The drink, Coca Cola, made from the coca leaf and named after the indigenous Colla people from Bolivia’s highlands, went on sale this week across the country.
It is made from the coca leaf, a mild stimulant that wards off fatigue and hunger and has been used in the Andes for thousands of years in cooking, medicine and religious rites. Coca is also the raw ingredient of cocaine, the narcotic that is the primary target of the US-led ”war on drugs”.
Bolivia tried to wipe out the leaf at Washington’s request. However, that was before Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian and coca grower, was elected president, arguing coca as a crop has legitimate uses.
The socialist government vowed zero tolerance for cocaine but expelled drug enforcement administration agents, accusing them of spying.
The government encouraged Bolivian companies to use coca to make teas, syrups, toothpaste, liqueurs, sweets and cakes. It backed Coca Cola from the beginning.
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