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A Real Life Mother and Child!

15 Oct

Maybe I’m getting mean and picking on the NYTimes travel section too much… or maybe this type of essentialism is just what this blog is focused on…

Today’s Travel Section features this photo and caption:

“We were in the Urubamba Valley, often called the Sacred Valley, in the Andes, not far from Machu Picchu. I was struck by the rapt attention of this mother and her child. Peru is a country of vast contrasts, from the sophistication of Lima to the huge mountains that nurture its inhabitants and the awesome remains of the Incan civilization.”

Yes, what a contrast between sophisticated Lima and this nameless woman and the attention she pays to her child… Who knew that indigenous people took care of their children?

You’d think that at this point in the game, the NYTimes would only accept submissions from travelers who made at least some attempt to respect the dignity of their photographed subjects…

Does this woman have a name? A story? A hope and a dream? Has she given permission for her face to be used as an example of the joys of traveling for the U.S. leisure class?


Ollanta and Evo

18 Aug
Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Presidents Ollanta Humala and Evo Morales are both in the news today for pissing people off. Ollanta for spurning the U.S drug war; Evo for appearing like hypocrite and building through indigenous ancestral lands.

  • For months, as it became clearer that Ollanta Humala would become President of Perú, northern press and conservative commentators have either been screaming Que dios nos ayude (god help us) if this Hugo Chavez protegé becomes president – or telling everyone to calm down because he’s not the next Chávez, he’s the next Lula! Now that Humala has become president, he has served up his first shock to el norte by suspending its coca eradication  program funded and run by the United States. (LA Times / BBC)  Bloggings by Boz has some more analysis. Don’t worry oil companies – Reuters also reports today that Peru’s indigenous groups are disappointed with the president’s plan to welcome  oil exploration in Amazon areas inhabited by indigenous groups. Perú isn’t closing for business anytime soon.
  • Across the border indigenous groups are blockading roads and marching to La Paz to protest the government’s plan to build a highway connecting Bolivia from Brazil to the Pacific. The project obviously calls into question Evo Morales’  Pachamama image as an environmentalist and safeguard against what he himself has called ethnocide. It’s of course more complicated than that – the nation’s first indigenous president is weighing the demands of indigenous groups living in the territory versus a core constituency of Quechua and Aymara speaking indigenous groups that have colonized the area and will benefit from the access to new markets. The project is an opportunity for foreign investment (in this case, from Brazil) and is understood as another attempt for Bolivia to escape the poverty and isolation bequeathed to it by becoming land locked by Chile in the  War of the Pacific (1879-1883). Evo has responded by discrediting the protests as a conspiracy by foreign NGOs – an all too familiar discourse employed by Latin American leaders like Alan Garcia. NACLA has further analysis and details. And here’s some coverage from Al Jazeera:
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