A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions

The implementation of anti-drug policies that focus on illicit crops in the Andean countries faces many significant obstacles, one of which is the cultural clash it generates between the main stakeholders. On the one hand one finds the governments and agencies that attempt to implement crop subs...

Descripción completa

Detalles Bibliográficos
Autor Principal: Thoumi, Francisco E.
Formato: Documento de trabajo (Working Paper)
Lenguaje:Inglés (English)
Publicado: Editorial Universidad del Rosario 2005
Materias:
Acceso en línea:http://repository.urosario.edu.co/handle/10336/3879
id ir-10336-3879
recordtype dspace
institution EdocUR - Universidad del Rosario
collection DSpace
language Inglés (English)
topic Drogas
Cocaina
Narcóticos
Drogas
Abuso de drogas
Plantas alucinógenas
Drogas alucinógenas
Drogas psicotrópicas
Plantas psicotrópicas
Control de drogas y narcóticos
Colombia
Bolivia
Perú
spellingShingle Drogas
Cocaina
Narcóticos
Drogas
Abuso de drogas
Plantas alucinógenas
Drogas alucinógenas
Drogas psicotrópicas
Plantas psicotrópicas
Control de drogas y narcóticos
Colombia
Bolivia
Perú
Thoumi, Francisco E.
A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions
description The implementation of anti-drug policies that focus on illicit crops in the Andean countries faces many significant obstacles, one of which is the cultural clash it generates between the main stakeholders. On the one hand one finds the governments and agencies that attempt to implement crop substitution and eradication policies and on the other the peasant and natives communities that have traditionally grown and used coca or those peasants who have found in coca an instrument of power and political leverage that they never had before. The confrontation about coca eradication, alternative development and other anti-drug policies in coca growing areas transcends drug related issues and is part of a wider and deeper confrontation that reflects the long-term unsolved conflicts of the Andean societies. All Andean countries have stratified and fragmented societies in which peasants and Indians have been excluded from power. In Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru most peasants belong to native communities many of which have remained segregated from “white” society. The mixing of the races (mestizaje) in Colombia occurred early during the Conquest and Colony. Those of Indian descent became subservient to the Spanish and Creoles. The society that evolved was (and still is) highly hierarchical, authoritarian, and has subjacent racist values. The resulting political system has been exclusionary of large portions of the population. Among Indian communities coca has been used for millennia and its use has become an identity symbol of their resistance against what may be looked at as foreign invasion. “The Andean Indian chews coca because that way he affirms his identity as son and owner of the land that yesterday the Spaniard took away and today the landowner keeps away from him. To chew coca is to be Indian...and to quietly and obstinately challenge the contemporary lords that descend from the old encomenderos and the older conquistadors” (Vidart, 1991: 61, author’s translation). In Andean literature on illegal drugs as well as in seminars, colloquia and other meetings where drug policies are debated, complaints are frequently expressed about the treatment of coca in the same category as cocaine, heroin, morphine amphetamines and other “hard” drugs. The complainants assert that “coca is not cocaine” and that it is unfair to classify coca, a nature given plant which has been used for millennia in the Andes without significant negative effects on users, in the same category as man made psychotropic drugs. They also argue that coca has manifold social and religious meanings in indigenous cultures, that coca is sacred and that the requirement of the1961 Single Convention demanding that Bolivia and Peru completely eradicate coca within 25 years is limiting Indigenous communities in their freedom to practice their religions. In most debates about drug interdiction, the views of those who oppose that approach are not accepted as legitimate. Indeed, “prohibitionists” demonize drugs and those who oppose drug policies in Latin America frequently demonize the United States as the imperialist power that imposes them. This dual polarization is a main obstacle to establish a meaningful policy debate aimed at broadening the policy consensus necessary for successful policy implementation. This essay surveys the status of coca in the United Nations Conventions, explains why it is confusing, and how a few changes would eliminate some of the sources of conflict and help organize and control licit coca markets in the Andes. The current disorganized and weakly controlled legal coca market in Peru has been analyzed to demonstrate its deficiencies and to illustrate possible improvements in international drug control policies.
format Documento de trabajo (Working Paper)
author Thoumi, Francisco E.
author_facet Thoumi, Francisco E.
author_sort Thoumi, Francisco E.
