11 July 2012
Report of the Skype meeting of the European Association ‘Friends of the Coca Leaf’
Present: 7 members from Austria, Belgium, France and Spain
There is an initiative to organise a film festival on coca leaves in Europe later this year. All members of the association are invited to suggest an event in their country. What would be needed is a large room where we could show a film, accompanied (if desired) by a short explanation of the association and if possible with some Andean music, or food to a public of at least 30 people. There will be some budget available for making publicity material that we will prepare with the logo of the association.
People who are interested to help organising an event in their country are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org before mid August. Then the list of films will be selected and the programme will be ready in september. The festival would take place in october.
There are some problems with the shipments. From the first round of shipments of 30 packages, that were sent in april, about 1/3 did not arrive. The only one who can claim the compensation for these lost packages (the postal services are obliged to compensate us due to the fact that they were sent by recommended post) is the person who sent the packages. This process takes time. The second round of shipments seems to have arrived well. The third round of shipments, that should have left in June, is being blocked by difficulties in Peru (where some of these packages have been refused by the local postal office) and Bolivia (where communication problems have appeared).
Besides, the euro has devaluated in comparison with other currencies. This means that the costs that have to be paid to the producer will have to rise. On the other hand we are looking for ways to reduce the administrative costs related to the money transfer to South America. So it remains to be seen if we have to increase the price per package. So before making an appeal for a fourth round of shipments, first these issues need to be solved, to be sure that those members who have paid for their package, receive it.
Things are going slowly, but as they say, patience is the key to success.
3. Legal defense
No lawyer has been found yet who wishes to edit a legal defense for the goal of the association: to guarantee the right of importing a quantity of coca leaves for personal use into Europe. We will have to work out our own document, and continue to improve the draft that was made in may. The two main arguments are: we buy from the legal market, so we help to offer an alternative for growers in stead of the illegal market, and we promote the healthy use of coca leaves for medicinal, social and cultural purposes. All those who might be able (or know an expert in international drug legalisation) to contribute are wellcome to contact: email@example.com
People who like to write a contribution to the bulletin of the association, please contact us!
In short, we make progress, slowly but surely.
Let us know if you have questions or suggestions
The Board of the Association of Friends of the Coca Leaf
Julien – Baylen – Katlin – Beatriz
If you wish to be a member please see fill out the
(please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
YES, I WISH TO CONFIRM MY MEMBERSHIP OF THE ASSOCIATION “FRIENDS OF THE COCA LEAF”
I HAVE PAID MY ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEE FOR THE YEAR 2012*
I WILL MAKE A FIRST ORDER OF 150 GRAMMES OF ORGANIC COCA LEAVES FOR MY PERSONAL USE**
I ESTIMATE MY PERSONAL DEMAND AS … GRAMMES OF COCA LEAF PER YEAR (Your answer does not imply any commitment to purchase)
I AM AN ADULT
*Please pay your annual membership fee (25 euro) to the following bank account (payments are possible through Paypal too – please contact us):
IBAN BE02 3630 6318 5840
Att. Encod/Amigos, Antwerpen, Belgium
Ref: your email adress
**You will be informed on this first shipment and receive instructions for payment at the right moment.
REPORT OF THE FIRST ASSEMBLY OF THE
‘FRIENDS OF THE COCA LEAF’
10 SEPTEMBER 2011 – ANTWERPEN
Ludo den Aantrekker, Belgium
Marion Bouchaud, France
Rachid Bouziani, Marrocco/Belgium
Francis van Elsen, Belgium
Nelson Estrada, Bolivia/ Belgium
Baylen Greever, USA/ Belgium
Martine Hutsebaut, Belgium
Walter Lotens, Belgium
Beatriz Negrety Condori, Bolivia/ Belgium
Joep Oomen, Netherlands/ Belgium
Katlin Teras, Estonia/ Belgium
Julien Ureel, Belgium
Enid Arambulo, Peru/ Belgium
Alexandro Fernández, Bolivia / Belgium
Rene Fernandez, Bolivia/ Belgium
Maziel Mansilla, Bolivia/ Belgium
1. Approval of the statutes
The statutes were discussed. One addition to the proposed version was made concerning the objectives : contribute to an international legal framework for the fair trade of coca leaves. Afterwards the final version of the statutes was approved by the 12 founding members of the association. The yearly membership contribution is established at 25 euros.
2. Election of the first Steering Committee and Secretariat
The following people were elected as integrating members of the Steering Committee: Baylen Greever, Joep Oomen, Katlin Teras and Julien Ureel. Julien Uriel was assigned president, Katlin Terras secretary, Joep Oomen treasurer and Baylen Greever ordinary member of the Committee. The secretariat will function in Ploegstraat 27, 2018 Antwerpen, and will be staffed by Beatriz Negrety Condori and Joep Oomen.
These 5 people will be in charge of the first work plan, and will report regularly to the members.
3. Approval of the first work plan.
The following work plan was approved:
– Deposit of the statutes
Opening of a bank account
Identification of partners in the Andean region: organizations of coca producers or enterprises that produce coca leaves or legal derivates with the permission of corresponding authorities, that collaborate with one of the regional or national organisations of cocaproducers and that have initiated a process of ecological certification of the cultivation and/or production of derivates.
Signing of agreements with partners
Design and publication of the website in various languages.
On the website there will be a form for those who want to
become a member and make orders.
Afterwards, the orders and the payments will be collected and the cheapest way of making the transference will be used
We will start with a maximum of 150 grammes of coca leaves per person per week, for the cost of 15 euros (5 euro for the producer, 5 euros for the postal costs, 5 euros for administrative costs)
4. Global long term strategies
Once we have established this operational system, we will see what the responses will be. It is possible that we need to face legal action and then organising our defense will be the primary task of the association. The legal defense will be based on the violation (of international coca leaf prohibition) of 4 Conventions or Declarations of the UN on Human Rights, and the fact that this model is aiming at protecting puiblic health and at reducing the ilegal cocaine production.
If we are not prosecuted we can grow and start to invest in events to inform and promote the traditional culture around the coca leaf, we could even think of the promotion of sustainable tourism to coca producing regions.
On 18 June 2011, during a cultural event in Antwerp (Belgium) called the “Miracles of Pachamama“, the First European Association of Coca Leaf Consumers was established. Goal of the new association is to create a system for small scale distribution of coca leaves and their traditional derivates in Europe, according to the rules of fair trade and ecological agriculture.
The association ’Friends of the Coca leaf’ surges as a response to the concerns in the European civil society on the impact of anti-drig policies in general and of the ban on the coca leaf in particular. The association has the following objectives:
1. Improve the understanding in Europe of the Andean Amazonian coca leaf culture, counter the confusion between coca leaves and cocaine, and avoid the stigmatisation of consumers and producers of this plant in its natural state.
2. To defend the use of the coca leaf and its traditional derivates in the entire world as a contribution to public health, thanks to its high medicinal value.
3. To promote the creation of systems for the legal distribution of the coca leaf and its traditional derivates for the personal use of its members, by legal means and respecting the rules of fair trade, in co-operation with organisations of producers and social enterprises in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, who produce traditional derivates, respecting the current ecological and public health norms.