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Bolivia

I went to Bolivia in March of 2004 with two essays in mind. The first concerns the impact of neoliberalism on public health and education in El Alto, a largely immigrant city which caps the mountainside above La Paz. It was no surprise to discover that both systems were in bad shape with no apparent remedy in sight. The second took me south to Macha to observe an ancient - and ultimately bloody - festival which predates the Spanish conquest and coincides with the Christian festival of the Cross which falls in the first week of May. Serious social issues surround the festival: the role of the church, the brutal nature of the festival which always culminates in one or more deaths, the role of tourism, whose lack of definition provokes what is already a powder-keg situation.

The Tinku: the Festival of the cross in Macha, Bolivia was published in November of 2006 in South American Explorer.
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