RELEASE DATE: 01 Aug, 2014

EDITORIAL BY Sara Shahriari

This month’s writers for the Bolivian Express chose 'through the looking glass' as the theme that unites the issue. It's an idea well-suited to this remarkable and complex country, where we need to travel beyond assumptions and the easily-perceived surface of life to begin understanding everything from work to play to technology to fantasy.

In July, the Bolivian government reversed the numbers on the clock tower that stands over the Plaza Murillo, one of La Paz's iconic public spaces. It also reversed the hands of the clock so that they run anti-clockwise and christened the new timepiece the 'Clock of the South'. While at first glance this may seem odd, if you spend a moment thinking about concepts of time, nationality and where the traditional timepiece was born, the idea shifts from strange to fascinating.

Likewise, our reporter working on the issue of child labour found her assumptions challenged as she was pulled back and forth between dramatically different points of view on what is best for working children. The Bolivian government recently approved a new law that allows people as young as 10 to legally work across the country, sparking outcry from some international and national organizations that see it as damaging to children's rights. On the other hand, a nationwide organization of working children and teens hails the legislation as a positive step toward improving their working conditions and their lives.

In this issue we're also looking at events that are shaping and changing the Bolivian reality through the looking glass of technology. This year Bolivia launched its first satellite, began a program to distribute free computers to tens of thousands of high-school students, and kicked off a an election season where social media holds an unprecedented place in the campaign process. At the same time, many people across the country have no access to Internet, a situation that highlights the radical and multi-faceted shift that technologies bring to each person and community they touch.

So come with us as we watch the clock, step across unassuming thresholds into unexpected spaces, ponder the apocalypse and examine what unites fantasy worlds across cultures. You may find that what you thought you knew is just a small part of the story.



19 Aug, 2014 | Christy Callaway-Gale

Bolivian Express investigates El Alto`s revolutionary computing plant Engineers in white lab coats, students in crisp Quipus shirts and new laptops, fresh from the Quipus computing plant: this wa...


19 Aug, 2014 | Eve Young

From staple to Super Food  The United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. But why bring this superfood to the public consciousness for just one year alone? Quinoa, a g...


19 Aug, 2014 | Lulu Shooter

A short story by Lulu Shooter fusing Andean legends and English West Country roots. Is the grass always greener in your imagination? ‘You’re doing it wrong, María!’ ‘This is exactly right, estú...


19 Aug, 2014 | Lulu Shooter

CONSTRUCTING ALTERNATIVE WONDERLANDS El Alto is one of the fastest growing city in Bolivia in terms of population, architecture and ideas. Lulu Shooter discovers that there’s more to life within the...


19 Aug, 2014 | Giselle Storm Hyam

A different sort of reality? On Tuesday the 15th of July, surrounded by hundreds of children, Vice President Álvaro García Linera signed new legislation making Bolivia the nation with the world’s...


19 Aug, 2014 | Niamh Mcintyre

“The clock is just one part of a whole conjunction of themes. If you only see the clock going backwards you're not seeing anything.” At midnight on the 21st of June this year, Bolivians witnesse...


19 Aug, 2014 | Niamh Mcintyre

A first encounter with the work of Marcelo Suaznabar is equally fantastical and unsettling. At first, there is a visual delight in the surreal chaos of the image, as in El Macabro Paso del Tiempo, whe...


19 Aug, 2014 | Christy Callaway-Gale

From C.S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia through Cortázar’s Ajolotes, supernatural worlds are in abundance in literary works. But what makes a literary wonderland tick? If we take a look at Britis...


19 Aug, 2014 | Shirin Vetry

A short story about a boy from La Paz going to the Amazon for the first time This is my country, he thought. Spend two hours on a plane and the outside world shifts from cement towers and alpaca swe...


19 Aug, 2014 | Niamh Mcintyre

It is almost impossible to spend time in La Paz without encountering the work of Mujeres Creando. Even if you don’t go out of your way to visit their headquarters in La Virgen de los Deseos or if y...