This bright yellow sign caught my eye, health when passing by the Hospital Viedma in Cochabamba. Translation “Bolivian Hospital Staffed by Bolivian Doctors for Bolivians”
Three years ago, I had taken a gig as a document translator for an alternative development organization that worked in the Chapare. Even though I had the luxury of working from my home in my pijama, they allowed me to tag along for a week at their homebase of Chimore.
My primary host was a young economist named Paola, whose main job was to inventory the family crops, to gain an assessment of the value of potential income. Families lived kilometers apart, while others lived in tightly knit villages. The poverty that I saw was similar to places that I visited on the Altiplano. Even though many families had excess of fruit, which had relatively little market, they had not much else. As a result, we would spend from sun-up to sun-down, trying to collect some quantifiable data.
However, Paola did not particularly like to drive and handed over the wheel to me of the NGO’s vagoneta. With a small selection of cassette tapes in the glove compartment (there was no radio signals out there), we were out for eight hours at a time. I became well acquainted with the Chilean singer Alberto Plaza, which was the best musical selection in the car. Whenever I hear one of his songs, it transports me back to those backroads of the Chapare.
We had stopped along the road because we had crossed another of the NGOs economists and needed to share some information. I snapped this photo and was amazed at the colors that resulted. I swear it is non-Photoshopped and really captures the tranquility of the Chapare, in spite of the mala fama that the area holds.
Via Guccio’s page, where he said “This sequence of pictures is not from Irak. Those are from Huanuni (Bolivia).” Truly the area around the mine is a forgotten part of Bolivia and a far cry from the modernities of the urban centers.
The Mexican professor and “sometimes advisor” to Hugo Chavez, according to the Internatonal Herald Tribune, wrote this “article” regarding the forces and groups involved in this alleged plot, which appeared in the Bolivian paper El Mundo. Naturally, Chavez provided his two cents on the matter.
LR: Vice-Minister, of the 3,200 hectares that come from the cato of coca and are permitted in the Chapare, what percentage do you think goes to the Sacaba market and how much has another destination?
FC: According to the reports, between 50-60% of he coca goes to the legal market. Unfortunately the rest..well narcotrafficking still absorbs the excess coca, the Government, and we must be honest and with much responsibility, we cannot deny the illegal business. We must adjust our policies of interdiction. For example, we must fulfill President Morales’ line of ‘zero cocaine’.
LR: So you are saying that part of the coca produced in the Tropics of Cochabamba goes toward narcotrafficking?
FC: We must say so, and we cannot cover the sun with a finger. We must be responsible as a State and reiterate, when there is still poverty, narcotrafficking will still prevail.
This is a new addition to this blog in an attempt to revive its usefulness. Since I read and find new pages about Bolivia on a daily basis, I’ll try to add these links on a semi-daily basis.
This video doesn’t quite have the same raw effect that the original, and now unavailable “All Your Base..” video. The extended remix tries to add a little bit too much at the end, but it is still quite an interesting find.
I really wish I had the time and the patience to translate my original English summaries for Global Voices Online. Miguel E. from El Forastero, who recently moved to Columbus, OH continues to do a fine job and provides a great service.
A brilliant cartoon parodying the “Todos Hacia la Consitutyente” campaign, but touches on a serious matter on the minds of many Bolivians – civil war. Cuevas’ blog is one of the best because it says a lot more with images than I could ever say with my written ramblings.