Cocaine is derived from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca , a shrub native to South America.
Moments of grace come easier if you're acullicando, as the descendants of the Tiwanaku empire of Bolivia and Peru call chewing coca .
While they concede that some of the coca they produce is bought by drug traffickers, they show little remorse.
Over these six months, the government will assess how much demand there is for legal uses of coca .
As part of a U.S. funded plan, farmers have been paid $2,500 for each acre of hectare of Bolivian coca destroyed.
In others, village growers simply find it more remunerative to sell coca to drug dealers than to market pineapples at the local mercado.
The idea is to try and drive back the guerrillas and move in to spray the coca and poppies.
The crop-substitution programs begun by the government offer crops to replace the coca .
More than 14,800 tons of toxic chemicals are dumped into the Amazon jungle every year as traffickers turn coca into raw cocaine paste.
The Dutch colonial houses were graceful and large, set back amid cocas , kanary, and nutmeg trees, while the rest of the small town lay half hidden in the foliage of palms.