Bolivia celebrates coca leaf chewing day

STORY: Location: La Paz, Bolivia

Bolivians celebrated the centuries-old tradition of chewing coca leaves

as part of Akuliku celebrations to mark the country's relationship with the traditional crop

Bolivians use the leaf to help with altitude sickness

as a mild stimulant and even as a form of medicine for illnesses

[Trinidad Rocha Robles, Bolivian senator]

"Since my grandparents' time we chewed the coca leaf. We have always used coca because it is a sacred leaf. This coca leaf is good for us, it is highly valued."

The leaf was declared an illegal narcotic in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

Bolivia's President Luis Arce wants to get the leaf taken off the list

La Paz is looking to change international perspectives of the coca leaf

At the Akuliku Festival, the coca leaf was re-formulated into drinks and soap