They launched a pale green energy drink called Coca Brynco in Bolivia this week to coincide with diplomatic efforts by the country’s former coca growing President Evo Morales to get using the leaf removed from the world’s list of prohibited activities.

20-01-2011 bryncocola

President Morales, an Aymara Indian who have for centuries chewed coca leaves and brewed them in tea, called the prohibition, enshrined in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, absurd and an affront to Andean culture. “How can it be possible that the coca leaf, which represents our identity, which is ancestral, be penalised,” Morales said last week.

Bolivia has petitioned the UN to overturn a provision of the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which requires countries to eradicate the chewing of coca leaf. The government in La Paz has pledged zero tolerance for cocaine, which is distilled from coca, but supports alternative, licit coca-based products like Coca Brynco.

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey

Choose what you pay, from $99.

Sign up now

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca on Tuesday met with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez, who offered to act as a mediator at the UN “to try to help to find an agreement,” a Spanish foreign ministry spokesman said. The United States apparently remains strongly opposed to any change in the prohibition.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.


Join us and save up to 50%

Subscribe before June 30 and choose what you pay for a year of Crikey. Save up to 50% or, chip in extra and get one of our limited edition Crikey merch packs.

Join Now