Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On the airport military operation in Santa Cruz

Probably everyone is linking to the post below, an accurate and sober account of what happened to the Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz. The Bolivian government sent military shock troops to recover control of the airport.

The airport had a new authority appointed during the week, however the person who was replaced (and in charge of the administration so far) refused to quit. And in fact they were demanding cash payments from the airlines landing there, since the government had blocked the bank account of the organization administering Viru Viru. To avoid the situation of losing the permission to operate international flights, the government had to take a quick decision.

Anyway here is the post: link.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Caporales San Simón

I couldn't help feeling nostalgic after I found these two Llajtaymanta videos on YouTube. I danced caporales for four years in Oruro's carnival a long time ago.

Caporales San Simon

Tu mi vida eres tu

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bolivia fertility rate, or is it mortality?

Many months ago I put "Bolivia fertility rate" in google and see what I got as a suggestion from it. Scary!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Commenting on news

You might get the impression that I am not much into Bolivian politics lately. To tell the truth I follow events back home using newspapers rather frequently, blogs are also quite useful for this purpose. Recently I quite liked Jim Schultz interpretation of the power struggles in Bolivia, so you might want to take a look.

For the moment I decided not to comment on anything political because, to be frank, I would be adding very little material to the actual events and existing discussion. I prefer to discuss about things that could be considered niche interests, that is, news items that are not considered interesting in other blogs. One of such interests is the very high rate of traffic accidents in Bolivia, especially accidents that involve intercity transportation. While I was an university student I used to travel from Cochabamba to Oruro and back every other weekend. Although some buses in which I traveled had technical problems, none of these was serious enough to cause an accident, luckily. I happen to know persons that had great personal losses because of accidents, and my brother, being a doctor, told me the horrors that victims of accidents have to go through. These experiences make me interested in the safety of transportation, so whenever I am reading something related in the press I just bookmark the item. I hope I'll have something interesting to say on this, but don't hold your breath. This is by no means a research, maybe it will be a general impression from a collection of press articles.

I have also been bookmarking news related to the yearly floods that the rainy season brings. The news talk about the destruction of much infrastructure including roads, bridges, farms and villages, but very little is discussed on how much damage can be prevented. This intrigues me, the same sad scenes are replayed year after year. I would like to know how much prevention is possible, and also how much of this is the fault of deforestation. After reading Collapse by Jared Diamond, I can see that mismanagement of resources can bring these problems about, what is alarming is that poor countries are especially vulnerable to this pattern.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another post about nothing in particular

There used to be a time when I would sit down and write carefully a blog post. That would involve having an idea worth writing about and then read and reread all sorts of sources to make sure that I would not say some rubbish. I still think that it is a valid procedure. So that I can avoid telling too many fantasies. However this imposes a gigantic time cost. And obviously that could easily take hours from some days. At present, as you can see, I am rather inactive to write things on this blog. I even stopped reading many of the blogs I used to read. The explanation is easy, I spend much of my day in front of computers and I happily avoid using them after work. The consequence is that I stopped paying to attention to my blogger activities. Ha, maybe there is a clever way to make this work. I also used to write blog posts on paper but nah! you have to copy them afterwards.

So lately my posts have been somewhat more spontaneous, not because I am trying to change the style. It is a matter of necessity. Today I started to reply to the comments (thanks to the comment authors, it is a pleasure to receive your visit!) and then I decided to write a post. A post about what? Hah! It doesn't matter, just open the blasted window and start writing about whatever. So we arrive at this sad situation, a blog that talks about itself. (grabbing a tissue and wiping away some selfpity tears) Bah it is not that bad. I am just rather verbose when I am not in editing mode, let's just leave that for academic papers and books, shall we?

Well, well. It turns out that my life has changed a bit these last few weeks, there have been more that a few changes in fact but I won't reveal everything in this blog of course. So, I am just going to say that I don't live in Utrecht anymore. I will be away in Cambridge, UK for three months. Maybe I will be sharing impressions about this place, but at the moment I have nothing too insightful to say, except errrr... it is expensive .... errr... people ride lots of bikes like in the Netherlands and.... (scratching head)... oh, well rainy and stuff. Oh, don't hold your breath, I didn't come here as an anthropologist but as a computer scientist. But I will be thinking of something to say. Unless I become lazy and six months have passed before the next post. I would like to say that after being for some years in the Netherlands, going into a bookshop here makes me feel like a child left alone in a candy store. I run from book to book, utterly undecisive about which book to buy. It is just brilliant! I will be buying something when I get paid, for now I am trying to not get bankrupt before the first month is over.

Oh well, time to sleep. Good night kiddies!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cleaning windows

I try to not be too dirty a guy. I wash my dishes after eating, I wash my mugs, clean the table and counter, I even clean my room. However I haven't cleaned my windows in a long time. Part of the explanation is that there is a passage next to my window so I don't open it very often. So the dirt didn't really bother me. But every now and then I walked past my window and I was astonished to see the quantity of dirt that time had accumulated. So I took a deep breath and on I went with window cleaning. After I was done, and the windows were dry, I used newspaper to make them shine. And I was so satisfied with the result I was smiling. Not everything is that easy to clean, like mistakes, especially big mistakes. However, after cleaning the window, I am encouraged, mistakes may be hard to clean (not erase) but darn, I will try!

Strange blog entry, but I was posting strange things anyway. If you arrived here via google when you were searching coca tea, well, sorry, I didn't set up the store yet. I really should though, zillions of people get here like that.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Visa para un sueño

From 2007 a large number of countries will require Bolivians to have a visa before arriving. Gone are the days of easy traveling. Only eleven countries in the world will not ask me for a visa. Sigh.

Why is this happening? Easy, because of migration. Many people in Bolivia pack up and away they go to make some "tourism". Only in Spain it is said that 200 incoming Bolivians are detected per day. They come from several regions of Bolivia, such as La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Ecuador, Peru and China.


Ecuador, Peru and China!?

Yup. That's what you read. Right until the end of this year it is going to be popular to be Bolivian, because by having a fake passport you can enter Spain somewhat unmolested. So, from those 200 that enter per day, sixty per cent are in fact non-Bolivians.

Update: Sergio's comment just made me realize that I quoted the La Razon article wrong. The sixty percent number for non-Bolivian people with a Bolivian passport is more like eighty percent!

Oh, and in the case you didn't notice it, I named this post after the famous song by Juan Luis Guerra.