Bolivian President Evo Morales convinces EU to pay for study of coca

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Evo Morales, newly elected President of Bolivia, requested that the European Union fund a study to track coca. The study will focus on what happens to the coca and how much of it makes its way into the drug trade. According to Angel Gutiérrez, the EU has agreed and will donate US $499,800 for the study, but will not participate in its implementation. Morales has requested similar studies in the past, prior to being elected.

Morales himself owns a coca farm and his Socialist Movement Party got its birth in the union of coca farmers. Although the coca leaf is also used to make cocaine, Morales and his union have fought attempts to eradicate growth of the crop. It is also used by indigenous in religious ceremonies and to chew (to fight fatigue).