Storm in an Andean teacup
The Economist, 20 January 2011

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Tourists who visit Bolivia’s La Paz or Peru’s Cusco are routinely given welcome cups of coca tea to mitigate altitude sickness. For centuries, people who live in the high Andes have chewed coca leaves, whose alkaloids act as a mild stimulant. In 2009, Bolivia, where the new constitution protects coca as part of the country’s cultural heritage, proposed an amendment to the UN convention on narcotics that would remove the obligation to prohibit traditional uses of coca. Other South American countries agree. Coca however is also the source plant for the illegal narcotic cocaine. The USA have opposed the amendment proposed by Bolivia and Bolivia is considering pulling out of the convention. Read the article … Read an article by AFP, 20 January 2011 …