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Bolivia: Rain, Rain, Go Away … At Least Before Carnaval Starts

Carnaval is in the air, as Bolivians enjoy a four-day weekend. Much of the nation’s focus is on the Carnaval of Oruro, perhaps the most well-known in the country and declared by UNESCO as Mankind's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. During the anticipation of this festival approached, one of the few bloggers in Oruro, Hugo Miranda, worried some of the inter-departmental transport would take advantage and raise prices, even though it was prohibited by law. In addition, heavy rains also have arrived in Oruro, and Miranda worried that the weather would cause grave difficulties for these important dates. In his blog, Angel Caido [ES] he posts some videos of the standing water that had invaded his city.

Heavy rains attributed to the El Niño phenomenon also affected other parts of the country. In Santa Cruz, rains would also affect many citizens as documented by Willy Andres in his flickr account. The rains would also affect one Santa Cruz blogger directly. Claudia Peña Claros writes in her blog Inutil Ardor [ES]:

Mi casa está destruida. Podría ingresar a lo que de mi casa queda, buscar un retazo de nubes en el cielo, y fotografiar los muros derruidos, para decir que alguna vez estuve en la guerra. La semana pasada llovió, y la saliva escurrida de las paredes exacerba ahora el dramatismo de lo inequívocamente roto.

My house is destroyed. I could enter into what remains of my house, look for clouds in the sky and photograph the demolished walls, to say that once I was in war. Last week it rained, and the saliva that drained from the walls exacerbated what is now unequivocally broken.

Even as many are dealing with the harsh climate, Bolivians cannot escape Carnaval. In Tarija, located in the southern part of Bolivia, Marco, author of the blog Pandemónium [ES], writes that even though Carnaval may differ in various parts of the country, that most of them have in common of celebrating “Compadres,” which comes from the combination of the words “Como = like” and “Padres=Father”. In the practice, one gives a present to a friend indicating that he is very important.

Pero ojo, no cualquiera es compadre. La regla indica que sólo a aquel amigo(a) por el que sientes un alto aprecio y lealtad a prueba de fuego puede ser tu compadre, este regalo es un símbolo casi de hermandad, desde la palabra: com-padre = como padre comadre= como-madre; por ello los hijos de tu compadre son tus ahijados

Not anyone can be compadre. The rule indicates that only that friend to which you feel a high respect and loyalty under fire can be your compadre. This gift is a symbol of brotherhood, from the word “like father” and “like mother” because the children of your compadre are your godchildren.

Alfonso Gumicio a Paceño blogger at Bitácora Memoriosa [ES] talks about a tradition in his hometown of the “Pepino”, which is a dubious Carnaval character that may come from Italian origin. The character looks very similar to a clown, but also captures some of the characteristics of native Bolivians proving that there still remain a blend of the various cultures.

The excitement over Carnaval did overshadow some big news, when President Evo Morales visited Brazil to renegotiate the price of gas exported to its neighbor. Sergio Asturizaga, who currently lives in Brazil and blogs at Así Como Me Ves Me Tienes [ES] talks about the contracts signed by previous governments that allowed for low prices to Brazil even as world prices for this resource was significantly higher. President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva agreed to the new price that would provide Bolivia up to 144 million dollars in additional revenue per year, in what Asturizaga would call a “fair price.” Andrés Pucci, a consistent critic of this government, thinks that this is a step in the right direction, as it is “a large increase in a small market that gives an interesting total, it is not that I agree and say excellent to the 11% increase, but it is a step towards a more fair price.”

This time, last year:

Some bloggers continued to discuss the selection of recently elected President Morales’ cabinet and the curious choice of Casmira Rodriguez, as Minister of Justice. As a former domestic workers, but who also rose to prominence as an activist for the rights of the domestic workers, Ramirez was heavily criticized as being unqualified. However, some bloggers defended her selection with testimonials and experience working with her.

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