Pope Francis has specifically requested to chew coca leaves (coca being the main ingredient in cocaine) for his upcoming visit to Bolivia.
Coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant.
Mr Machicao said the government offered the Pope coca tea and the pontiff had “specifically requested” to chew coca.
The Vatican has not yet commented. The Pope travels to Bolivia on 8 July.