I choose you, coca chew! (photo gallery)


In Bolivia, indigenous activists have been maintaining a massive coca-leaf-chewing vigil as part of a protest against an international ban on the traditional practice.

Hundreds of people chewed the leaf outside the US embassy in La Paz and in other cities across the country. Bolivia wants to amend a UN drugs treaty that bans chewing coca, which is an ancient tradition in the Andes. But the US has said it will veto the amendment because coca is also the raw material for making cocaine.

BBC News.

Photographs, above and below: Indigenous (Aymara) coca growers chewing coca and offering it to armed soldiers during a "Dia Nacional del Pijcheo de hoja de Coca" (National Coca Leaf Chewing Day), a rally to promote the chewing of coca leaves and its industrialization. The event took place in front of the U.S. embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, on January 26, 2011. Bolivia is the third largest producer of coca leaves in the world. (REUTERS/David Mercado)