INZA, Colombia, April 12 (UPI) -- An Indian tribe in Colombia seems set to make a consumer winner out of its Coca Sek despite the cocaine link to cocoa leaves from which the cola is made.
The soft drink is sold by the Nasa community in the remote mountain village of Inza in southern Colombia, reports The Los Angeles Times. Coca-Sek, whose syrup is made by boiling cocoa leaves, is described in promotion materials as a carbonated, citrus-flavored drink which is "more than an energizer."
By this year's end, the Nasa hopes to sell Coca-Sek nationwide, the Times said.
But Coca-Sek has stirred up controversy for several reasons including concerns about drug traffickers coming into the business and that of sovereignty over the drink claimed by the Nasa. Cocoa is also produced in neighboring countries. Even the Colombian government is concerned that coca leaves destined for soft drink use could be diverted to illegal drug making, says the report.
Gelmis Chate, president of the Nasa council, told the newspaper that cocaine, also derived from cocoa leaves, is "foreign to our culture and is an invention of Western man."
"Coca permits man to communicate with nature, and nature with man," said Fabiola Pinacue, a Nasa who helps run the coca-based businesses.