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Viaje America Latina

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South America is a very different place today then it was when I frequented the continent between the mid 80ies and late 90ies. Back then it was the US’ back-yard – no government however democratic and popular with it’s own people could survive if it didn’t have the US administration’s consent – i.e. if it didn’t apply neoliberal economic policies. The only exception which confirmed that rule was Cuba and perhaps not because the US hadn’t tried every dirty trick to rid the region of Mr Castro but precisely because “El Viejo” was neither democratic or particularly popular with his own people. Even after the cold war was finished, successive US administrations applied all their influence (using all means necessary, including violence) to keep dictators or pseudo democratic regimes in power as long as they, in turn, agreed to continue to apply the disastrous neoliberal dogma. The consequences for the vast majority of the local population were devastating – as banks and public utilities were deregulated and privatised (usually to multinationals that paid little local tax) unemployment and inequality grew. For decades the system was evidently not sustainable but the folly continued until the situation eventually imploded towards the end of the C20th. Luckily, at least for the citizens of Latin America, the US abruptly changed its geo-political priorities following 9/11 – communism (which in WASP eyes included social democracy) was no longer public enemy No1. The new enemy was now in Afghanistan – apparently, the Taliban and Al-Qaida religious fanatics, having defeated the USSR, had turned their hate to those other infidels – once their allies, paymasters and arm suppliers – the USA. Then the USA decided to topple another former ally in a geopolitically sensitive region (which just happened to have a plentiful supply of fossil fuels), Sadam Hussein.
The US has not totally abandoned its policies of interfering in the domestic politics of Latin American nations; they recently backed abortive coups in both Venezuela and Ecuador – and successful ones in Honduras in 2009 and Paraguay in 2012, however, their influence there has indisputably waned. While Latin America’s left-leaning governments have no shortage of failings, from corruption to crime they have done much to improve the lives and living standards of their peoples by reversing the neoliberal politics pursued in previous decades. Unfortunately however, the Western Media’s coverage of the area does not change; they routinely portray these democratic governments as being dictatorial while still being apologetic for past US backed regimes which had far worse human right’s records – as in many other reporting world-wide this says more about the failings of our own information institutions than the subjects being analyzed.

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Managua, Nicaragua

Managua Cathedral, Nicaragua.
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Rio, Brasil

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
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Bolivia

Aymara village, Bolivia.
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Cuba

The Capitolio, Havana, Cuba.
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Rio, Brasil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Ecuador

Young mother during potato harvest. Ecuador.
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Bolivia

Young couple in the only "park" in El Alto (alt. 3800m). Bolivia.
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Ecuador

An angel leaves after Christmas day celebrations in eastern Ecuador.
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The Matador, Ecuador

The Matador before the final kill during a bullfight in Quito, Ecuador.
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El Salvador

Four drunks in the San Salvador Central market. El Salvador.
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Rio, Brasil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Havana, Cuba

Youngsters play football in the backstreets of old Havana, Cuba.
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Titicaca , Bolivia

A young couple play football on the banks of lake Titicaca (3800 m) during Easter weekend. Bolivia.
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The butcher, Ecuador

Behind the scenes of a bullfight, the butcher. Quito, Ecuador.
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Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguay fans celebrate a football match victory in Montevideo.
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Havana, Cuba

Old Havana. Cuba.
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Child Labour, Bolivia

Child Labour, a "grave cleaner" in the cemetery of Sucre, the old capital of Bolivia.
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Cocacabana, Bolivia

A youth takes shelter during a shower on "Cavalries Hill". This has been a religious site for at least a millennium and for three different faiths; that of the Aymara, then the Inca and finally the Catholic faith. Cocacabana, lake Titicaca (alt. 3800m). Bolivia.
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Shoeshine, Ecuador

Shoeshine boy looks on at a demonstration against the privatisation of public services (water, electricity etc) in Quito. Ecuador.
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Child Labour, Bolivia

Shoeshine boys hit lucky, a brass band in El Alto (alt. 3800m). Bolivia.
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Santa Martha, El Salvador

Young pupil in class in Comunidad Santa Martha, a cooperative commune of returned war refugees in a zone controlled by the FMLN (left wing insurgents) during the civil war in El Salvador.
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Child Labour, Ecuador

Girl selling fruit in the central market Quito. Ecuador.
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Xmas, Ecuador

Father Christmas in a shopping centre. Quito, Ecuador.
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Nativity, Ecuador

Mary, Joseph and Jesus in Christmas celebrations in a small town in southern Ecuador.
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Squat, El Salvador

