Friday, June 7, 2013

The Coca Museum

The Coca Museum
I happened upon this 'Coca Museum' in today's mercado campesino on Plaza Bolivar. Museum organizer organizer William Morales.William Morales, a local musicion, said the museum is a community project, created in cooperation with the Museo de la Coca in La Paz, Bolivia, which they set up at different community events.
No, that's only cal, a ground stone or shellfish shell,
which is mixed with coca leaves to bring out their
active ingredients. It's held by museum
 

It caught my eye because for a long time about the idea of creating a coca museum here, altho mine would also examine the War on Drug's violence and arguments for and against prohibition.

Museum organizer William Morales said the goal is to 'sensitize' people about coca leaves, which have been often demonized. Until a few years ago, the government ran 'anti-drug' campaigns which called the coca bush 'the plant that kills.'

'Prophecy of La Coca.' The supposed indigenous
prophet said that the leaf would be a blessing
for indigenous Americans, but a curse for outsiders.
Of course, the coca leaf and cocaine are two completely different things. Traditional Andean cultures have religious, medicinal and dietary uses for the coca leaf. Europeans, after all, turned the leaves into an addictive drug. Nevertheless, the coca leaf remains on the United Nations' list of controlled substances (for every nation except Bolivia).

But I'd like to see a permanent Coca Museum somewhere in La Candelaria, close to the hotels and hostels where tourists party with cocaine ignorant about both coca's deep roots in Andean culture and the damage which drug money and the War on Drugs have created across the region. My Coca Museum would include documentary information of the coca leaf's traditional uses, cocaine's origins and uses and the story of drug prohibition: what have been its impacts? Is it good or bad? How can society deal with addiction and its impacts?

(Something about the lighting turned the photos red.)



Poporos used to grind cal to mix with coca leaves. 

'Coca leaf isn't white, it isn't black, it is green.'

'Coca leaf, from Satanization to Comprehension.'


'Coca leaf's health benefits.'

' Coca leaves kill hunger.'

A coca bush seedling.

Coca soap.

Brazilian President Evo Morales on coca leaf as food.




By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

2 comments:

Stuart Oswald said...

Got my bags searched on leaving Colombia and entering the UK with a box of coca tea in my luggage. Kept stum as wasn't sure on the legalities. They never noticed it, even after ripping my bags apart for hours. Still have a few tea bags left in London. Mind, I didn't think much of the tea though.

Miguel said...

A few years ago I carried coca tea, crackers and wine back to the US in my bags. I was really nervous the whole way, but nothing happened - except that when I opened my bags in California the wine bottles had broken, soaking my clothes with coca wine.

I've heard that drug sniffing dogs are not actually trained to detect cocaine itself, but the chemicals used to make the drug.

Mike