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Wed Apr 29, 2020, 10:20 PM

Women conquer space in Bolivia's Carnival of Oruro

Women conquer space in Bolivia's Carnival of Oruro
Women set up an arena to claim representation there
Translation posted 29 April 2020 21:50 GMT

Women make traditional Andean dances their own with female-led machas caporales at the Carnival of Oruro 2020. Photo by Fabiola Gutierrez.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world’s countries to shut down, colors exploded in bright arrays and music boomed at Bolivia’s Carnival of Oruro which took place this year on February 17-26.

Musicians danced, and dancers sang, all while sporting sparkly hand-embroidered costumes that glittered under the parade lights and fires.

At 3,735 meters (12,253 feet) above sea level, 35,000 dancers and 5,000 musicians celebrated ancestral folklore on their 4-kilometer (2.48 mile) pilgrimage route in devotion to the Virgen del Socavón. The Carnival of Oruro, which takes place every year in southwestern Bolivia, has been declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Although the carnival is an arena for celebration, it also highlights the inequalities between men and women. Yet women and non-binary people, long excluded from the carnival, have now claimed a space where they can exercise their right to participate.


Fascinating videos available at YouTube, all concerning this festival, a really big deal! The symbolism for a very long time has had representations of the conquistadores who invaded, tortured, massacred Bolivians from the first, as devils, etc. It doesn't take a very skilled eye to see this theme gets excellent representation, and it can absorb you. The fear and hatred of the history of racist invaders who steal countries and murder the people then enslave and despise the survivors is NEVER forgotten, no matter how many descendants follow, or how painful the conquering race makes life in the years of subjugation and abuse which follow.

It should never be forgotten that a larger enemy looms above the native popuation, which constitutes the majority, and that's the pompous racists who control the country and its resources even now. As any groups within the outcasts, the downtrodden struggle within their own culture, it remains clear to everyone they ALL are hated and mistreated by the louts at the top, the descendents of the monsters who stole their country, their lives, their world, their futures.

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