Children living in squat 146 on the municipal waste tips of San Salvador during the civil war in El Salvador.
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Oil, Ecuador

Oil and gas exploitation, South East Ecuador.
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Medical clinic, El Salvador

Medical clinic in Comunidad Santa Martha, a cooperative commune of returned war refugees in a zone controlled by the FMLN (left wing insurgents) during the civil war in El Salvador.
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Internally displaced, Ecuador

Internally displaced following conflict between Peru and Ecuador. Southern Ecuador.
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Riot Police, Nicaragua

Sandinista armed forces face down protesters after the Sandinista Party lost the 1990 elections. Nicaragua.
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Riot police, Bolivia

Riot police during demos protesting against the privatization of national oil and gas companies. Despite being unpopular and against the will of the majority of the people, Neo Liberal policies continued to be imposed in much of Latin America. La Paz, Bolivia.
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Guardia Nacional, El Salvador

A pick-up with people detained by the Guardia Nacional in a central market San Salvador.
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FMLN, El Salvador

Young FMLN fighter. The civil war between successive extreme right wing governments (with US backing) exploded in 1981 after the murder by government death squads of Archbishop Romero and continued until 1991. With over 60000 deaths (mostly civilians) it was one of the most tragic in Latin American history.
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Dona Tina, El Salvador

Dona Tina with one of the three sons she lost in the civil war. El Salvador. The civil war between successive extreme right wing governments (with US backing) exploded in 1981 after the murder by government death squads of Archbishop Romero and continued until 1991. With over 60000 deaths (mostly civilians) it was one of the most tragic in Latin American history.
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Luis, Nicaragua

Luis laid mines while a conscript with the Sandinista troops during the "Contra" conflict. One day he stepped on an anti-personnel mine he himself had laid, he was 19 yrs old at the time. Managua, Nicaragua.
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Civilian Victim, El Salvador

Rosendo "Chino" Oluri (57yrs) was a market porter. He was shot by riot police while participating in a demo against the introduction of Neo Liberal policies, i.e. the privatization of public oil and gas companies. Despite being unpopular Neo Liberal policies continued to be adopted throughout Latin America. La Paz, Bolivia.
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"Cino", Bolivia

Rosendo "Chino" Oluri (57yrs) was a market porter. He was shot by riot police while participating in a demo against the introduction of Neo Liberal policies, i.e. the privatization of public oil and gas companies. Despite being unpopular Neo Liberal policies continued to be adopted throughout Latin America. La Paz, Bolivia.
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Municipal worker, Cuba

Municipal worker fixes sewerage system in Havana. Cuba.
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Cotton factory, Nicaragua

Cotton factory in Managua, Nicaragua. Up to the Sandinista revolution in 1979, the factory was owned by the dictator's family, indeed Samosa privately owned 80% of all industry and over 50% of the land. In 1979 the factory was nationalized but was again privatized in 1991 shortly before it was shut.
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Street Traders, Bolivia

Popcorn sellers in central La Paz. Bolivia.
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Coop miners, Ecuador

Cooperative miners, Nambija goldmines. The land is owned by the military which sublet to local coops and, increasingly, to large foreign mining companies. Southern Ecuador.
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Farm hands, Ecuador

Farm hands on a local estate during harvest. Ecuador.
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Mattrasses, Bolivia

Mattresses made from old flour sacks on sale in El Alto. Bolivia.
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Beggar, Ecuador

Beggar and US tourist. Chiborazo, Ecuador.
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Beggar, Cuba

Youth asks a tourist for money in Havana. Cuba.
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Shopping centre, Ecuador

A private security guard in a Quito shopping centre. Ecuador.
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Aymara, Bolivia

Ten Aymara communities gather each year for these carnival celebrations in Northern Potosi Province. Bolivia.
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Sucre, Bolivia

During Carnival in the streets of Sucre, once Bolivia's capital.
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Quito, Ecuador

A crowd at fireworks display. Quito, Ecuador.
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Havana, Cuba

Cyclist in Havana, Cuba.
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Easter, Bolivia

Easter weekend, Cocacabana, lake Titicaca (3800m). This has been a religious site for at least a millennium and three different faiths; that of the Aymara people, then the Inca and finally the Catholic faith. The local shaman rites are a mixture of all three faiths and are guaranteed to improve anything from one's financial status to fertility ... at a moderate price. Bolivia.
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Ortega, Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista President of Nicaragua during the 1990 General Elections which the FSLN lost.
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Assault, El Salvador

An Arena government supporter (extreme right wing) assaults the photographer during 1991 election campaign. El Salvador.