Evo Morales was elected to lead Bolivia this week. He's a coca farmer who believes in coca leaf.
And though he's been posturing against cocaine, it does make me wonder what would happen if a country like Bolivia just legalized and taxed production. What if they just said: "Yeah we grow Coca, and that's the official position of our government."
Morales is an interesting guy and his personal story has been a political asset in a country that regularly ranks as the poorest in South America, where more than 60 percent of the people live in poverty and 70 percent are indigenous. A Morales presidency breaks Bolivia's tradition of being led by Caucasian heads of state who hail from the country's elite.
He's built his campaign on bold promises to nationalize Bolivia's vast natural-gas resources and to legalize the cultivation of coca leaf, which is the prime ingredient in cocaine.
In Argentina last month at a summit of hemispheric leaders, Morales condemned U.S. policies, such as free-trade agreements and open markets, that he said exploited poor Latin America countries.
This will be interesting.