Are you looking for fair trade cocaine? Unfortunately, we have to disappoint you. There is no fair trade cocaine.
The trade of cocaine and its repressive policy cause many problems in the global South. A line of cocaine tells a lot of bloody stories, in which crime, corruption and ecological destruction are standing out. The War on Drugs has failed; despite prohibition the demand and supply keep increasing and the countries en route to Europe and North-America, that are involved in production and the trade, are dealing with the social disruptive consequences of violence. Due to the drug violence, 41 of the 50 most violent cities in the world are located in Latin America.
Fair Trade Coke is a foundation based in the Netherlands which informs about the problems of the cocaine trade and is looking for constructive alternatives for the War on Drugs. In search of more humane and sustainable solutions, Fair Trade Coke researches the origins of the prohibition policy and the impact on societies and communities and considers the possibilities of regulating the production and consumption of cocaine. An important aspect of this process is involving the public. Therefore, Fair Trade Coke regularly writes articles and organizes events, to share its outcomes.
Coca is a healthy plant! It contains a lot of minerals, vitamins and phosphor and has medicinal values. So why are we destroying the plant? And why are we criminalizing the people who proudly cultivate the plant that is so beneficial for our health?
As Fair Trade Coke deems an international market of coca products a constructive alternative towards tackling violence and corruption, we should make use of the possibilities of the plant, rather than focus on the dangers of coca (in other words: producing cocaine). Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the knowledge and practice of coca farmers. Being cultivators of a nutritious plant with medicinal values, coca farmers are actual heroes! Thus: cocalero heroes!
In theory, Bolivia’s regulation policy of coca cultivation is a development Fair Trade Coke embraces. Regulating the cultivation of coca offers a humane, sustainable alternative opposed to the repressive and destructive militarization policy acted out on countries where coca grows. Bolivia withdrew itself from the Single Convention on Narcotics and allows 22,000 ha to be cultivated legally. By means of social control it would prevent coca cultivation for cocaine and enable a market for coca products. In reality, the government is betwixt between maintaining national support and the international demand for cocaine. While some profit from the policy, there are others who are innocent victims.
In Franz Tamayo coca has been cultivated for centuries and coca has played ever since an important economic, social and medicinal role. Despite profiling as an indigenous, a socialist and a coca farmer, under Evo Morales his governance, the coca plantations of this province are destroyed, a province that is acknowledged by law as a traditional zone.
Unlike what most Westerners think, coca is healthy, not dangerous. It is a nutritious plant with medicinal values. Unfortunately, the Single Convention of ’61 states that cultivating coca is a criminal act. The Bolivian government officially withdrew from this universal law in 2011 and allows a maximum of 22,000 ha of coca to be cultivated. Meaning that the government still has to eradicate the surplus.
But does the government choose to destroy the coca plantations
of its supporters or opponents?
The following video demonstrates the impact of the eradication of coca plantations in Franz Tamayo, Bolivia: