Partying with Bolivian President Evo Morales at Carnival

Collection with 10 media items created by Anne Georg

Bolivia 17 Feb 2007 00:00

Once a year, Oruro, a moth-coloured mining town on the Andean altiplano, emerges from its drab cocoon as an extravagant butterfly. Fueled by the sacred coca leaf, dancers and musicians parade along a 4km route in the 20-hour homage to the devil. Then they fall to their knees and crawl into the cathedral to worship the Virgin and receive blessings from the priest. From bleachers lining the streets, tens of thousands of spectators from all over Bolivia celebrate this spiritual procession by randomly hurling water bombs as hard as they can. They also spray foam from pressurized canisters, often on purpose, directly into the faces of their victims. After all, it’s easier to rob someone blinded by stinging foam. Bolivia’s Vice President, Álvaro Garcia Linera, and President Evo Morales chose foam as their weapon of choice. A bodyguard takes snapshots as the president and his top official spray each other amidst roars of laughter. Meanwhile, dancers and brass bands careen by in a kaleidoscopic clash of bodies, colors and sounds.

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Bolivia President Ev... Carnaval De ... La Diablada Oruro Anne Georg Photography Journalist Costumes Masks

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Party with Evo Morales 01
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

Once a year, Oruro, a moth-coloured mining town on the Andean altiplano, emerges from its drab cocoon as an extravagant butterfly.

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Party with Evo Morales 02
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

The Diablada, as the Carnaval of Oruro is known, rivals that of Rio de Janeiro. Dancers don elaborate costumes and compete as they whirl and twirl along the parade route during this 20-hour spectacle of colour.

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Party with Evo Morales 03
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

The dancers' costumes can weigh as much as four kilograms and are created afresh each year.

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Party with Evo Morales 04
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

Fueled by the sacred coca leaf, dancers and musicians surge along a 4km parade route in the 20-hour-long homage to the devil. Then, they fall to their knees and crawl into the cathedral to worship the Virgin and receive blessings from a priest.

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Party with Evo Morales 05
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

This tradition springs from the darkness of the indigenous miners’ underground gods in contrast to Catholicism’s virginal icon.

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Party with Evo Morales 06
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

Dancers and brass bands careen by in a kaleidoscopic clash of bodies, colors and sounds.

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Party with Evo Morales 07
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

Even President Evo Morales attends the traditional event, underlining its cultural importance to indigenous Bolivians.

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Party with Evo Morales 08
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

From bleachers lining the streets, tens of thousands of spectators from all over Bolivia celebrate the spiritual procession by randomly hurling water bombs as hard as they can. Alternatively, they spray foam from pressurized canisters, often on purpose, directly into the faces of their victims. After all, it’s easier to rob someone blinded by stinging foam.

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Party with Evo Morales 09
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

Bolivia’s Vice President, Álvaro Garcia Linera, and President Evo Morales chose foam as their weapon of choice.

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Party with Evo Morales 10
Oruro, Bolivia
By Anne Georg
17 Feb 2007

The mayhem continues with no regard to presidential safety - and no incidents are reported. The spectacle remains one of the most sensational in the world.