Many myths surround coca. Every day press accounts around the world use the word coca in their headlines, when in fact they refer to cocaine. TNI's Drugs and Democracy Team exposes the myths and reality surrounding the coca leaf.
The coca leaf has been chewed and brewed for tea for centuries in the Andean region – and does not cause any harm and is probably beneficial to human health. Yet the leaf is treated as if it is comparable to cocaine or heroin. The inclusion of the coca leaf in the list of narcotic drugs raises questions about the logic behind the current system of classification under the UN conventions. TNI believes we can find a more culturally sensitive approach to plants with psychoactive or mildly stimulant properties, and should distinguish more between problematic, recreational and traditional uses of psychoactive substances.
Social movements need to grapple with not only building successful political parties and winning power but also with using that power strategically to best implement change. This report examines the critical role played by Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) government employees and the challenges they faced in advancing a social and economic justice agenda within Bolivia. How can progressive government employees remain true to their political ideology while ensuring the execution of a professional and fair public bureaucracy?
After more than a decade of processes that brought hope to the progressive world, several developments in Latin America in 2016 suggest we have reached the end of a cycle of left-wing victories in the region. This is a crisis that offers pointers and important lessons for us all, about the dynamics of social transformation and about ourselves as activists.
Getting to the Briceño region in the heart of Antioquia requires an excellent vehicle, and a lot of time and luck. The week before our journey there in mid-July, heavy rains wiped out part of the road between Briceño and Pueblo Nuevo, stranding folks on one side or the other. We were lucky on the day of our journey – no rain. But it took a six-hour drive to get from Medellín to Briceño, and another three hours of sometimes harrowing curves to Pueblo Nuevo. The dirt-road drive itself was a stark reminder of the challenges Colombia faces as it seeks to eliminate 50,000 hectares of coca this year through the crop substitution program, Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito (National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops), known by the acronym PNIS.
A new phase of ‘foreignization’ and land grabbing is occurring via value-chain relations in Bolivia. Exogenous forces from some BRICS and MICs are penetrating Bolivia’s countryside and drastically changing social relations of production, reproduction, property and power.
'Climate smart agriculture' has become the buzz phrase at high level international policy discussions. Will it be the latest manifestation of greenwashing of unsustainable industrial agriculture or the basis for developing real, grassroots-led, resilient food systems?
Giant corporations have taken control of our food. In the last two years, these companies have begun the process of merging and re-arranging themselves into just four colossal corporations. The larger these companies grow, the less we can control them. And the less control we have, the harder it is for us to build the kind of food system that more and more of us want: one that recognizes the value of people, respects the planet, and provides decent, dignified work. How did this happen, and what can we do about it?