Musafir Hu Yaro Na Ghar Hai Na Thikana Bus Chalte Jana Hai
RTW trip 2004-2005
About Me (1)
New zeland (3)
* Aqaba and Wadi Rum
* Amman, Jerash & Ajlun
* The border crossing
* Sharm El Sheikh
* Cairo and surroundings
* Indian Impression
* Reading List
* Australia Impression
* Australia East Coast
* Charity really?
* Western Australia
* Towards the outback
* NZ impression
October 16, 2004
War on Coca
When you travel through Bolivia, Peru, Northern Argentina you will discover the Coca has been integral part of culture in this part of the world long before United States existed. Inspite of it the United States govt every year spends close to 150 million dollars of tax money to encourage farmers in Bolivia, Peru to stop growing Coca! However nobody in US talks about this, it is as silly as going to Iraq in search of WMD. Its not surprising that recent war on WMD, the war on Coca all were statrted by foolish republican administrations!!
While in La Paz I visited a museum of Coca, here are some interesting facts about Coca that I did not know.
Traces of Coca were found in mummies dating back to 2500-2000 B.C. in Peru and Bolivia.
In 1914 United States outlawed use of Coca, after some idiot on federal reserve board published a paper where he put forward theory that chewing Coca reduces efficiency of South American workers. However opposite has been true, during Spanish exploitation of Bolivian and slaves from Africa mines could not have worked at 5000 met elevation for 10 hours a day without chewing Coca.
In 1985 Coca-Cola purchased 204 tonnes of Coca from Bolivia.
According to international law only 36 countries are allowed to grow Coca legally, including United States and most of western European countries. However according to international law Bolivia and Peru are not allowed to officially grow Coca, go figure!!
If you visit the Inca museum in Cusco you will find images of Inca gods (about 600 years old?) chewing Coca.
The US war on Coca has tremendous impact on political instability in Bolivia and Peru and fosters the culture of corruption. While in Cusco, I got a bit taste of it -- in the morning around Plaza de Armas there were local farmers going around protesting about govt plan to curb Coca plantation. The same farmers in the afternoon entered an Inca temple and surrounded about 15 french toursits visiting the temple which insued a three-four hour stand-off with the police. The police used tear gas in the end. Now most tourist will go back from this experience saying south America is dangerous, but hardly give any thought to root cause of it.
Posted by Subodh on October 16, 2004 07:41 AM
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