Bolivia Considers Enshrining 'Coca' in Constitution

Some working on the new Bolivian constitution want to prohibit foreign companies from selling products in their country that use the word coca in their name, such as Coca-Cola.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Coca-Cola may have to find itself a new name, at least, in Bolivia. This week, the Coca Committee, a group that's advising the assembly that's rewriting the Bolivian constitution, endorsed a measure that would ban foreign companies from using the name, coca, in their products.

The plant native to Bolivia not only provides the central ingredient of cocaine, but is held sacred by many indigenous groups there. The locals also chew its leaves to ward off hunger and boost energy at high altitude.

Margarita Teran of the Coca Committee says that she is dismayed that Coke can sell soft drinks around the world while her country is prohibited from exporting products made with coca.

Bolivian President Evo Morales would like to pursue the United Nations to allow Bolivia to export products containing coca, including toothpaste, facial moisturizer and herbal tea.

Some herb in that tea.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Coming up, when the voice of God says, quiet on the set, action, and roll 'em.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.