REGIONAL MEETING OF THE INDEPENDENT GLOBAL COMMISION (IGC)
THE COCA LEAF AND ITS GROWERS
The coca and its growers
1 We deem it necessary to articulate the Andean Amazonian countries’ experiences with the coca leaf as well as coca peasants' mobilizations; we suggest that the best means to share these experiences would be in the midst of the Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers, founded in La Paz in March 1991.
2 We demand the immediate release of Andean Amazon Region's coca growers and social representatives Claudio Ramírez de Bolivia, Pacho Cortés de Colombia y Nelson Palomino del Perú. We condemn the criminalization of peasant movements under the pretext of the war on drugs and we denounce the persecution and incrimination of coca leaders, indigenous and peasant communities for standing up in defense of their communities' fundamental freedoms.
3 We declare the coca leaf, the sacred leaf, the Andean Amazon peoples' symbol of sovereignty and identity. We defend coca as an integral part of Andean Amazonian biodiversity, a fundamental element of our ancestral identity and of our communities' social cohesion. Because of its nature and characteristics, we demand that the coca leaf be excluded from the lists of narcotics, banned due to anti-indigenous and psychiatric prejudices, by the United Nations 1961 Convention.
4 We condemn military and criminalizing anti-narcotics policy and, above all, we reject chemical and biological fumigation as well as forced eradication of coca crops and of other of nature's plants such as marijuana and poppy. We propose that the civilian population be consulted through a referendum on whether they agreed or not with fumigation and eradication measures.
5 We propose that an Indigenous Council be instituted to instruct, supervise, guide and control the use of the coca leaf according to ancestral practices and its beneficial legal industrialization and marketing. We demand a serious independent investigation on the use given to national and international funding invested in “alternative development” programs and projects as well as a critical balance report regarding reduction strategies for crops used for illicit purposes.
6 We propose promoting the industrialization and national and international marketing of the coca leaf. We defend the legal coca market with the view of preventing the use of agrochemicals and fertilizers to protect our health and environment. We propose that national and international campaigns be carried out to raise awareness regarding the fact that coca is not the same as cocaine; that coca growers are not criminals; and that coca consumption cannot in any way be considered drug addiction.
7 We second the Bolivian delegation’s proposal to meet once again between the 15th and 22nd of October in La Paz under the banner of the Coca and Sovereignty campaign; and to join the Coca Producers and Consumers Meeting is to be held from the 15th to the 16th of October in the same city.
8 Considering the drift effect that coca fumigation in Colombian has on the Ecuadorian people, we invite indigenous and peasant leaders from Ecuador to take part in the Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers. Furthermore, given the significant traditional consumption of coca and the respect with which coca is regarded by hundreds of inhabitants of Northern Argentina in Chile, we invite them to join this movement in defense of our integral and sacred plant.
9 We express our solidarity with peasants and other who work on the marihuana plantations in Brazil since they are peasants like ourselves who grow this plant out of need and because of mistaken agricultural policies and forced by conditions of near-slavery. We reject and question the militarization of drug policy which is being implemented by the Brazilian government because of its effects on human rights and against indigenous communities. We invite coca growers from Ipadú Brazil so that their leaders might take part in the meetings at the Andean Council of coca leaf producers.
10 This Commission abides by the ways, uses and meaning given by ancestral indigenous coca growers in Colombia and rejects criminalization of small peasant growers as well as accusations of narcotics trafficking made against people who are against fumigation, as in the case of Luz Perly Cordoba, one more of the lists of leaders detained. We are asking the Colombian government to consult and act in concert with the affected populations and for social investment instead of dealing with coca growers’ social and economic problems through military measures. We reject the Colombian government’s recent declaration as to the effect of expropriating lands where coca is to be found. We believe this threat is aimed at expulsing the peoples inhabiting the Amazon region of Colombia.
11 News versions to the effect that the Sierra Nevada’s growers would be cultivating a variety of coca, dubbed Super Coca due to its high alkaloid content and resistance to fumigation could correspond to strategy to misinform and better justify intensifying fumigation and introducing more potent chemical formulas and other herbicides as is happening in Argentina with the growing number out of transgenic crops and their ensuing resistance to weeds.
12 We have heard the Peruvian delegation’s accusation regarding chemical fumigation and the use of fungi in that country even though the law forbids it and growers, plants and animals have been feeling their effect for several years now. Because of this, coca in growers leaders represented in this Forum advocate for the need for serious and independent scientific studies on these impacts and reject the study recently done by the Peruvian government because of its biased nature as it was financed by the US government.
We appeal to the people, organizations, civil society and academics of the United States to take a an interest in coca growers reality, its causes, and the negative effects of US anti-narcotics policy on the peoples in the Andean Amazonian so that together we may find answers to these problems and influence policies which address Latin American issues.
14 We agree to submit the conclusions and agreements of this roundtable to the Independent Global Commission (IGC) constituted in Cartagena and to back attempts at reforming substantial changes to UN Dirg Conventions, particularly as refers to the Coca Leaf and its growers.
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