Spooking El Alto city – Asustando a la ciudad de El Alto

Monica Machicao, Reuters:

Bolivian house with devil sculptures spooks highland city

Sculptures of horned devils adorn the house of Bolivian miner David Choque, intended as a playful nod to the South American country's colonial past, but which has shocked some neighbors who fear a link to occult rituals, in El Alto, Bolivia February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Claudia Morales
Sculptures of horned devils adorn the house of Bolivian miner David Choque, intended as a playful nod to the South American country's colonial past, but which has shocked some neighbors and sparked allegations of occult rituals, in El Alto, Bolivia February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Claudia Morales
Sculptures of horned devils adorn the house of Bolivian miner David Choque, intended as a playful nod to the South American country's colonial past, but which has shocked some neighbors who fear a link to occult rituals, in El Alto, Bolivia February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Claudia Morales

Sculptures of horned devils adorn the house of Bolivian miner David Choque, intended as a playful nod to the South American country’s colonial past, but which has shocked some neighbors and sparked allegations of occult rituals, in El Alto, Bolivia February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Claudia Morales

EL ALTO, Bolivia, Feb 17 (Reuters) – A Bolivian miner has covered his house with sculptures of long-horned devils and other scary creatures, intended as a playful nod to the country’s colonial past but which has instead shocked some neighbors who fear a link to occult rituals.

The adobe-brick house in the high-altitude city of El Alto belongs to David Choque, who hired an artist to create the skeletal devils from cement and wood and installed them on his roof, doors and walls.

There is an imprint of a black skull on Choque’s front door and giant teeth around one window frame, below which an intricately carved dragon lurks.

Choque told Reuters he hoped the spooky house could spur local tourism.

“Close-minded people will think it’s something supernatural, but people need to open their minds and see it as a tourist attraction, something that can improve the area,” said Choque, who comes from a mining family.

“It’ll bring good things, not evil.”

Choque added that the sculptures are an allusion to life in Bolivian mines centuries ago during Spanish colonial rule when local indigenous men were frightened and forced into digging for silver.

The colonial masters would show miners images of devils and warn them they would be abducted by the spirits if they refused to work.

Over three centuries of Spanish domination, Bolivia, like Mexico, was a major source of silver that was shipped to Asia in exchange for goods like porcelain and silk, in one of the world’s first major commodity trades.

Some neighbors see the devils on Choque’s house, many with their mouths bared in grotesque grins, as signals to Satanic worshippers, and Choque laments he is battling baseless rumours.

One resident, Maria Laurel, said she has heard talk of naked rituals in the house. “The neighbors here are scared,” she said as she leaned against her car. “The truth is it frightens me.”

Choque denied any such rituals, and noted that similar depictions of devils appear on altars at mine entrances where workers often leave offerings including coca leaves and alcohol, believing this will protect them in the mines.

Reporting by Monica Machicao; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Karishma Singh

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bolivian-house-with-devil-sculptures-spooks-highland-city-2022-02-17/

Casa boliviana con esculturas de diablos asusta a ciudad del altiplano

Esculturas de diablos con cuernos adornan la casa del minero boliviano David Choque, con la intención de ser un guiño lúdico al pasado colonial del país sudamericano, pero que ha conmocionado a algunos vecinos y provocado acusaciones de rituales ocultos, en El Alto, Bolivia, 16 de febrero de 2022. REUTERS /Claudia Morales

EL ALTO, Bolivia, 17 feb (Reuters) – Un minero boliviano ha cubierto su casa con esculturas de diablos de cuernos largos y otras criaturas aterradoras, con la intención de ser un guiño lúdico al pasado colonial del país, pero que en cambio ha conmocionado a algunos vecinos que temen un enlace a rituales ocultos.

La casa de adobe en la ciudad elevada de El Alto pertenece a David Choque, quien contrató a un artista para crear los diablos esqueléticos de cemento y madera y los instaló en su techo, puertas y paredes.

Hay una huella de una calavera negra en la puerta principal de Choque y dientes gigantes alrededor del marco de una ventana, debajo de los cuales se esconde un dragón intrincadamente tallado.

Choque dijo a Reuters que esperaba que la espeluznante casa pudiera estimular el turismo local.

“La gente de mente cerrada pensará que es algo sobrenatural, pero la gente necesita abrir la mente y verlo como un atractivo turístico, algo que puede mejorar la zona”, dijo Choque, quien proviene de una familia minera.

“Traerá cosas buenas, no malas”.

Choque agregó que las esculturas son una alusión a la vida en las minas bolivianas hace siglos durante el dominio colonial español cuando los indígenas locales se asustaron y se vieron obligados a excavar en busca de plata.

Los amos coloniales les mostraban a los mineros imágenes de demonios y les advertían que serían secuestrados por los espíritus si se negaban a trabajar.

Durante tres siglos de dominación española, Bolivia, al igual que México, fue una importante fuente de plata que se enviaba a Asia a cambio de productos como porcelana y seda, en uno de los primeros intercambios de productos básicos más importantes del mundo.

Algunos vecinos ven a los demonios en la casa de Choque, muchos con la boca descubierta en sonrisas grotescas, como señales para los adoradores satánicos, y Choque lamenta estar luchando contra rumores sin fundamento.

Una residente, Maria Laurel, dijo que ha oído hablar de rituales desnudos en la casa. “Los vecinos aquí están asustados”, dijo mientras se apoyaba en su auto. “La verdad es que me da miedo”.

Choque negó tales rituales y señaló que representaciones similares de demonios aparecen en altares en las entradas de las minas donde los trabajadores a menudo dejan ofrendas que incluyen hojas de coca y alcohol, creyendo que esto los protegerá en las minas.

Información de Mónica Machicao; Escrito por David Alire García; Editado por Karishma Singh

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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