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Evo Morales and Coca in Bolivia Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 15th, 2021

Coca is a plant that is used as a raw material for producing cocaine, crack, and other hard drugs. It is supposed to be a dangerous source of social degradation in countries worldwide. Coca is associated with drug dealing and crimes based on its trafficking and distribution. The world society shapes this plant as extremely harmful for humanity. However hard and weighty the criticisms of coca, indigenous people living in Bolivia considers it their century-long occupation in growing plants. In this respect, the figure of the current president of this Latin American country, Evo Morales, is applicable in terms of the legalization of planting coca across Bolivia. The first representative of the indigenous entity, Morales provided a set of programs to defend the mastership of planting coca by the last heirs of Inca. Thus, the defense of rights on doing common activities within some small community of people provides a huge risk for the state of humanity.

First of all, it is vital to take a look at the drug coca. It is a plant growing spontaneously in the Andes (Peru, Bolivia, Chile, etc.) (Botanical-Online, 2010). The plant itself is particularly small (thumb-shaped leaves). After being dried up, it is used for chewing along with slices of lime or “with ashes of cereal guinoa” or along with some specific sorts of cacti (Botanical-Online, 2010). As a result, the outcome of such mixture comes into the emergence of alkaloids quite strong and effective to put a person into the state of trance and euphoria along with the harmful effect on health. It is an effect of cocaine, particularly.

Historically, tribes of Inca were planting coca to make it a feature of rites and rituals that were practiced long ago and are being practiced currently. Moreover, chewing coca is also an attribute of fraternity among the members of a tribe (Botanical-Online, 2010). It is considered among indigenous people of Bolivia that ordinary chewing of coca is not as dangerous as its derived, cocaine. However, cocaine can be simply extracted from coca leaves. In turn, it possesses too many hazards for the society that consumes it (Botanical-Online, 2010). In fact, it is not listed as a dangerous activity for people living in Bolivia. Evo Morales, as a former coca farmer, was the first to legalize such controversial occupation across the nation.

The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, invokes quite opposite attitudes toward the policy of “cocalero” throughout Bolivia. The thing is that he thinks such a century-long occupation of the indigenous entity in the country never did harm to the society. It should be considered as the activity going closer to what representatives of ancient Inca are good at. The question is that Morales is an Aymara Indian who shares interests in indigenous people planting coca and herding llamas in the heights of the Andes (Vera-Zavala, 2005). He is one of the Latin American neo-liberal leaders, along with Chavez, Castro, and others. However, his policy that supports almost 62% of the nation goes apart with international agreements in some common terms considering the current development of Latin America (Vera-Zavala, 2005).

Morales sees in coca an attribute of cultural heritage specific to Bolivia. It is said that his personal activity in MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo – Movement for Socialism) has a philosophy of correct understanding of what coca means to Indians of Bolivia (Telegraph, 2010). Moreover, Evo tried to convince the majority of the nation that coca saves the Andean culture and its main aim is medical. In this respect, the Constitution of Bolivia got through the process of several amendments stating on “cultural patrimony” of coca (Regalado, 2009). Evo should have known the causes of coca on the rest of the planet. However, it is a question of cultural security provided by Morales.

Coca growers of Bolivia were constantly at risk of being destructed in their plantations and farms. Coca marches of peasants that appeared several times in Bolivia were always stopped by the official power. Coca unions were at risk of a total ban, but in the course of time Evo Morales improved the place of coca in the national economy. The part of the territory for coca crops yielded in 2008 was 30,500 hectares (75,370 acres) (Telegraph, 2010). This number is increasing annually by approximately six percent. In fact, Evo is very popular within the country for putting such needful reforms into action. All in all, it is supposed to be the only chance for the last four years of Morales’s presidency.

The film Cocalero by Alejandro Landes talks about the direct participation of Evo in promising peasants of Bolivia to defend their business by means of making first reforms in the agricultural sector. Ordinary people of Bolivia are all involved in such provocative kinds of crops planted throughout the Andes. Shifting common stereotypes on the use of coca, the main attention is grabbed in the film to saving the indigenous people of Bolivia from poverty (Landes, 2007). This idea is logically well-grounded, for Indians share the majority of the Bolivian population.

As for me, the position of Morales toward giving more legal grounds for planting coca concerns solely the internal side of the issue. In other words, such reformation saves Incas and does not guarantee the security of the rest of the world. I feel like responsible to admit that Columbia, Peru and Bolivia are the dark spots on the map for being the main world sources for distributing cocaine. The harm is pervasively huge. It touches upon not thousands but millions of lives.

To be precise, the company of Morales following the plan “Zero cocaine, but not zero coca” ended up in the terrific outcomes: “In the past four years, coca production in Bolivia has increased, but, so too has the production of cocaine” (BBC News, 2009). It is no surprise that Evo was supported greatly by coca unionists during his election campaign. Hence, it is fair to suppose that the outcome of such victory of pro-coca leader can give more increase to cocaine business.

Supposedly, coca is non-threat for indigenous people of Bolivia. Then, one should not neglect the inner intentions of human beings to gain more profits. Thus, the crops of coca surpass greatly the needs of Bolivia. The excessive amounts should get through the distribution worldwide. In other countries of the world coca is merely judged upon as a medical means, but a hard and expensive drug. Thus, Bolivia is in process of constant turning into a country producing cocaine. In 2009 Bolivian police discovered one of the multiple cocaine labs “capable of producing 220 pounds of cocaine a day (the street value is approximately $5 million)” (Regalado, 2009). Facts are stubborn thing. Hence, growing coca for saving “3,000 year culture of Inca” does not save larger scope of human beings worldwide (Regalado, 2009).

One more argument concerns the fact that cultural and national position of Bolivia will likely go in the opposite side for the country’s economy. Attempting to reduce poverty among Indians, Morales tends to enlarge profits of cocaine dealers throughout South America and overseas. Observers emphasize: “Cocaine production is potentially up as much as 65%, U.S. law-enforcement officials say, as Colombian and Mexican traffickers have set up shop in the country” (Regalado, 2009). In fact, it is a real threat for the countries assigned upon NAFTA. The economies of the major part of Latin American countries seem to be corrupted, for narcotic traffic is perpetually going on in rates. Solving internal social problems, Evo Morales is likely to forget about the hazardous consequences of inexpedient use of coca inside as well as abroad the country.

To conclude, the situation over planting coca in Bolivia grew significantly since Evo Morales has become the president of the country. An Indian by origin, he was likely to defend the interests and struggle of indigenous people across the country and its Andean part, in particular. Such amendment in the course of country’s development represents a real danger for other American countries as well as for the world on the whole. Bolivia became one of the world’s major cocaine traffickers. This fact made other countries on behalf of the UN to anticipate critically on the theme of excessive coca crops in Bolivia. I think that the policy of Evo Morales definitely goes with the preferences of the majority living throughout country. On the other hand, by legalizing coca Evo does not take into account “dark side” of coca which appeals the rest of the world.


BBC News. (2009). ‘Bolivia election: Cocaine casts shadow on campaign.’ Web.

Botanical-Online. (2010). ‘The World of Plants: Coca and Cocaine.’ Web.

Landes, A. (2007). Cocalero. Documentary. Web.

Regalado, A. (2009). ‘Bolivia Plants Coca, and Cocaine Follows.’ The Wall Street Journal. Web.

Telegraph. (2010). Evo Morales launches ‘Coca Colla.’ Web.

Vera-Zavala, A. (2005). ‘Evo Morales Has Plans for Bolivia.’ In These Times. Web.

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