Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Travelling is the eternal chase of the horizon. Horizon could fairly be the name of a wounded animal that leaves its tracks... After such prey I left Andalgalá, Argentina towards the Bolivian border across Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy provinces. On the picture: La Maga portrayed with a tank of holy water while camping in the church of Bermejo, Bolivia.

Loaded with tree trunks this Ford F-100 pick up gave me a lift from Andalgalá to Aconquija, across the Cuesta de Chilca.

Landscape in the Cuesta de Chilca, Catamarca Province.

My driver from Concepción to San Miguel de Tucumán in the company of a goose, and with his Renault Megane in the back.

Charly and Diego, two fellow hitch-hikers who hosted me in San Miguel de Tucumán.

Tucumán city is really poles apart from the expectations of colonial city many travellers harbour.

Murga taking place during a sexual tolerance rally in Tucumán.

Hitching a ride in a school bus taking the children home after classes in Guemes, Salta Province, Argentina.

Member of the road construction team using a theodolite, near Pampa Blanca. Jujuy Province.

Border corssing from Aguas Blanca (Argentina) to Bermejo (Bolivia)

Yungas is the name of the high altitude jungle sprawling from Northenrn Argentina into Bolivia.... There go my steps.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Andalgalá is the polemic town that recently hit the news after thousand of poeple manifested against Yamana Gold and Agua Rica project. Gold is being extracted from nearby Mina La Alumbrera for a decade already. Now, new projects menace the region, already hitted by draught, water pollution and social tensions. In the pictures, you can see how the offices of Yamana Gold looked like the morning after citizens smashed windows in a justified protest.

Urbano Cardozo doesn´t smash windows, but has been working hard for years to rise awareness of the matter. He had people from the mine visiting his house with a blank check, inviting him to pen an ammount, and choose the number of zeros... Loyal to the cause, he kept working and organizing citizen awareness.

This woman came every day to my "office" (a room Urbano had lent me in order to carry one my investigation) and offered me quince jelly she prepares herself in her patio....

Foto de una foto. Operarios de la mina retiran como pueden del río los minerales pesados derramados.

All across Andalgalá area, six licks in the mine mineral pipelines that transports heavy metals have already been confirmed. Five of them in Villa Vil and one in Ampujaco. In the picture you can see a lick in Villa Lola, Tucumán Province. The mine payed unqualified workers to just collect the hazardous metals in plastic bags, as if they were handling mud...

Foxes around La Alumbrera mine are reported to loose their skin...

The Algarrobo Assembly, where people gather to exchange advise on how to keep the struggle against such powerful companies. While the mine have their sociologists and experts working in their Canada and Anrgentina based headquarters, poeple gather under a tree. What could bee more genuine and coherent? The Assembly also doubles as roadblock for mining trucks to enter the are of Agua Rica project.

Andalgalá town hall, parcially burned by the manifesting crowed. Absolutely deserved by a major who has nicked enviromentalists as "hippies" as if this alone would be threatening. Medieval thought still prevails across political class in Catamarca, it seems.

Friday, May 07, 2010


La Maga - my backpack- waiting by the roadside in Londres, a small town in Catamarca Province, curiously named after a Tudor wedding in the XVII century.

Antonio Avar, skilfull tapesry maker from Belén, another famous town in the region. His family hosted my for two nights.

On the way to Andalgala, town which is sit of the resistance against La Alumbrera Gold Mine.

I would sit in a park to share a piece of bread, if I would ever find a soulmate sensible to the beauty of the open road. I was very close to finding it, but I didn`t know that.

At a place called Chumbiche, I camped in a park and lighted a cigar, a gift from a journalist friend of mine from Buenos Aires. I put some Bacanic music in my netbook. I semed a hostt to an invisble party. I was curious how would the scene evolve would a policeman arrive to check my documents....

From Chumbicha to Mutkin, I got a ride in this 1960 Jeep. The guy was manager of the provincial gas company.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Tinogasta is a large town in arid Catamarca Province, where locals struggle to keep mining companies away from extracting uranium in the region. Roadblocks and rallies are common. IN the picture, a classical Argentinean pick up, flag, and a "pava" (teapot to boil water for mate)

Image of the town center, where life seems to carry on, while the threat is always there, underneath your feet.

As in the rest of the mining provinces, the problem is deep and has to do with possible models of development. Catamarca certainly existed before mining boom. Other activities such as agriculture (olive) are gradually loosing their reputation as key factors for economy development. Also, undescriminate social benefit programs are a factory of laziness. Most people just live day by day by stretching their assigned budget, and don´t work the land as eagerly as their ancestors.

Trucks in direction to La Alumbrerra mine being blocked by local enviromentalists in Tinogasta.

The mine trucks attempt to organize a counter-block. But the Army inmediatly ordered them to return to their possitions.

Six thousand people manifested against uranium industry some months ago.... Amazingly, the students who are taught the goverment is the one responsioble for watching over the citizens rights are now the ones reminding them their job.