Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cola without Coca

Evo Morales and the Bolivian coca-leaf farmers don't like the idea that the Coca Cola company uses the word "coca" as a brand. Thus the populist president demands, in his position of leader of the country and leader of the coca farmers, the Coca Cola Company to drop the word "Coca" from its name, as well as from its products' names.
The reason to demand this is simple: Coca Cola is a company that doesn't commercialize Coca leaf, and as such, it shouldn't use the name.
Whether Coca Cola utilizes coca leaves to produce its flagship product is a mystery. They won't disclose that information, as that would reveal part of the mysterious secret recipe of the coke. But still, the Bolivian government doesn't want them to use the name.
Is that a valid demand? The Bolivian coca farmers and government are convinced that it is, and they're seriously considering to start an international campaign to force Coca Cola to change that name. "They [the international community] don't let us industrialize the coca leaf and for that reason we think that they [international companies], Coca Cola for example, shouldn’t use the name for its products", complained Margarita Terán, a member of Morales' government.
The request goes much beyond the simple fact of renaming brands. Bolivian authorities will also take advantage of their (likely doomed to failure) campaign to demand the coca leaf to be removed from the UN's Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Bolivians argue that coca has medical properties (which are currently being investigated by Cuban scientists); maybe it's because of that reason that the number of illegal coca plantations has grown, the amount of cocaine laboratories has more than doubled, and the efforts to eliminate irregular coca plantations have reached a record low in Bolivia during the years that Morales has been president.
Will their project achieve any success?

With some information from EFE Agency


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