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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Morales: More coca plantations to be allowed

President Evo Morales in Bolivia says he intends to push through the governing party-dominated new Congress a law that will allow individual farmers to grow their own coca plot measuring 40x40 meters. Currently, a national law allows 12,000 hectares to be planted in coca. The actual figure in the country is estimated to be two to three times that and growing. New plantations abound in the Yungas region and in the Chapare. The big issue here, of course, is not coca, which is used by Bolivians in myriad ways and has been for centuries. Coca is not cocaine. However, the production and export of cocaine has been growing steadily since Evo came to power in 2006 and even his own government is aware of the dangers of allowing that to continue. Two new terms are popping up around the region, both in Bolivia and in Peru: Colombianization, and Mexicanization. Both refer to the consequences of uncontrolled narcotics trafficking, both politically and in terms of the violence is brings with it. Dangerous days ahead in Bolivia.

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