I can’t promise that it will remain the title, but I have decided for now to call this blog "Open veins" after reading Eduardo Galeano’s classic book "Open veins of Latin America: Five centuries of the pillage of a continent."
In the book, he traces how the Spanish conquistadores set up a pattern of political and economic relationships that has seen vast wealth extracted from Latin America to benefit firstly European empires and later multinational companies.
Bolivia seems one of the most potent examples of this. Its silver mine in Potosi, discovered by the conquistadores in the 16th century, was at the heart of Spain’s wealth and fuelled Europe’s economic rise.
More than four centuries later, new veins of wealth are being opened up in Bolivia, this time by foreign multinational companies.
The first is gas, an explosive substance not just for its flammability but also its power to corrupt nations and fuel conflicts. The second is water, the essence of life but a substance that increasingly is being turned into a commodity for sale.
They are today’s gold and silver, the lustrous substances that, like the gold in hands of the conquistadores, blind the greedy and rob the poor.
But I don’t plan this blog to be just about exploitation and injustice. It would become very depressing if it was.
I hope also to "open" up the veins of life that flow through Bolivia. To introduce the people I meet and share my time with, show the humour and quirkiness in daily life and convey the buzz of living in a unique and vibrant country like Bolivia.