LA RAZON, LA RIOJA, LOS TIEMPOS (Bolivia)
COCHABAMBA - Bolivian President Evo Morales doesn't forget his roots. It's just that his happen to be in the agricultural production of coca, which also is the key ingredient in the production of cocaine. Morales has been elected for a new term as leader of the coca growers union, the Bolivian daily La Razon reported on Monday. It is a position he has held since 1996 when he rose to prominence as a defender of the rights of local farmers in the face of the U.S. led War on Drugs.
The Bolivian leader ended his acceptance speech in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba by declaring: "Long live coca! Death to the Yankees!" the press agency La Rioja reports.
According to Los Tiempos, Morales asked the Bolivian coca growers to try to avoid being assimilated into the narcotics trade, and called for better control over coca leaf production.
Bolivia is the world's third biggest producer of cocaine, after Colombia and Peru. Morales has led an unsuccessful campaign to decriminalize the chewing of coca leaves ("acullico") banned since the 1970's by the UN for the alkaloids it contains.