Pubdate: Tue, 30 Dec 2003
Source: Jefferson Post, The (NC)
Copyright: 2003 The Jefferson Post
Author: Jim Hightower
Note: Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Thieves In High Places: 
They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time To Take It Back," on sale now from 
Viking Press.
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


Time for another Gooberhead Award, presented periodically to those in
the news who have their tongues running a hundred miles an hour ...
but who forgot to put their brains in gear.

Today's award is shared by the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia and his
higherups who are in charge of America's screwy drug policy. What's
screwy in this case is Washington's insistence that our homegrown
cocaine problem can be solved if only impoverished farmers in Bolivia
and elsewhere can be forced to stop growing coca. But these farmers
point out that - Hello! - coca is not cocaine. It's just a leaf crop that
they've been growing and consuming for centuries, since before there
was a USofA, with the leaves themselves simply chewed by the native
people as a safe and mild stimulant - much as coffee is used by us
Americans every day.

Chemicals manufactured in the United States are what's used to
turn this natural leaf into a horribly addictive and destructive
powder. But rather than focus on the Latin and U.S. kingpins who make,
distribute, finance, and profit so enormously from this processed
drug, the Gooberheads in charge of drug policy and Latin American
diplomacy have been pounding on the poor coca farmers.

They've sprayed poisons on hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying
not only the coca crops, but also the livelihoods of peasant families.
Then, when Evo Morales, the foremost advocate of these families in
Bolivia, ran for president, our diplomats imperiously tried to have
him expelled from the Bolivian Congress and declared that his election
would be considered "a hostile act" against the United States by the
Bolivian people!

Unsurprisingly, this further fueled the people's explosive anger at
our government - yet David Greenlee, the U.S. ambassador there, blithely
declared that, "We think on balance that our policies...have been
positive things for Bolivia. We don't think it is a problem."

Hey, Mr. Gooberhead, I don't think you have a clue!
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake