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.

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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.

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