Bolivia chooses to withdraw from UN Convention on Drugs!

Big news, so far apparently not reported in U.S. media

Bolivia abandona la convención de la ONU contra las drogas

La Paz, 22 jun (EFE).- El Congreso boliviano aprobó hoy, a petición del presidente Evo Morales, la denuncia de la convención de la ONU contra los estupefacientes de 1961, como protesta porque el organismo no ha despenalizado el masticado de la hoja de coca.

La Cámara de Diputados, controlada por el oficialismo, ratificó en primera y segunda instancia la ley de abandono de la convención, tras leer una carta de Morales, líder de sindicatos de cultivadores de coca, base para la producción de cocaína, y escuchar explicaciones del canciller, David Choquehuanca.

“La convención del 1961 prohíbe el acullicu (masticado de coca). Si nosotros no hacemos esta denuncia, nuestros hermanos no van a poder ejercer esta práctica ancestral”, dijo Choquehuanca.

Google’s imperfect, but useful translation:

La Paz, June 22 (EFE) .- Bolivian Congress today approved the request of President Evo Morales, the denunciation of the UN convention against drugs in 1961, as a protest because the agency has not decriminalized chewed leaf coca.

The Chamber of Deputies, controlled by the ruling, upheld on first and second instance the law leaving the convention, after reading a letter from Morales, leader of coca growers unions, the basis for cocaine production, and listen to explanations Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca.

“The convention of 1961 prohibits acullicu (coca chewing). If we do not make this claim, our brothers will not be able to practice this ancient practice,” said Choquehuanca. [...]

… the chief deputies, Edwin Tupa, defended the move, noting that defends “the dignity of Bolivians” and “the sacred leaf.”

He added that critics of the measure are in favor of “Empire (USA), which unfortunately wants to continue as a narcotic to the coca leaf.”

[Thanks, Ben]

Update: Apparently still needs Senate approval.

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