title A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions
title_short A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions
title_full A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions
title_fullStr A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions
title_full_unstemmed A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions
title_sort modest proposal to clarify the status of coca in the united nations conventions
publisher Editorial Universidad del Rosario
publishDate 2005
url http://repository.urosario.edu.co/handle/10336/3879
_version_ 1645141430583164928
spelling ir-10336-38792019-09-19T12:37:01Z A Modest Proposal to Clarify the Status of Coca in the United Nations Conventions Thoumi, Francisco E. Drogas Cocaina Narcóticos Drogas Abuso de drogas Plantas alucinógenas Drogas alucinógenas Drogas psicotrópicas Plantas psicotrópicas Control de drogas y narcóticos Colombia Bolivia Perú The implementation of anti-drug policies that focus on illicit crops in the Andean countries faces many significant obstacles, one of which is the cultural clash it generates between the main stakeholders. On the one hand one finds the governments and agencies that attempt to implement crop substitution and eradication policies and on the other the peasant and natives communities that have traditionally grown and used coca or those peasants who have found in coca an instrument of power and political leverage that they never had before. The confrontation about coca eradication, alternative development and other anti-drug policies in coca growing areas transcends drug related issues and is part of a wider and deeper confrontation that reflects the long-term unsolved conflicts of the Andean societies. All Andean countries have stratified and fragmented societies in which peasants and Indians have been excluded from power. In Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru most peasants belong to native communities many of which have remained segregated from “white” society. The mixing of the races (mestizaje) in Colombia occurred early during the Conquest and Colony. Those of Indian descent became subservient to the Spanish and Creoles. The society that evolved was (and still is) highly hierarchical, authoritarian, and has subjacent racist values. The resulting political system has been exclusionary of large portions of the population. Among Indian communities coca has been used for millennia and its use has become an identity symbol of their resistance against what may be looked at as foreign invasion. “The Andean Indian chews coca because that way he affirms his identity as son and owner of the land that yesterday the Spaniard took away and today the landowner keeps away from him. To chew coca is to be Indian...and to quietly and obstinately challenge the contemporary lords that descend from the old encomenderos and the older conquistadors” (Vidart, 1991: 61, author’s translation). In Andean literature on illegal drugs as well as in seminars, colloquia and other meetings where drug policies are debated, complaints are frequently expressed about the treatment of coca in the same category as cocaine, heroin, morphine amphetamines and other “hard” drugs. The complainants assert that “coca is not cocaine” and that it is unfair to classify coca, a nature given plant which has been used for millennia in the Andes without significant negative effects on users, in the same category as man made psychotropic drugs. They also argue that coca has manifold social and religious meanings in indigenous cultures, that coca is sacred and that the requirement of the1961 Single Convention demanding that Bolivia and Peru completely eradicate coca within 25 years is limiting Indigenous communities in their freedom to practice their religions. In most debates about drug interdiction, the views of those who oppose that approach are not accepted as legitimate. Indeed, “prohibitionists” demonize drugs and those who oppose drug policies in Latin America frequently demonize the United States as the imperialist power that imposes them. This dual polarization is a main obstacle to establish a meaningful policy debate aimed at broadening the policy consensus necessary for successful policy implementation. This essay surveys the status of coca in the United Nations Conventions, explains why it is confusing, and how a few changes would eliminate some of the sources of conflict and help organize and control licit coca markets in the Andes. The current disorganized and weakly controlled legal coca market in Peru has been analyzed to demonstrate its deficiencies and to illustrate possible improvements in international drug control policies. 2005-03 2012-09-24T14:42:49Z info:eu-repo/semantics/workingPaper info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion http://repository.urosario.edu.co/handle/10336/3879 eng http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/co/ info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess application/pdf Editorial Universidad del Rosario Universidad del Rosario. Facultad de Economía instname:Universidad del Rosario reponame:Repositorio Institucional EdocUR
score 11,383811