Bolivia Officially Withdrawn from UN Drug Convention

By Docta · Jan 4, 2012 · ·
  1. Docta
    Starting January 1, Bolivia will no longer answer to a major United Nations (UN) drug treaty. The withdrawal is a protest against the UN's classification of the coca leaf as an illegal substance, but it is unlikely to prompt a major revision of the treaty.

    Bolivia first announced intentions to withdraw from the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs in mid-2011. The petition became effective in 2012.

    It is the first country to abandon the UN narcotics treaty in 50 years, reports the BBC. The Convention mandates that signatory countries cooperate in tracing and seizing drugs, as well as extraditing traffickers.

    Nearly simultaneously, Bolivia asked the UN to be re-admitted to the Convention if the UN removes the statute which classifies the coca leaf as illegal. Used as the raw material to make cocaine, the coca leaf is widely used for traditional and medicinal purposes in the Andes.

    InSight Analysis

    According to EFE, the 190 countries who are party to the Convention have a year to consider passing Bolivia's request. It may only be passed with a two-thirds majority, meaning the treaty is unlikely to be modified and Bolivia may not opt back in.

    Defenders of Bolivia's decision have said the move does not represent a rejection of Bolivia's responsibility to fight drug trafficking. Organisms like the UN and the U.S. State Department have said the country is not doing enough to control the illicit coca trade.

    Despite these criticisms, it is unlikely that Bolivia's withdrawal from the Convention will affect the scale of drug trafficking inside the country. The most important effect is the symbolic rejection of the UN's classification of legal versus illegal substances.

    Monday, 02 January 2012

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  1. nitehowler
    I hope other countries stand up for themselves against these do gooden thugs!!!!!!!
  2. Exitlude
    Hmm. I'd be interested to know where the internal pressure came from for Bolivian officials to do this. It must have been prompted by the people's objection to coca leaf being illegal, but a government doing what the people want around drugs? Unheard of!
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^^ Evo Morales, Bolivias president, was a long time Coca farmer and is still heald of the cocalero trade union, which represents the coca leaf growers of Bolivia.
  4. C.D.rose
    Just as a fun fact, Mr. Morales has actually been known to provocatively chew coca leaves at international conferences as an expression of dissent against global drugs policies. Those leaves were transported in diplomatic bags, and as a head of state he of course is protected by diplomatic immunity.

    The internal situation of Bolivia is actually quite complicated, and I don't even understand half of it. I think that moves such as withdrawing from the UN convention have some symbolic value, but it won't trigger an "avalanche" of similar moves by other countries. The UN convention in question has more of a symbolic value anyway: the Netherlands have basically been violating some aspects of that convention for decades, and nothing has happened.
  5. helikophis
    This seems like a really hopeful sign. International bans on coca are an affront to American culture in particular and to good sense in general. I hope that other countries have the courage to stand up to prohibition and global empire in the future.
  6. dnb_coqui
    This is great news. More and more countries are discovering they too can loosen from the grips of the empire.
  7. storkfmny
    The US paid all of the other countries to join in on this world wide drug ban.
    Now that the "land of the free" is a tyranny out of control and broke, the US has lost respect as an authority. Other countries are sick of the US and will be going their own way, many will follow.
  8. Wanderer
    Interesting point and considering the US is borrowing money from China which it then hands out to support other nations and for various failed causes.

    Be well...
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