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)


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 territory"
Evo Morales

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 leaf)
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 or disappeared

"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 Dub.