Bolivian government revised its position with UN’s INCB re: coca

Pagina Siete reports on Bolivian government next actions with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB, JIFE in Spanish).

[INCB is the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. It was established in 1968 in accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.  It had predecessors under the former drug control treaties as far back as the time of the League of Nations.]

Pagina SIete reports: Yesterday Bolivia presented to the UN a request for readmission to the anti-drug Convention of 1961, but with reservations about the chewing of the coca leaf, two days before Bolivia officially enters into force with the denunciation of the Convention, said yesterday to the EFE agency, cited a source from the Bolivian Foreign Ministry.

Government officials planned to submit the documents to United Nations Headquarters by January 1, 2012, but they anticipated, said the official source.

With this decision, the Government of President Morales wants to show the international community that its intention is not to withdraw from the single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, but defend the cultural custom of chewing the leaf of coca or “acullicu”.

The withdrawal of the Convention was adopted by the Bolivian National Assembly (Congress) in June of this year, but would have been made effective on January 1st.

The “acullicu” or coca leaf chewing was vetoed in the 1961 Convention, Article 49, because the plant contains alkaloids that are the basis for the production of cocaine. [no wonder people who chew do not fall asleep, have hungry and not feel tired with hard labor work]

Indians and peasants from the country maintain this practice and claim that the coca bush has legal uses in medicine and for tea production and food industries, but it is also used by drug traffickers for cocaine production.

A request for admission to the Convention usually takes a month, but if it carries the reservation on a topic the consideration thereof can last a year, they explained to the EFE agency UN sources. [so, this may be the real reason for current government, they can tell the coca growers they are fighting for their cause, thus continue to receive their support in the ruling of Bolivia; and to show the international community that they are following the rules, Bolivia is not stepping aside but wants to continue to use the coca leaf as chewing leaf. In sum, all this lost time, lost credibility is just to keep the power inside our borders and to “handle” international pressure with delays to comply with International Laws and Treaties]

Reinstatement must be approved by the Member States, but if a third of them (63) objects to the reservation on the “acullicu”, Bolivia can not keep its membership, said these sources. On a previous occasion Bolivia presented a proposal to amend the text of the Convention, but met with the objection from 17 countries. [so, if Bolivia cannot keep its membership, we are dangerously shifting to a country like Somalia; If we are out the international arena, by choice, any type of assistance, whereas caused by a huge natural disaster, civil war, etc. Bolivia will not receive any help nor support. Think of a family living in a condo, they fight with the neighbors and decide to not obey, accept the rules, by which all the other families are forced to… if there is a fight inside that house, no neighbor will come in aid, that family will become a pariah, and that is what is going to happen to Bolivia, by choice of current government]

Speaking to the international channel Telesur, the Bolivian Foreign Minister, David Choquehuanca, said the request for reinstatement with the reserve allows inside the  country to practice the chewing of the coca leaf and defend their culture. [something that we, as a country, said we were going to do so, before. Bolivia with this type of ethereal diplomacy portrays as weak; do not forget Bolivia intends to take to court Chile, regarding the loss of our sea-coast by Chilean invasion over a 100 years ago]

“This reserve will only be applied to Bolivia, it is not affecting the integrity of the Convention and we are going to continue what the Convention on the fight against drug trafficking,” remarked Choquehuanca. [in other words he is saying: let us do whatever we want and don’t worry… isn’t that the principle of anarchy? could that be allowed or accepted in the international forum? what would other countries do in turn, when their particularities, or those of their ruling political parties at the time, wish to do so? haven’t this Bolivian government learn that there is a meaning in Jurisprudence?]

In the middle of this month, an INCB mission visited Bolivia to discuss the issue with the Government and visited the coca growing area. [At the time of that visit, the head of INCB said that it was needed more work with coca and cocaine efforts to reduce them. Although his remarks were diplomatic, they were harsh and I believe that is when current Bolivian president realized that he is not alone, there is a world with Laws, Treaties, If 30% of INCB’s signing countries rejects the coca chewing, Bolivia will have to comply. An agreement which as a country, we said long before this political party was in power, we were going to do so, that is to reduce and eliminate the coca chewing. We are therefore obliged to honor our commitment to the international community, we are not an isolated island, nor a virtual reality in the minds of a few. The latter may become the most serious credibility issue for this government which has its foundation on the coca growers support. It may become the ultimate test for this populist, socialist, communist, indigenous regime as they labelled themselves, to continue in power.]

Evo encourages the decriminalization of the coca

President Evo Morales said last Sunday, when he was in Cusco, he was convinced that in 2012 the UN will no longer ban the coca leaf.

“I am convinced that the next year (2012) we are going to win the international struggle to recognize the pijcheo and acullicu [chewing] as a traditional use of the Andean Peoples and Latin America”, predicted Morales then.

However, his Government had adopted a strategy of withdrawing from the Convention of 1961 concerning narcotic drugs since January 1, 2012 and – as it is known – was to re-apply and re-insert later, provided there was a “reservation” on the subject of the acullicu. This tactic, as it was published in past days, was considered “risky” by the representative in Bolivia of the ONUDC, César Guedes, the UN agency in the fight against drugs, INCB. [this Bolivian “tactic” seems so childish or completely naive that makes me blush out of embarrassment and outrage, because these political group in power speaks for now for all us]

In addition, INCB criticized this decision and called the international community to not accept “any proposal that Governments use under the complaints mechanism and return to acceding with reservations”, according to EFE. [it is a very explicit reply, so why current president believes otherwise? why he needs to play that stubborn attitude? is it just a game? or is it political game to win time or worn all of us out, internally and overseas? and the end the bigger losers is the Bolivian society, it is not sufficient to be known around the world, as we try to enter those countries, to be viewed as narcotraffickers, simply because our passport reads Bolivian; and now this?!!]

When that entity representatives visited the President, he admitted that he failed convince that delegation that the coca cannot be considered as a narcotic drug. [is he for real?!]

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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