US, Few Others Object to Bolivia UN Coca-Chewing Bid

Four Western countries—the US, Britain, Italy, and Sweden—have formally objected to Bolivia's rejoining the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs with a reservation that allows for the traditional habit of coca leaf chewing, the Transnational Institute reported Friday. The move is the latest twist in the Latin American nation's effort to remove the international proscription on the ancestral habit.

But the Western objections are far from sufficient. Another 58 signatory countries would have to object by next week to block Bolivia's bid, and there is little sign of that happening.

Coca leaf, the raw material from which cocaine is produced, has been used with little ill effect as a hunger-suppressant and mild stimulant for thousands of years in South America's Andean region. It was included as a proscribed substance in the 1961 Convention based on a 1950 study that has been found to be unscientific and blatantly prejudiced. The 1961 Convention called for the chewing of coca leaf to be phased out by 1989.

Led by former coca grower union leader Evo Morales, Bolivia tried in 2011 to amend the 1961 Single Convention to remove the provision requiring it to ban coca leaf chewing. If no countries objected, the request would have been automatically granted, but the US, supported by the International Narcotics Control Board organized a "friends of the convention" group to rally against the move. In all, 18 countries objected to Bolivia's request.

Among Latin American countries, only Mexico's conservative government objected. Colombia objected at first, but withdrew its objection, while Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Venezuela went on record supporting Bolivia's request even though they weren't required to. The objecting countries were all European, except for Canada and the US and Japan and Singapore.

Following the failure of its effort to amend the 1961 Convention, Bolivia withdrew from it and requested re-accession with a reservation regarding the coca chewing provision. The Convention allows for such a procedure, which can be blocked only if one-third of the member states object. There are 184 countries that have signed the Convention, meaning 62 must object to stop Bolivia's re-accession.

So far, only four have done so. Other countries have only until January 10 to weigh in.

– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.



  1. gutrod on

    Imagine Americans buying already chewed cocaine. Will American manufacturers start producing coca gum for Latin American countries all in the name of profit. It would be a huge market.

  2. Anonymous on

    Zionism is the popes terrorists who are spraying oxided radiations for hire. Zionism is not jewish but the vatican. The toronto government is spraying dann g with radiations, the government ordewrs the police to enter his home when he goes out and sprays radiations in his apratment but the government is not recongnizing, but in time the truth will come out. The whole city of toronto are contract killers for zions not jewish or roman catholic people but the vatican who has a history of sbusing there own people. The prosititutes are all cop suckers, they all only do police(scoundrels) and all support the color red. ITS THE VATICAN AND HIS TERRORIST ORGANIZATION ZIONISM WHO HAS BEEN PRESENT FOR CENTURIES. SUMMARY EXECUTE ALL ZION LEADERS LIKE MUSSOLINI AND HITLER, ASK FOR YOUR GOVERNMENTS TO GET SUMMARY EXECUTED FOR US TO ALL SEE

  3. Mark on

    The “kids and coke” connection is only a moral one from a Puritan Fascist’s perspective. Coca chewing is not crack whoring, but if you put a kid next to a Coca Plant, you get cocaine reefer madness, and black dudes looking “twice” at white women.

  4. Paul Pot on

    To deny people their traditional culture, their access to traditional herbs and medicines and deny them the right to engage in economic activities that have supported them for countless generations, all individually constitute acts of genocide.
    The fascist determination to eradicate all competition to the industrial economy is a in all respects an act of genocide and crimes against humanity.
    Legalize! Apologize! Compensate! Prosecute the Perpetrators!

  5. Anonymous on

    I could take a picture of kids drinking coke from a bottle. I guess more money to be made by cutting ties to natures plants than allowing it. kill off the old civilisations and cultures and turn it into one that thinks it is better. yeah might be some opposition to that idea.

  6. Dave on

    Don’t get it why would ‘Stop the Drug War’ call the chewing of sacred coca leaves a “habit”? And why, with all the bullies twisting things around, would they use a picture of children standing next the plant? I don’t get it?