RELEASE DATE: 01 Jan, 2014

EDITORIAL BY Amaru Villanueva Rance

‘SUPPOSING that Truth is a woman—what then?’ are Nietzsche’s enigmatic opening words in his preface to Beyond Good and Evil. As 2013 comes to an end, living in La Paz has led us to ask ourselves, with the utmost seriousness: ‘SUPPOSING that Truth is a chicken—what then?’.

We are gradually coming to the unsettling realisation that chickens and eggs are a more powerful symbol for the country and its inner workings than is commonly understood. Encroaching on territory once occupied by the Illimani, monoliths, the coca leaf and cholitas, chickens have been gradually taking over the collective consciousness, as well as the diets of locals. From the erstwhile and fallen-from-grace president Jaime Paz Zamora (otherwise known as ‘el gallo’, or ‘the rooster’), to the juggling feathered family who, dressed as chickens, have been dominating several traffic lights across the city; the extent of this avian invasion is hard to overstate.

Perhaps it all started when our current president proclaimed that eating chicken causes ‘deviations’ and baldness in men. Or maybe these birds have been pecking their way into our subconscious from early childhood, through nursery rhymes and songs such as ‘Los Pollitos’ and ‘La Gallina Turuleca’. There’s no way to know for certain. All we have learned so far is that eggs are getting larger and more nutritious, people are starting to keep hens as house pets, and that rooster-shaped fireworks can be filmed at 60 frames per second to create photoessays which facetiously capture the cruelty inherent in most of our relationships with these feathered reptilian descendants.

Several chickens were severely harmed during the making of this issue, though not necessarily by us (apart from the pyrotechnic rooster).


El Gallo

21 Jan, 2014 | Finn O'Neill, Amaru Villanueva Rance

Bolivian Express talks to former President Jaime Paz Zamora to understand what the goalkeeper-turned-deacon-turned-politician got up to after retiring from public life. Former Bolivian Preside...

Chickening Out

21 Jan, 2014 | Tom Michael

Bolivian Express talks to Nutritionist Veronica Cortez and Veterinarian Dr. Gina Muñoz Reyes to try and dispel some popular myths about chicken production, and find out what really goes into our food…...

The Chicken Jugglers

21 Jan, 2014 | Amalie Mersh

La Paz’s most loved feathered family. 'They are here on Thursdays and Fridays' was the first thing we were told. Then we got: 'No, they aren’t here today. They only work from the 1st to the 15th...

Where the Wild Wings Are

21 Jan, 2014 | Amalie Mersh

The chicken wing takes off Over the past five years, chicken wings have been taking over the Bolivian market. The first chicken wing restaurant – straightforwardly named Chicken Wings – started...


21 Jan, 2014 | Wilmer Machaca

Wilmer Machaca savours some of La Paz’s most traditional market delicacies Cuellitos (Chicken Necks) Doña Wilma has been selling deep-fried chicken necks with potatoes for five years in Villa P...

The Colours of Cruelty

21 Jan, 2014 | Claudia Mendez Sanabria

The most profound minds of all time have felt compassion for animalsFriedrich Nietzsche As a child in the 80’s I used to walk past street fairs lined with splintering old boxes with a chirping medle...


21 Jan, 2014 | Wilmer Machaca, Amaru Villanueva

Wilmer Machaca takes us on a musical tour of chicken-inspired popular local classics With additional research by Amaru Villanueva Rance The first musical memory of many Bolivians is without a dou...

Ruling the Roost

21 Jan, 2014 | Mila Araoz, Amaru Villanueva

The Mendoza-Donlan family explain what it is like to keep chickens as pets. They were a Christmas present for our children, we bought five chicks. We were told white chickens are reared for their me...


23 Jan, 2014 | Claudia Mendez Sanabria, Alexandra Melean

What makes an egg better than another? Don Manuel, who sells criollo eggs in Rodríguez market, tells me that the size of an egg is proportional to the age of the hen; the older she is, the bigger t...