A rebellion and a strike are currently going on in the towns of Catavi and Siglo XX(20th Century) high up in the Andes mountains, in the Bolivian province of Oruro.
MS. Bolivian soldier on guard
MS Sign: Hammer and Sickle emblem.
MS Miners village.
MS Open mine shaft.
LS Women picking up ore.
LS Women with packs on their backs.
MS Soldiers in half-track vehicle.
MS Soldier with machine gun.
MS Wounded miner in hospital.
MS Wounded miner with leg missing.
MS Miner with arm missing.
LS Village market place.
MS Women selling fruit.
MS Women selling clothers.
MS Women with baby.
MS Village huts.
MS Priest talking with old man.
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Background: A rebellion and a strike are currently going on in the towns of Catavi and Siglo XX(20th Century) high up in the Andes mountains, in the Bolivian province of Oruro.
Both of these towns are tin mining centers, populated by poor, tough, often illiterate, Indians. They live in groups of huts around the mine entrances and have very little connection with the government of Bolivia in La Paz. Because of the remoteness of the area, these people are a fairly closed society.
For years, the leaders of the various mine workers unions have followed a left wing policy and there have been periodic clashes with government troops in this area. Recently, the union leaders declared the region, known as Asanaques, a "free territory". It was a kind of revolution and the Bolivian government in La Paz responded by sending in troops.
In the fighting that followed, 21 people were killed, including five children. 70 people were wounded. After the Bolivian Army troops had regained control, they stayed in the area to patrol the mines and the nearby villages. The local people have continued a strike begun against the mine operators when the region was declared a "free territory."
Nothing move at the mines. The heavy machinery stands idle, the cable cars hang quietly in the air instead of moving back and forth to the processing units.
Local women occasionally walk near the mines and take away small bits of ore they can carry, but the soldiers have outlawed this practice and the women must be careful not to be seen.
In the local hospital, the wounded miners, injured in the bitter fighting, are recovering. Many have lost limbs. The presence of these wounded miners only increases the hatred and contempt which the townspeople have for the Army troops.
The local market places seem untouched by the disturbance, but there are far fewer people to buy since the mines are closed and the men have no money. The situation remains tense.