"High" in the Andes - Morales wins Bolivian election
The votes are in in Bolivia's presidential election, and ultra-leftist coca farmer Evo Morales has won. This is bad news not just for the U.S., but for any country trying to keep kids off drugs.
Now, I'm not really bothered by the fact that yet another radical had been elected president of a Latin American country. While I am disappointed, I am not surprised. The world community is already dealing with whole slew of Fidel Castro wannabes throughout the region, and yet another would not be a major problem. However, Evo Morales is more than just a raging socialist, he is also a lifelong advocate for the cultivation of the coca plant (as he is himself a coca farmer, or cocalero).
If you are not familiar with the coca plant, its leaves are the raw material from which cocaine is distilled; and many Latin American governments (with the help of the U.S.) are working to decrease coca production. Now, I will be the first to acknowledge that there are legal uses for coca leaves. For example, Coca-Cola is flavored with compounds extracted from coca (although it no longer contains actual cocaine) and coca leaves play a very important role in indigenous cultures in the Andes (they are chewed as a mild stimulant, and used in many rituals). However, these uses do not account for the vast amount of coca production in Andean countries. THERE IS ONLY ONE USE FOR A COCA CROP AS LARGE AS BOLIVIA'S, COCAINE PRODUCTION.
MORALES HAS PLEDGED TO HALT BOLIVIAN COOPERATION WITH THE U.S.-LED "WAR ON DRUGS", AND CEASE ALL EFFORTS TO CURTAIL COCA PRODUCTION. Is he interested in compromise? No! Is he interested in keeping drugs out of the hands of kids worldwide? No! Does he seem to realize the dangers of cocaine at all? No! (I have heard that he actually wants cocaine legalized, but I cannot confirm this.)
Let me put this as simply as I can: EVO MORALES IS ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS MEN IN THE WORLD TODAY! I realize that he says that coca is nothing more than a medicinal herb; but let's face it, Indians can only chew so many leaves. The main purpose of Bolivia's coca crop is to get people high, and Evo Morales' policies WILL cause a drastic increase in drug production.
FOR U.S. READERS: This is just another reason why we should beef up security on our borders. The election of Evo Morales will cause a marked increase in drug traffic over the U.S.-Mexico border (because cocaine will start flooding out of Bolivia). IF YOU WANT TO KEEP KIDS OFF DRUGS, DARE TO SECURE THE BORDER!
Note: I have nothing against Bolivian coca farmers as people, my beef is with people like Morales who encourage the production of coca rather than other crops. The best way to halt cocaine production might be to offer coca farmers subsidies to produce other crops (I usually don't beleive in subsidies, but I'll make an exception here).