In the wake of a referendum
last month on natural gas that was widely praised as an example of functioning
democracy in action, some Bolivian coca growers are calling for a similar
referendum to legalize coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived.
According to the Cochabamba newspaper Los Tiempos, the Special Federation
of Peasant Workers of the Tropico of Cochabamba, the local coca growers'
union, called for a referendum on legalizing the plant "to restore dignity
to the ancient leaf."
Delegates meeting at the
federation's eighteenth annual conference also once again named Evo Morales,
head of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), as leader of their movement.
"As we have already begun
to utilize the referendum process, now we want to use this mechanism for
coca because the North American embassy and the government of our country
don't want us to have our coca," said Silvia Lazarte, the coca grower who
led the congress. "Our coca production is legal, and thus, the delegates
have indicated very clearly that there should be a referendum and that
the people decide about coca.
Lazarte added that federation
members were confident such a measure would pass if put directly to the
voters. "Long live the coca leaf!" she exclaimed. "Long live the
Among other actions taken
by the more than 2,000 delegates, the federation called on the government
to hand over resources dedicated to alternative development directly to
the communities involved and for the demilitarization of the region.
The federation also called for a series of "coca fairs" to promote the
traditional indigenous crop.
-- END --
Issue #349, 8/6/04
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Massachusetts Needle Exchange Activists Hold Day of Protest, Demand Action from Legislature |
Newsbrief: Defendant Can Post Pictures of Narcotics Agents in Info Search, Federal Court Says |
Newsbrief: Nevada Marijuana Initiative Wins Legal Victory, Still Alive |
Newsbrief: Justice Department Backs Off on Plan to Destroy Library Asset Forfeiture Pamphlets |
Newsbrief: Israeli Soldiers to Get Cannabis Therapy for Stress? |
Newsbrief: Marijuana Charges Down 30% in Canada |
Newsbrief: California Narc Indicted in Rudy Cardenas Killing |
Newsbrief: Federal Prosecutors in Seattle Use Patriot Act in Marijuana Case |
Newsbrief: Bolivian Coca Growers Call for Referendum on Legal Coca |
Newsbrief: Highway Travel Advisory -- South Dakota/Sturgis Rally |
Press Release: Students for Sensible Drug Policy Activists to Take "Skate for Justice" Through New York State Tomorrow (8/7) |
Media Scan: Peter Moskos in the Baltimore Sun |
This Week in History |
The Reformer's Calendar
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