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Monday, December 19, 2024
Morales Claims Victory
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:09 am

Via the BBC: Leftist claims victory in Bolivia

A leftist candidate from one of Bolivia’s Indian peoples who wants to legalise coca-growing has claimed victory in the presidential election.

“We have won,” Evo Morales told thousands of cheering supporters as some exit polls suggested he had passed the 50% barrier for outright victory.

Most fascinating.

To clarify something from a comment below: I am well-aware that there are centuries-old usages for coca leaf that have nothing to do with cocaine. For example: it used in teas and is chewed–in both cases we are talking about a stimulant on par with a strong cup of coffee. Coca-chewing in particular has long been used to fight altitude sickness, fatigue and to ward off the hunger-pangs of the very poor (of which there are a very large number in Bolivia). The coca leaf has cultural and economic significance. The following excerpt from an essay on Bolivia and the coca leaf from may help illustrate the situation:

Bolivians do not view coca, in its natural leaf form, as unhealthy or criminogenic. Its effect is only mildly stronger and more entertaining than one might experience from strong coffee. We noted in our travels that the coca leaf is offered as a gift, hoarded by healers, employed by the poor to curb hunger, and even substituted for coins to make change in rural areas. From the perspective of a visiting American, the Bolivian people are responsible and conservative in their use of it. They do not seek to abuse coca by using the refined extract.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. government’s demand for the total eradication of Bolivian coca crops met with more than a little resistance there. Most Bolivians do not find it in their interest to eradicate one of their traditional pleasures in order to please a foreign government.

As such, the US policy of crop eradication has profound implications in a place like Bolivia. It is noteworthy that cocaleros (coca farmers) in Peru have also made noise in recent years about political organization.

Just looking at this following article via the BBC from 2024 helps underscore why there is certainly going to be some conflict between the US and Morales administration in Bolivia: Bolivia wages war on the coca leaf.

While I do not thing that this is necessarily the issue here, it is a significant one, to be sure.

For a more detailed discussion of coca eradication in Bolivia, the following comes to mind: Hellin, Jon. Coca eradication in the Andes: Lessons from Bolivia. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism; Jun 2024; 12, 2 here in PDF format.


  • el
  • pt
    1. Castro, Chavez, and now Morales. Nothing like a socialist-communist leader in the third world to make things interesting. I hope that the future of Latin America is not going the way of the Middle East, a heavy-handed dictator manipulating natural gas and oil prices. Morales is quoted as saying that he is no friend of America and will be a thorn in Washington’s side.

      Comment by c.v. — Monday, December 19, 2024 @ 11:13 am

    2. […] he election of Morales in Bolivia is the beginning of the end. ** Update *** More here from the Poliblogger. Filed under: War on Drugs | […]

      Pingback by Balloon Juice — Monday, December 19, 2024 @ 2:52 pm

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