Tag Archives | Bolivia

McDonald’s Closed All Its Restaurants In Bolivia As The Nation Rejected Fast Food

mcdonaldsEarlier this year Fox News Latino notes that McDonald’s closed all of its restaurants in Bolivia after years of failing dismally to attract a customer base:

It’s hard to go anywhere in the world without seeing those Golden Arches, beckoning hungry patrons to chow down on a Big Mac or some Chicken Nuggets. But [in] Bolivia the last McDonald’s restaurant closed its doors in 2002 and, since then, the Andean nation has been fiercely independent about what fast food it serves its citizens.

Bolivia has become the first Latin American country to not have a McDonalds (Cuba, which has one on the American-controlled Guantanamo Bay, doesn’t count). Bolivians love hamburgers, but they prefer to buy them from the thousands of indigenous women selling on the streets than from a global company.

When Bolivia rewrote its constitution in 2008, the country made sure to take steps to protect its food sovereignty, or local control, from foreign interest.

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123-Year-Old Bolivian Man Says Coca, Quinoa, And Mushrooms Gave Him Long Life

coca

This diet is, of course, illegal in the United States. Via NBC News:

Bolivian indigenous farmer Carmelo Flores, who could be the oldest person to have ever lived, attributes his longevity to quinoa grains, riverside mushrooms and around-the-clock chewing of coca leaves.

Speaking in the 4,000-meter high hamlet where he lives in a straw-roofed hut, Flores says the traditional Andean diet has kept him alive for 123 years. “Potatoes with quinoa are delicious,” said Flores in Aymara, the only language the nearly deaf man speaks.

It is impossible to verify Flores’ age as the poor, landlocked South American country only started issuing official birth certificates in 1940. But he says his baptism certificate lists his birthday as July 16, 1890 and he has national identity documents based on the certificate.

The title of oldest human being ever to have lived belongs to France’s Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 in 1997, according to the Guinness World Records organization.

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United States Refusing To Extradite Bolivia’s Ex-President Facing Genocide Charges

bolivia

Compare and contrast with other ongoing asylum controversies. Via the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald writes:

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government’s energy and globalization policies.

Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation’s indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

The resulting outrage drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: “according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods”).

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So let me get this straight, we fast track renditions but hunt down whistleblowers on presidential planes!

via chycho

whistleblower-law1-alberta

The CIA was granted permission to use rendition (to the USA of indicted terrorists) in a presidential directive signed by US President Bill Clinton in 1995, following a procedure established by US President George H. W. Bush in January 1993”. This program kicked into high-gear under Bush junior after 911 and continues to this day under the Obama administration.

According to a US Congress report [2008], up to 14,000 people may have been victims of rendition and secret detention since 2001. Some reports estimate there have been twice as many. The US admits to have captured more than 80,000 prisoners in its ‘war on terror’.”

The map below shows the countries involved in fast tracking rendition flights, helping to transport U.S. captives to secret prisons – black sites – across the globe, condemning innocent men, women, and children to confinement, torture, and death. To the best of my knowledge, not a single rendition flight was ever grounded or searched.… Read the rest

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Bolivia To Banish Coca-Cola To Mark Mayan End Of Capitalism?

Apparently the “expelling of Coca-Cola” from Bolivia will be metaphorical rather than literal. Still, I feel as if we finally have a definitive answer as to what the end of the Mayan calendar means. Via Forbes:

David Choquehuanca, the minister in question, explained that Coca-Cola will be expelled from Bolivia on the same day that the Mayan calendar enters a new cycle–December 21. According to Choquehuanca, the date marks the end of capitalism and the start of a culture of life in community-based societies.

Although it may make sense for them to ban Coca-Cola–which screams America and, therefore, capitalism–it’s not the first time that a US company had trouble to find ground in Bolivia. After trying for years to conquer Bolivians, McDonald’s withdrew from the country in the early 2000s for not being able to turn a profit there.

The decision of Coca-Cola’s ban in Bolivia came in a time when the country is pledging to legalize the consumption of coca leaves, which are notoriously processed clandestinely into cocaine, and were declared an illegal narcotic by the UN in 1961, along with cocaine, opium and morphine, in spite of its consumption being a centuries-old tradition there, strongly rooted in the beliefs of various indigenous groups.

