BOGOTA, Colombia -- A group of Indians in southern Colombia have created a new soft drink made from coca leaf extract and plan to market their product as an alternative to Coca-Cola.
Coca Sek, a golden, carbonated drink, will go on sale this week in parts of Colombia. But its makers expect they won't be able to export to the United States due to rules blocking the entry of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine.
The soda looks like apple cider, has a tea-like fragrance and a flavor somewhere between Seven-Up and ginger ale.
David Curtidor, a Nasa Indian who heads the small community company producing the drink, says that aside from being refreshing, the drink also is intended to make a political statement against transnational companies. Curtidor says Coca-Cola "symbolizes imperialist domination" and does not buy its raw ingredients in Colombia.
He ays people in the tiny southwestern town of Calderas where the soft drink was created prefer not to drink Coca-Cola. So they are offering a substitute.
Coca-Cola dropped cocaine from its ingredients decades ago, although the soda maker's secret formula still calls for a cocaine-free coca extract produced by the New Jersey-based Stepan Company, which Peruvian officials have said buys dried Peruvian coca leaves.