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December 21, 2005

Bolivia's future leader pledges to control coca

Topics: International News

The leader of Bolivia's coca growers, Evo Morales.jpg
The newly elected leftist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, friend and ally of Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, called on the United States, on Tuesday, to work with him to develop better ways of ending drug trafficking while preserving the traditional market for coca in his Andean nation, where people have chewed the plant to stave off hunger or used it as a medicine for thousands of years.

Bolivia's future president Evo Morales, a coca producer under pressure to crack down on cocaine, has pledged to keep controls on coca but says he will study expanding the area where it can be legally grown.

Morales on Tuesday also called on the United States to work with him to develop better ways of ending drug trafficking while preserving the traditional market for coca in his Andean nation, where people have chewed the plant to stave off hunger or used it as a medicine for thousands of years.

"There won't be free cultivation of the coca leaf," vowed Morales, who still has his own coca plot and came to prominence leading fellow growers -- cocaleros -- in fighting US-backed efforts to eradicate coca in Bolivia, the number-three supplier of cocaine to the US after Colombia and Peru.

Morales has pledged to keep controls on coca but says he will study expanding the area where it can be legally grown. He has previously said that his election would be "a nightmare for the United States."

Related: South America shifting left, away from U.S.

Hat tip - Harry Owens

Posted by Richard at December 21, 2005 7:26 PM



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