Cocaine: Bolivia leader slams America


President Evo Morales of Bolivia lashed out at the United States Saturday, saying it had no right to label his government lax on fighting drug trafficking when the real problem is Americans’ zeal for getting high.

On Friday, the United States kept Bolivia, as well as Myanmar and Venezuela, on its drug trafficking “black list.” For the fourth year running, Washington accused all three countries of having “failed demonstrably” to fight the drug trade.

“The United States has no moral right, authority or ethics to talk about the fight against drug trafficking because the origin of drug trafficking is essentially in the United States,” Morales said at an event in the mountain city of Oruro.

“If they want authority, why don’t they eradicate the market (for drugs)?” he asked.

He challenged the US government to state by what percent it has managed to reduce drug consumption, which he said is rising in America, and give information on money laundering in banks.

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The United Nations says 31,000 hectares of land in Bolivia are used to grow coca leaves. Of them, some 12,000 are recognized as legal to grow the leaves for traditional uses such as chewing it to fight altitude sickness, make tea and carry out traditional Andean religious rites.

The Interior Ministry said Saturday it is on track to meet its yearly goal for eradicating illegal crops, saying it had wiped out 7,786 hectares of coca bush as of September 12.

Authorities also seized 31 tons of cocaine, most of it from Peru, it added.

The United Nations says Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine, after Peru and Colombia.

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