Bolivia's coca growers are taking on an American soft-drink icon.


LA PAZ, Bolivia–The farmers want the word “Coca” dropped by Coca-Cola. They argue the potent shrub belongs to the cultural heritage of the Andean nation, where the coca leaf infuses everyday life and is sacred to many.

A commission of coca industry representatives, are urging the government to demand that the beverage giant take “Coca” out of its name. The commission is part of an effort led by President Evo Morales to rehabilitate the image of the plant. It’s been used in the Andes for millennia, but is better known internationally as the base ingredient of cocaine.

A spokesman for the billion-dollar soft drink giant said they just won another law suit involving the word ‘Coke’.
” The National Coke Producers Association, who change coal into coke fuel claimed that we misuse the word coke in our ads and it confuses the ‘real thing’ with their fuel, but the judge decided in our favor.” he explained.

Coca Cola will have a more difficult case as it is taken on by the multi-million dollar Bolivian cocaine interests.

Jorge Villanova, President of the giant Bolivian cocaine producer,
‘Contrabandistas de Bolivia, S.A.’ said that relations between his company and Coca Cola deteriorated in 1923, when Coca Cola removed cocaine, which was grown in Boliva, from its product. “They should have removed ‘Coca’ from the product’s name, but they continued to use it to this day, misrepresenting their drink,” he said, ” But since we have almost as large sales in the U.S.A. as they do, we have plenty of money to fight them.”

Coca-Cola released a statement saying its trademark is “the most valuable and recognized brand in the world” and is protected under Bolivian law.

Benjie “Uzi” Tyrone, who sells crack cocaine in New York’s East Bronx said he was unaware of the situation between Bolivia and Coca Cola. “All I know is that a Haitian guy, Pierre, sells it to me from the back of his Mercedes…. I’m just trying to make an honest living.”