Category Archives: Bolivia

Llallagua, by Victor Montoya

The village of Llallagua - Photo: Luis Chugar

Llallagua, A Mining Town in the Andes español

By Victor Montoya

Translation: Elizabeth Gamble Miller

The indigenous people baptized these hills with the name for a root in the Quechua language, Llallagua, because the potato-like geological formations appeared to be a root of good fortune. There, Simón I. Patiño, one of the tycoons of Bolivian mining, found the richest layer of tin ore in the whole world at the end of the 19th century. From that time on Llallagua became the new Potosí, and Simón I. Patiño, who fought the boulders like a conquistador without a sword or armor, became the new King of Tin and, with Ford and Rockefeller, one of the few multimillionaires. Continue reading


Evo Morales rocks Leganés

Evo Morales Closes an Old Wound – The Bolivian President’s Speech at Leganés, Spain


Introduction by Manuel Talens – English translation by Machetera

In chapter XVII of the Historia General de las Indias (1554) [General History of the Indies], the cleric Francisco López de Gómara described how when Christopher Columbus returned from the continent that years later would be named America, he went from Palos to Barcelona, where the Catholic Kings could be found. “Although the road was long and filled with obstacles, he was very honored and well-known, because they came to see him for having discovered another world and having brought great wealth from there as well as new kinds and colors of differently dressed men.” Just six of those men, strangers to old Europe, had survived the voyage. “The six Indians were baptized, since the others didn’t make it to the court; and the king, the queen and the prince, don Juan, their son, were the godparents, personally authorizing Christ’s sanctified baptism for those first Christians from the Indies and the New World.

These events took place in March, 1493, exactly 516 years and five months ago, the same period of time it took for a descendant of those unhappy human beings to repeat the same voyage, this time to undo the damage, and this time not as a voiceless captive, but as an articulate president of a republic that at last, has broken the last bonds of colonialism. Evo Morales, an indigenous Bolivian Aymaran, has returned the blow to the stepmother homeland, in the name of all his brothers who suffered and continue to suffer the latest consequences of that enterprise. That is, he has returned it without rancor, with arms extended, yet speaking the truth loudly and clearly before five thousand Latin Americans from practically all the republics and a good handful of Spanish enthusiasts as well. The place chosen for the speech was clearly symbolic: Leganés is not the court of aristocrats giving cover to the rancid monarchy which still rules in Spain, but a crowded working class city of 200,000, situated within Madrid’s industrial belt. Last Sunday, September 13th, the municipality of Leganés made its modern bullring– La Cubierta – available to the Aymaran leader, so that he might speak as he wished. And speak he did; in a tone that was always respectful, but firm. Continue reading

Back from the salt mine

saltIt’s a difficult job, but somebody’s got to do it.

And unlike Ernesto Hernández Busto, those of us who lack a check from Langley have to find other ways of putting food on the table.  But now that Machetera’s bank account is stabilized again, she can turn her attention to things a little closer to her heart.  Like reminding everyone (in case you missed it) that Twitter’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey, was in Baghdad a month ago courtesy of the U.S. State Department, for talks on how to reconstruct the Iraqi information network destroyed by Iraq’s occupiers, and (conveniently) promote Twitter into the bargain.  Continue reading

Bolivians report children killed in Porvenir Massacre

They Killed Children; Many Bodies are in Mass Graves


Translation: Machetera

Tuesday, September 16, 1:53 a.m.

La Paz. – On Monday, survivors of the “Porvenir Massacre” or the “Cobija Massacre” denounced the killing of a number of children last Thursday in the town of El Porvenir, when assassins shot peasants who were heading toward the area.

In statements to the Erbol Network, the leader of the Pando Peasant Federation, Cristian Domínguez, denounced the fact that vehicles belonging to the Prefecture had been given the work of collecting the lifeless bodies of the peasants in order to inter them in a mass grave. Continue reading

Quick and very dirty update

Machetera has some pressing business this morning and can’t get to translations until later in the day.  In the meantime, she’s scanned the latest reports out of Bolivia regarding the Porvenir Massacre, which as far as the major media are concerned, simply never took place.  If an indigenous person is shot and CNN didn’t see it, did it really happen?

One question that may be on your mind (it occurred to Machetera) is if children were shot in the massacre, where are the bodies?  Reports from Bolivia say that the dump trucks which served as shooting platforms had a dual purpose – the bodies were picked up, stripped, and tossed into a mass grave.

More to come…

Maybe he’ll come to the U.S. on the Santrina

Bolivian Government Promises 30 Years in Jail for Prefect Leopoldo Fernández

Luigino Bracci Roa – Yvke Mundial, Erbol, ABI

Translation: Machetera

Monday, September 15, 2008. 8:21 a.m.

La Paz. – On Sunday the Executive Branch made it clear that it will not negotiate over the deaths from the Pando massacre, nor the responsibility of its material authors, and confirmed, in alluding to the Prefect of Pando, Leopoldo Fernández, that “murderers are not valid interlocutors.”

The Vice President of the Republic, Álvaro García Linera, and the Vice Minister for Coordination with Social Movements, Sacha Llorenti, both made this clear this Sunday at the Palacio Quemado, prior to meetings with the Prefect of Tarija, Mario Cossío, who brought the position of his brethren grouped in the so-called Democratic National Council (Conalde).

“The Government is not going to negotiate the deaths, the Government is not going to negotiate the criminal responsibility of those who perpetrated the massacre, the killers.  This is a separate point, it will not enter into the meeting,” García Linera assured emphatically.  He indicated that at a table for dialogue with the opposition prefects, the criminal would be differentiated from claims, affirming that departmental autonomy and the redistribution of resources from the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons would be part of the dialogue. Continue reading

Paramilitaries on the run

Genocidal Killers Run to Brazil and Bolivia’s Government Calls for their Detention

Luigino Bracci Roa – Yvke Mundial, ABI

Translation: Machetera

Monday, September 15, 2008. 8:57 a.m.

La Paz and Cobija. – This Sunday, the [Bolivian] government reported that various hired assassins who killed peasants from the Pando town of Porvenir, presumably on orders from Prefect Leopoldo Fernández, fled to Brazil.  The government has asked the neighboring country to arrest them immediately.

“They (the assassins) have gone to the Brazilian side, we’re making efforts with Brazil so that people carrying weapons may be arrested there, of course this business of carrying weapons is illegal in any part of the world,” said the Defense Minister, Walker San Miguel, referring to the killers who machine-gunned a number of peasants in Pando. Continue reading