Have you ever listened to Hugo Chavez and thought to yourself: “That thug must be on something?”
Well, you were right. Via the Miami Herald (hat tip – reader Craig) comes Chavez’s admission that he chews coca–you know, that same stuff that gets refined into cocaine:
Venezuela’s controversial President Hugo Chávez has revealed that he regularly consumes coca — the source of cocaine — raising questions about the legality of his actions.
Chávez’s comments on coca initially went almost unnoticed, coming amid a four-hour speech to the National Assembly during which he made international headlines by calling on other countries to stop branding two leftist Colombian guerrilla groups as terrorists and instead recognize them as “armies.”
”I chew coca every day in the morning . . . and look how I am,” he is seen saying on a video of the speech, as he shows his biceps to the audience.
Chávez, who does not drink alcohol, added that just as Fidel Castro ”sends me Coppelia ice cream and a lot of other things that regularly reach me from Havana,” Bolivian President Evo Morales “sends me coca paste . . . I recommend it to you.”
It was not clear what Chávez meant. Indigenous Bolivians and Peruvians can legally chew coca leaves as a mild stimulant and to kill hunger. But coca paste is a semi-refined product — between leaves and cocaine — considered highly addictive and often smoked as basuco or pitillo.
”It is another symptom that [Chávez] has totally lost the concept of limits,” said Aníbal Romero, a political scientist with the Caracas Metropolitan University. “It shows Chávez is a man out of control.”