Bolivian Morales Boosts Coca Defense
April 5, 2009 - Prensa Latina

Cochabamba, Bolivia, Apr 5 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian President Evo Morales said that his government will continue boosting a world campaign to decriminalize the coca leaf.

The thousand-year-old crop appears in a narcotic drugs list drafted by the United Nations, in what Morales describes as an injustice.

In a meeting with coca producers in Chapare town on Saturday, Morales urged them to eradicate excess crops as a better contribution to this strategy.

"I will go on with the external battle, but it is up to farmers to wage the internal one. The best contribution of coca producers in La Paz and Cochabamba is to rationalize," he noted.

He also urged national and departmental leaders not to allow new plantations, mainly in national parks.

He recalled his participation in the 52nd period of sessions of the UN Committee on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna in March, when he demanded the elimination of the coca leaf in its natural, pure state from the world list of narcotic drugs.

He said that the new Political Constitution of the Bolivian State, approved by the people in January, defends the coca leaf as a renewable natural resource, a cultural heritage tat is part of the country's biodiversity.