Drug Policy

Coke Is It for Hugo Chavez

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Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez reveals the secret of some of his strength: He chews coca, the source of cocaine, "every day in the morning." He also named his connection--Bolvian prez Evo Morales (the two are pictured here).

From the Miami Herald:

''I chew coca every day in the morning . . . and look how I am,'' he is seen saying on a video of the speech, as he shows his biceps to the audience.

Chávez, who does not drink alcohol, added that just as Fidel Castro ''sends me Coppelia ice cream and a lot of other things that regularly reach me from Havana,'' Bolivian President Evo Morales "sends me coca paste . . . I recommend it to you.''

It was not clear what Chávez meant. Indigenous Bolivians and Peruvians can legally chew coca leaves as a mild stimulant and to kill hunger. But coca paste is a semi-refined product -- between leaves and cocaine -- considered highly addictive and often smoked….

Morales is the longtime head of a Bolivian coca-growers' union and is known to chew coca in public, even during cabinet meetings, since he took office. Bolivia limits the coca acreage in an effort to control supplies of coca leaf that wind up being refined into cocaine….

This is not the first time that the president praised the properties of coca leaves. During a visit to a communal kitchen in western Caracas in early 2006, with Uruguayan President Tabaré Vásquez, Chávez suggested using the kitchen's ovens to bake bread made from a special coca-based flour.

''We could try that here, as part of that effort to de-Satanize a product that our indigenous people have been producing for centuries,'' he said.

I'm with Chavez on "de-Satanizing" coca. But when you agree with the guy on anything, even the time of day, it's time to take a hit of something.

Whole story here.

reason on Chavez here. On Morales here.