This fine article, written by Monica Olmos and published in Los Tiempos, shows the tip of the iceberg, it happens all over our beautiful Bolivia… and certainly does not help to ease the antagonism and intolerance that continues to build-up ever since current government assumed power…
Stories of an “inter-cultural” flight
Boarding an airplane becomes more stressful for anyone who writes. Added to the terror that it could drop from the sky, there is lack of Traveller education. I don’t know why, we all fight to be the first on board, as if by doing this, we would arrive earlier to destination. Not missing the fact to the distracted person who illegally sits next to the window. No one pays attention to the hostess as if we already knew what to do in case of crisis.
Despite the warning from the crew, as soon as the plane touched ground, sounds that make seat belts to unbutton it and until the aircraft is stopped, all – as with springs in the buttocks – we stop and concealed pushed, to prioritize our disembarking.
Against this background, one is ready for anything, but not. On this occasion in which I traveled to Cobija, a couple of facts worthy of telling happened… not to mention the return, which was a magnificent Odyssey.
I was distracted when the pilot announces 34 degrees in the destination city and noted low visibility due to the smoke. Indeed, this gigantic broccoli that seems the Bolivian Amazon from the airplane, was covered by a curtain of smoke that made it impossible to enjoy the fabulous view: extensive green adorned with a few twisted and capricious rivers who excel in a truly exceptional landscape.
And I thought the doctor Rodolfo Quiroga, who told me that he disliked the pedestrian day, because it’s when more accidents cases he has to attend and because in practical terms would seem a farce before environmental disregard that reigns the remainder of the year.
As such, two days after the day of the bicycle, the heavens are contaminated by the clearings [slush and burn practices]. Anger and punishment causes this irony, but well, I said to the doctor that in journalism, it was harsh to go against the current, who could animate to criticize the pedestrian day if for the majority is the best that has happened in their life? This little soul is not prepared to issue any criticism simply wants to denounce the double standards of Moors and Christians.
The final stretch was fulfilled, we were ashore in Pando land and moisture began to filter through the open doors of the aircraft. The terminal – to be frank, it is not more than a picturesque pahuichi [typical house in Bolivian lowlands] – an official of migration called for identifications. First time I saw such a thing.
Highlighted a very elegant Lady in front of me. Filled and filled with gold; she wore the precious metal in her wrists, ears, chest, neck and teeth. He wore a white blouse with embroidered shines, impeccable black hat and a very interesting reddish ‘pollera’ [typical skirt of an Aymara women, which comes from Spanish style skirt from colonial times]. The Migration man requested all identifications. The lady who I describe passed without the authority asking for her documentation.
I was not wearing a ‘pollera’ skirt or wore any gold; moreover had the look of a common k’ara [white person, as used sometimes in a derogatory remark by indigenous people in Bolivia] overwhelmed by heat and the chaos of the aircraft.
Anti-discrimination law works, but the other way around: the ‘aymarismo’ [Aymara culture] is imposed without penalty or pause throughout the country: Cobija, it seems much to El Alto and without identity where the Portuguese with Aymara accent confuses anyone; phenomenon of an economy globalized in a region of the country which is not known how it functions or survives.
Brazil is a bridge away, there is no police presence or of migration and nobody asks anything to enter or exit.
I went to Cobija to speak of interculturality and training capacity skills… naive, delusional, stupid! Pure Academy? I refuse.
The author is social Communicator
The extremes never work, it is useless to try to erase our western civilization manners and just think the Aymara culture has all the benefits and potential in the world. Those politicians who want to re-write our history fail to acknowledge how cultures and nations were formed in this part of the world. The Aymaras were never above the Incas or the people from Tiawanacu, they were subdued by the Incas and then by the Spanish.
It is sad to experience the reverse racism and been looked in a demeaning way just because you happen to speak a better Spanish and look a little whiter than them… sad, really sad and it leads to nowhere.