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U.S. Just Says NO to Bolivia's Proposal to End Ban on Coca Leaf Chewing and Cola

A bottle of Coca Brynco soda sits on display on top of coca leaves at the the Soda Pacena private soda company in El Alto, Bolivia, Friday Jan. 14, 2011.  Coca Brynco is a Bolivian soda made with coca leaves. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

A bottle of Coca Brynco soda sits on display on top of coca leaves at the the Soda Pacena private soda company in El Alto, Bolivia, Friday Jan. 14, 2011. Coca Brynco is a Bolivian soda made with coca leaves. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)  (AP2011)

It is official. The United States filed a letter with the United Nations on Wednesday objecting to de-listing coca chewing leaf  from the prohibited list just days after Bolivian President Evo Morales debuted the new Coca-Leaf drink: Coca Brynco.

U.S. officials have said they hope more countries will file similar letters before the U.N's January 31 deadline to raise objections to the Andean nation's proposed amendment.

The official said the United States was concerned that the proposal would weaken the integrity of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs by removing language obligating signers to prohibit coca leaf-chewing.

Bolivia, like neighboring Peru, permits limited cultivation of coca for legal use in cooking, folk medicine and Andean religious rites. Unadulterated coca is a mild stimulant that counteracts the effects of altitude sickness and suppresses hunger pangs.

At the launch of the new coca leaf-based soft drink in Bolivia, Coca Brynco, Johnny Vargas, the production and quality control manager for bottling firm Tipo says about half of the 25,000 bottles of the drink that had been produced had been distributed nationwide.

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Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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