Understanding How Kona Warrior Comic Came About
|The drawings in Kona Warrior were taken from
original photographs from Bolivia by mapuchedub. As she states:
"My experience living and working with the Aymara gave me a direct
insight into the reality of a struggle that has been distorted and manipulated
by the international press. It was my hope in creating this character that
by using the art form of comics mixed with photography I could present the
indigenous perspective. I have included the photos that were the source
for the drawings that you see in the comic. I feel as indigenous people
it is important for us to tell our side of the story. Kona Warrior is fictional
although the indigenous coca struggle and war is still prevalent in the
jungles of Bolivia , Peru and Colombia and is kept secret from the rest
of the world."
Coca is a sacred plant used by the indigenous peoples throughout South
America . This tradition dates back hundreds of years ago before the arrival
of European colonialists.
The Coca leaf not only provides the daily intake of protein and carbohydrates
but it also satisfies the
recommended dietary allowances for calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins
A, B, C, and E. As a medicinal herb, coca has been used in treating a
variety of ailments and diseases. Coca is used in traditional spiritual
ceremonies, fortune telling and as protection against altitude, hunger
and cold for the indigenous people living in the Andes . Often when people
don't have money to buy food they chew coca leaves to suppress the hunger.
"They want us to respect them, then they have to respect us"
"We have dignity; sovereignty and we won't accept the uniformed
and armed intervention" - Evo Morales leader of the Federation
of Coca Growers in Bolivia . (before he became president)
COCA LEAF IS NOT A DRUG
The campaign for the eradiation of coca leaf originates from the orders
from the American government who have created the false propaganda that
coca leaf is the same as cocaine.
In 2006 Bolivia elected its first indigenous president Evo Morales who
came into power on a platform to stop the attempts to criminalize the
growing of coca leaf. We hope to see in the future the focus on the many
beneficial aspects of coca leaf and the products that are created from
the plant such as medicines, shampoos, toothpaste and export these products
to the rest of the world to transform the negative and inaccurate conception
of coca leaf that has become prevalent in the world.
"Coca leaf is not a drug" is one of the primary themes behind
Kona warrior comix.
At the same time the American government is leading its so called "war
on drugs" independent journalists and researchers point to covert
American C.I.A involvement in the opium and heroine trade: supporting
the drug trade in order to bolster their political allies (i.e. supporting
the Taliban opium dealers in Afghanistan who at the time were fighting
the Soviet army).
"The national majorities do not live on the economic aid but
on their work. The aids are for the repression and the corruption. For
that reason, the farmers movement, the owners of this earth: Quechuas,
Aymaras and Guaraníes have decided to recover the power and the
| These pre-Inca ruins are found in Tiahuanaco
located in the altiplano 12,500 feet above sea level. This was the capital
of pre-Incan civilization and it is believed coca was used in ceremonies
that took place here. It is also interesting to note that the same system
of construction as the great pyramid and the sphinx of Egypt were used here.
This is an actual map used in an actual encounter in Bolivia .
"In the early hours of the morning the Coca growers mobilized
with the intention of taking over the
workers market and DIGECO (The direction of theControl of the cocaine
The U.S. gives aid and training to Andean militaries like DIGECO so that
they can "fight the war on drugs"
As a result of this many innocent Coca leaf farmers have been murdered
"We are not going to stop growing coca and we will defend ourselves
from this government, which has
decided to blindly obey the orders of Washington with no thought given
to its own citizens"
Evo Morales, leader of the Federation of Coca Growers in Bolivia .(Before
he was president)
"There are no cocalero drug addicts. It's the"gringos"
who have processed the coca leaves with
chemical products as a drug. We don't do that because we want to sell
the leaves, not consume them, and also because we don't want our leaf's
reputation to be even worse than it is now."
Celestino Quispe, a coca-grower from Bolivia
This photo project was done with the suport of the toronto
arts council. The flash animation of kona warrior comic was done by Infiltrator