician.


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Morales promises legalization of Bolivian coca crops [Re: nonick]
    #5125807 - 12/31/05 01:47 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Wow. WTF are you talking about.

Morales is legalizing Coca production because Coca is an integral part of Bolivian society and has a looooong history of use by the Indians there as a medicine and also as a religous sacrament. Marijuana does not have the same history and is not held in the same regard as Coca. Morales isnt legalizing Coca so you can get off. He's legalizing it because culturally its the right thing to do.


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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