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The New Cocaine Trade

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

Coca leaf in Bolivia. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr (CC)

John Lyons reports on some seismic shifts in where cocaine is produced, for the Wall Street Journal:

In the dusty town of Villa Tunari in Bolivia’s tropical coca-growing region, farmers used to barricade their roads against U.S.-backed drug police sent to prevent their leafy crop from becoming cocaine. These days, the police are gone, the coca is plentiful and locals close off roads for multiday block parties—not rumbles with law enforcement.

“Today, we don’t have these conflicts, not one death, not one wounded, not one jailed,” said Leonilda Zurita, a longtime coca-grower leader who is now a Bolivian senator, a day after a 13-piece Latin band wrapped up a boozy festival in town.

The cause for celebration is a fundamental shift in the cocaine trade that is complicating U.S. efforts to fight it. Once concentrated in Colombia, a close U.S. ally in combating drugs, the cocaine business is migrating to nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where populist leaders are either ambivalent about cooperating with U.S.

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The World’s First Cocaine Bar

Route-36-cocaine-lounge-001Backpacking tourists flock to La Paz, Bolivia’s Route 36 for long nights of cocaine and Jenga. Is this what your neighborhood dive bar would look like if hard drugs were legalized? The Guardian writes:

The waiter arrives at the table, lowers the tray and places an empty black CD case in the middle of the table. Next to the CD case are two straws and two little black packets. He is so casual he might as well be delivering a sandwich and fries. And he has seen it all.

La Paz, Bolivia, at 3,900m above sea level – an altitude where even two flights of stairs makes your heart race like a hummingbird – is home to the most celebrated bar in all of South America: Route 36, the world’s first cocaine lounge. I sit back to take in the scene – table after table of chatty young backpackers, many of whom are taking a gap year, awaiting a new job or simply escaping the northern hemisphere for the delights of South America, which, for many it seems, include cocaine.

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Indigenous Bolivians March Against Amazon Road

Photo: Isiborosecure.com

Photo: Isiborosecure.com

A large group of representatives from three native groups in Bolivia begin their march through 375 miles of land today in hopes of keeping a highway from being built through their land. Via NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America):

On August 15, representatives of three indigenous groups and their supporters will begin a 375-mile trek from Trinidad in the Bolivian lowlands to the highland capital of La Paz, to protest the government’s plan to build a highway through their ancestral homeland known as the TIPNIS (Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park). The march opens a new chapter in the increasingly conflictive relationship between leftist president Evo Morales and the social movements that brought him to power.

The TIPNIS is both a national park and a self-governing territory, that combines indigenous autonomy (granted under Bolivia’s 2009 Constitution) with environmental protection.  Legal title to the land and resources in this 3,860 square mile preserve is held in common by the Yuracaré, Moxeño, and Chimán people.

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Bolivia Grants Human Rights To Planet Earth

Laguna Suches Perú, Bolivia. Photo: Rojk (CC)

In a blur of where Governments begin and end, Mother Nature is granted rights just like humans. Sadly, she still can’t vote. Via Wired:

Bolivia is to pass a law — called la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (The Law of Mother Earth) –  which will grant nature equal rights to humans.

The law — the first of its kind — aims to encourage a major shift in attitudes towards conservation and to reduce pollution and exploitation of natural resources. It sees a range of new rights established for nature including the right to life; the right to water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities and the right to be free of pollution.

Bolivia is one of South America’s poorest countries and is seeing its rural communities suffer with failing crops due to climatic events such as floods and droughts.

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The Bolivian President’s Infamous Knee Strike Video

Just in case anyone missed it (I know, you’re not all soccer fans), President Evo Morales of Bolivia caused a stir last weekend when he kneed a player on an opposing soccer team in the groin and had the misfortune of having his dirty deed caught on video tape:

Here’s what Morales had to say for himself:

“The player who kicked me started to insult me and offend me and I very much regret my reaction. I ask forgiveness to the sportsmen, to the players, to the player. But after kicking me, it was another insult, a reaction. Again, I ask for forgiveness. Sport is integration, but later I realized it was a trap.”

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