The Enigmatic Evanescence of Coca from Ecuador

Lynn Hirschkind


The coca plant, native to the tropical and subtropical Americas,
seems to have disappeared from Ecuador. How and
why did this occur? A combination of colonial religious and
civil prohibitions, native demographic collapse, competition
from other crops and the infeasibility of mining contrived
against coca. More recently, legislation calling not
only for prohibition but eradication of the plant under the
auspices of an anti-narcotics campaign has pushed it into
obscurity, where it will likely remain.

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