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'Death To Yankees!' Evo Morales Battle Cry After Coca Growers Union Vote

LA RAZON, LA RIOJA, LOS TIEMPOS (Bolivia)

Worldcrunch

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.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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