Bolivian President Evo Morales plans to put the coca back in cola with a new coca-infused carbonated energy drink slyly dubbed Coca Colla. While the product’s packaging will be red with a swoosh like Coca-Cola, the name “Colla” is not just a pun, but also references the traditional word for Bolivia’s Aymara people in the Quechua tongue. Officials say the drink will hit the market in April. Production will either be run by the government, the coca growers, or as a joint cooperative between the two. Bolivia already markets coca toothpaste, sweets and other legal products.
Morales says some 10 million people in the Andes chew coca leaf, which he calls “sacred,” and has sought to overturn United Nations efforts to ban the practice. Under Bolivia’s new constitution, coca is recognized both as a “cultural heritage” and a “renewable resource.” In 2008, Morales booted the US Drug Enforcement Administration out of the country, saying he would seek the help of other countries to fight drug trafficking. (Los Tiempos de Cochabamba, Feb. 14; BlackBook, Feb. 10)
See our last post on Bolivia