Back to everyday life in Bolivia

After 21 days of protests and the departure from the country of the dethroned President, Evo Morales, Bolivians are trying to re-establish their normal, everyday lives.

In the wake of reports of irregularities in the presidential election, people in various areas started to mobilise. The most important movement took place in Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia, where 40-year old Luis Fernando Camacho, leader of the Civic Committee for Santa Cruz, called a civil strike on 22 October. The protest quickly spread across the country, with huge gatherings of people and violence. At least ten deaths are being investigated.

For three weeks the only vehicles on the streets of Santa Cruz were those of the emergency services and, until lunchtime, vehicles delivering food. After lunch, people blocked the streets with tyres, cars, chairs, water tanks and whatever else they could lay their hands on.

The day after Morales stepped down, Luis Fernando Camacho encouraged people to stop the blockades. In Santa Cruz’s Mutualista market I meet 63-year-old Aurelia Suxo, happy to be heading home at last after sleeping by her fruit stand for 21 nights.

Since then, the most visible traces of the protests have been long queues outside banks and the irregularity of government services.

“It feels strange. I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself the day after,” says Karla Rodozebick, a 29-year-old university student who was a protest leader in her neighbourhood.

Another resident, 51-year-old Paul Handal, tells me that normality has returned to such an extent that it’s hard to believe that life was disrupted by a lengthy strike.

But in La Paz, Cochabamba and Yapacani there were signs that political differences will take longer to sort out. A mere hours after Morales’ resignation violence erupted, initially between supporters and opponents of the ousted president, and then between police and supporters of Morales’ political party. 

/Rocío Lloret Céspedes, Santa Cruz

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.

Vibrant culture on the streets of Bolivia

Article published in Fönstret
November 2017
By Rocio Lloret 

Bolivia. The cultural life in Bolivia’s two biggest cities depicts a modern country full of ambition, yet deeply anchored in history, religion, and cultural identity.
It is 850 kilometers between the financial hub of Santa Cruz and the political capital La Paz, a journey that starts in a tropical climate and ends in the Andes, 3 900 metres above sea level.
Continue reading Vibrant culture on the streets of Bolivia

Obesity and malnourishment in the same country

Article published in Göteborgsposten
28 augusti 2017
By Rocio Lloret

Bolivia. In March this year, 12-year old Eva Vega Quino starved to death in the small room – previously a toilet – that she shared with her parents and five siblings. Her death shook the entire nation and made the extreme poverty many Bolivians live in visible.
“When she died we hadn’t had anything to eat for two weeks”, says Eva’s half brother Alan Quino. Alan is 19 years old, but only weighs 45 kilos and does not look older than 14.

The family lives in El Alto, close to the capital of La Paz, in a house given to the family by the state after Eva’s death.

El Alto has thousands of migrants from the countryside, and three of its districts suffer extreme poverty. According to UNICEF, 46 percent of the children in the poorest part of the population are malnourished.


A macho man is like an alcoholic

Article published in OmVärlden
21 November 2016
By Álex Ayala Ugarte
Photos: Patricio Crooker

Bolivia. Javier Badani Ruz, 41, grew up in a traditional family and was raised with macho ideas of what a man is supposed to be like. A new job and the birth of his daughters changed everything. But taking off the macho mask is like living like a sober alcoholic, he tells journalist Álex Ayala Ugarte.

“A macho man, to me, is like an alcoholic: He can recover but only if he is capable of becoming aware of his illness. For many years, I had macho traits, and it was like it was in my genes. My dad was a Don Juan his entire life. My mother comes from a very traditional family and took care of everything when I was little: She tidied my room, gave me breakfast in bed, ironed my clothes and really spoiled me.”

Full article (in Swedish) here:


Her childhood is slipping through my fingers

Artikel publicerad i Svenska Dagbladet, from the series Att vara förälder (To be a parent)
13 September 2016
By Rocio Lloret
Photos: Patricio Crooker

31-year old Alicia Muños is a  nursing assistant and single mother. To make ends meet, she works long days and has little time for her daughter. The short time they spend together are mainly filled with nagging, Alicia says, but it is her hope that one day her daughter will understand her situation.

Full article (in Swedish) here: