Coca and Cocaine: An Andean Perspective

Coca and Cocaine: An Andean Perspective

Coca and Cocaine: An Andean Perspective

Coca and Cocaine: An Andean Perspective

Synopsis

This remarkable analysis of the problems of coca leaves and cocaine traffic in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru provides an Andean perspective on drug production and consumption. The Peruvian Peace Research Association has assisted in the compilation of this in-depth study with the assistance of the United Nations. The book is must reading for all concerned with drugs and Latin America describes the historical and political aspects of drug traffic in the Andes, relationships between the governments of the Andes and the United States, and proposals for a common approach on drugs.

Excerpt

Numerous studies have been made of the problems associated with the growing of coca in the Andean countries and with the use made of its derivatives. From the beginnings of modern history, coinciding with the conquest of the New World, people have debated the rights and wrongs of chewing coca and how far this ancient tradition should be respected. In the past fifteen years, coca cultivation has become a major problem due to the alarming rise in illicit demand for cocaine in the industrialized nations. Huge vested economic interests accompany this high level of demand for cocaine and cause enormous distortions throughout economic, social, and political activity in the Andean countries. The issue today is not if but how the problem can be solved without generating worse problems.

Whatever and whoever causes the problem, it remains a socioeconomic and political reality, which can neither be denied nor simplistically condemned. Governments and public opinion in general in the Andean countries support the principles enshrined in international conventions held under United Nations auspices and approved by the vast majority of the international community; both the governments and public maintain that the narcotics trade has turned a traditional use of coca into a worldwide scourge sapping human energy, fueling organized crime, and disrupting national institutions. Coca trade should therefore be combatted as effectively as possible and, given its international dimension, will require generous contributions from interested countries.

Such a vast struggle must be properly organized around an intelligent strategy, or victims of the drug trade could easily be mistaken for delinquents . . .

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