Plenary Day 1: Evo Morales

He shares with us the successes and achievements made in combating drug trafficking. But at the same time is deeply concerned about this very demanding issue. And he makes reference to the historical error made by the de facto government of Bolivia 35 yrs ago.

Describes the headway they have made in the difficult task of combating drug trafficking. For 2011 they have seized 27 tonnes of basic coca paste, 5.1 tonnes of hydrochloride.

Security forces have also destroyed 23 labs for crystallising cocaine and another 23 for recycling the waste product were also destroyed. Also a very large number of coca plantations were destroyed. All of this was accomplished by Bolivia, as a sovereign decision to show the dedication of Bolivia in the international effort to combat drug trafficking.

For a government like Bolivia, with scant financial resources it is difficult but they are taking the steps to reduce coca cultivation, in full respect of human rights.

“In Bolivia there is not free cultivation but there cannot be no cultivation either”.

This morning I met with the leaders of this institution; we conveyed our drug trafficking strategy, interdiction, prevention and eradication. Gives thanks to support from Europe for its support, to evaluating what a legal coca market will look like.

He highlights that there needs to be a shared responsibility, especially form the countries where the drugs are consumed. President Morales calls on all signatories of 1961 to provide technical assistance (helicopters etc) to help in the eradication of illegal coca plantations.

He states that he is here once again to seek the support and assistance to participate in the correction of the historical error, that of the ratification in 1976 by a de facto government, in order to correct this Bolivia is re-acceding to the convention with a reservation. Why did Bolivia ratify in 1976? The answer is that this was one of the acts of a military government that had seized power illegal and was against the democratic will of the people.

President Morales highlights that the main purpose of the single convention is to control is not to prohibit ancestral practices that do no damage to human beings. And he points out that the reservation about coca leaf usage does not remove the responsibility for Bolivia to combat global drug trafficking.

He states that the coca leaf is “part of our national heritage, and in its natural state it is not dangerous”.

He comes before us with a mandate of the people of Bolivia and to respect the constitution and support the legal right to chew coca. There is no data in the world that shows that this coca leaf has an adverse effect on human beings.

He asks the signatories to the convention to correct the error that has gone on for more than 450 years. He points out that we should recognise the medicinal properties of coca He shows coca products (tea and marmalade, beverages, liquors manufactured in Netherlands)

President Morales has come before as a representative and now as a President of Bolivia to ask for the correction of this historical error and international support for the practice of coca chewing which has been going on for millennia.

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