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Film Documentary: Coca Zero (Bolivia) 1/4/2008

Film Documentary: Coca Zero (Bolivia) 1/4/2008

Coca leaves have been used by the people of Bolivia and Peru as a mild stimulant and for medicinal and ceremonial purposes for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. The leaves are chewed or used to make tea, flour and other products. There are many small-scale coca growers in the Andes, and for some farmers it is their only reliable cash crop. However, the leaves are also, of course, the raw material for cocaine, which presents the coca leaf growers with some powerful opposition – namely the US and the UN.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency – in ‘defense’ of America, the world’s biggest cocaine consumer – is pursuing coca leaf farmers in an attempt to eradicate the coca plant completely. And on March 4, 2008, the United Nations called on Bolivia and Peru to criminalize the chewing of coca leaves and urged them “to establish as a criminal offence” the use of the leaf in other products. This despite the objections of the Bolivian and Peruvian governments and their refusal to sanction the attempted eradication of what they consider to be a vital part of their culture.

An insight into the human consequences of poorly thought out government policy.

Director: Martha Gutierrez Flores, (Bolivia/Denmark)



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