What puzzles me most is the objective of these factories: Get coca legalized. According to the article, these factories would manufacture coca tea, liquor and coca flour -I know. On January 2007, the plan is to start with the production of food, cosmetics and medicine.
Now... The rationale behind this Evo venture is showing that coca can be used for something different than cocaine and should therefore be legalized. But there is a very important question Evo is not taking in consideration: markets. First, Evo will have a problem just getting into new markets. What real medicine does use coca, for example? None. But let's assume for a moment that such a medicine has been developed in MAS' headquearters and exists allright. If this medicine is manufactured, will it get the seal of approval outside Bolivia? No. Same thing for food and cosmetics.
So, Evo will end up with a market comprising Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela. In the last two countries, their dictators will probably find a way to stick this production to their people, even though some studies have found plenty of evidence about how harmful regular coca consumption can be (if you can find it, the study is at CEDRO). In Bolivia, the market's too small (and already has legal coca) to make a difference in the plant's legal status. So, will these factories change something? Probably not. At least as far as the legal status of the plant goes.
I have already argued that Evo Morales' coca policy is nothing but a catch-22 trap (here). And my opinion since then has not changed. These factories are probably nothing but a way to justify his coca policy to the international community and a get-rich-quick scheme: I think we can safely conclude that these factories will be nothing but a way of transferring the little tax money that the government is able to get to the coca federations -which incidentally have Evo as their president. In other words, these factories will be the cow from which Evo and his hardcore followers get the milk.
Bolivia, Bolivien, Evo, Evo Morales