November 11, 2013

Slaying Goliath – investigative reporting at the center of Bolivia’s drug trade

SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA – The big story right now in Bolivia is the Aerocon plane that crashed last week in the northern amazon city of Riberalta, killing eight passengers including one eight-year-old girl. What wasn’t immediately clear from the initial reports were the circumstances by which the victims died. Thanks to the work […]

October 28, 2013

VIDEO: Evo speaks in El Alto – the city of the revolution

Oct. 17 I nearly missed Bolivian President Evo Morales’ speech commemorating the 10th anniversary of Black October – the most violent episode in the country’s recent history. In the month of October 2003 government troops – under the administration of President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada – killed an estimated 80 people and injured nearly 500 in […]

October 11, 2013

Exploiting Bolivia – part 2 – sitting with the dead

Last week I participated in a wake for the martiarch of a local mining family in Potosí. The five children – four sons and one daughter – spent their savings shipping the body back from Argentina – where she had died of cancer. The ceremony lasted until sunrise and, as is the custom in Bolivia, […]

October 8, 2013

VIDEO: Exploiting Bolivia – part 1 – “the riches that made us poor”

Nothing tells the story better than the facts: Potosí, the capital of the poorest department of the poorest country in South America, cradles what was once the richest mountain on earth. During the Spanish colonial era of the 16th and 17th centuries, indigenous and african slaves extracted veins of pure silver two-meters-wide and several kilometers […]

October 2, 2013

Bolivia playing dead: when the only power is the power to do nothing

During the 24-hour strike in Potosí Wednesday, Jhonny Llally Huata, president of the Potosí Comité Cívico, answered a call from an assistant to the Governor of the Department of Potosí at the desk of his second floor office. “This is not for me, this is for Potosí,” he said and hung up before giving the caller […]

September 30, 2013

Eyes open, mouth closed: Bolivia’s history of fear and silence

A wise editor once told me, “Names make news.” Without names you have no sources, and without sources you have no story. This story has no named sources, because there are not many people in Potosí – the poorest region of the poorest country in South America – who are willing to put their name […]

September 16, 2013

Peregrinación político: A trip into Bolivia’s social revolution

After standing for nearly 18 hours in the Plaza 9 de Julio in downtown Salta, Argentina, the pilgrims finally ceased their songs of prayer and I repaired to a small cafe to read the reportages of Alma Guillermoprieto, a Mexican journalist who covered this region for the New Yorker magazine in the early 1990s. Being here […]

September 11, 2013

A culture of secrecy: Argentina’s history of corruption remains unchecked

  In the 1990s articles about government corruption and scandal sold a lot of newspapers in Argentina. However, over the last two decades, as most major Latin American countries passed their first freedom of information laws, Argentina’s Congress has yet to be sold on government transparency. This cultured country of 41 million people remains, along […]

September 9, 2013

Not adjusted for inflation; Argentina’s black market currency

BUENOS AIRES – Argentines have long been known for their passion for wine, steak and tango. But the object of desire lately has been the U.S. dollar, which sells for about double the official exchange rate on the black market here. One brief stroll down Avenida Florida in downtown Buenos Aires and you will hear […]

September 5, 2013

A lesson from the children – Cabo Polonio – Part 3 (of 3)

At sunset, Cabo Polonio’s school teacher Laura Fontes, Sebastian, a traveler named Rafaela Lahore, an 8-year-old girl (one of Fontes’ students) and I traded turns scanning the bay for whales with a pair of binoculars. Fontes, 26, was raised in the town of Rocha about 100 kilometers away. She said growing up in Cabo Polonio […]

The Tramp

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