Coca prohibition in historical perspective

Alexander Edward Eadie
2019 unpublished
A great quantity of literature has covered the history of cocaine and the development of the international narcotics control regime. These accounts have included worthy preludes on the long history of coca, its primary precursor, which has been grown and consumed as a traditional crop and important cultural artefact for millennia in its heartland in the Andes. Few English-language accounts, however have taken coca historiography as a focus of research per se. Fewer still have fully addressed
more » ... plant's development from divine endowment of the Incas to illegal drug crop of the cartels. This text seeks to address this gap by combining the development of coca's cultural role in the region with the history of the international drug prohibition regime, largely covering the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. To illustrate the relevance of these two periods to one another, this text also investigates the contemporary challenges that coca prohibition has presented to the Plurinational State of Bolivia and its efforts to have traditional consumption of the crop recognised at the United Nations (UN). Using primary sources of the earliest Spanish colonial chroniclers, as well as secondary analysis from more recent literature, chapter one investigates the plant's cultural transformation in light of the arrival of the Spanish colonisers, their discovery of the region's mineral wealth and the coca debate that ensued. Chapter two, using mainly secondary sources and UN treaty texts and reports, follows the progression of the prohibition regime from its unique focus on opium to its contemporary, near-universal approach to drugs prohibition, including traditional consumption of the coca leaf. The third chapter uses both academic works and media reporting, as well as further UN material, to investigate the effects of the regime on Bolivian coca politics and the country's petitions to the UN. In doing so, I seek to reveal a consistent pattern of denied local autonomy afforded to coca's traditional cultivators in the A [...]
doi:10.25365/thesis.60551 fatcat:lwzbky7tczh4pkmbd3dbna6oaq