Coca growth up in Bolivia, Peru, claims U.S. State Department

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Saturday, March 4, 2006 File:Coca.jpg

Erythroxylum coca
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According to a U.S. State Department report, coca growth is on the rise in Bolivia and Peru, and is a cause for concern. In a statement, the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs said, "We are concerned about the inability thus far of Bolivia's new president to articulate whether or not he will allow coca eradication and U.S. counter-narcotics assistance to continue."

Evo Morales was elected President in December, 2005. At the time of his electoral victory, Morales claimed that he would support coca growth, but not for use in producing cocaine.

This puts Bolivia and Peru at risk of losing financial aid if they fail to meet international narcotics agreements, according to the U.S. State Department report. The report is part of the framework on which the U.S. establishes its list of major drug-trafficking and drug-producing countries.