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La Paz (AFP) - Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state.

President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba.

It “means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state,” he said.

The treaty has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa since 1972.

Morales said the Gaza offensive shows “that Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”

More than two weeks of fighting in Gaza have left 1,300 dead and 6,000 wounded amid an intense Israeli air and ground campaign in response to missile attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas.

In the latest development, 20 people were killed after two Israeli shells slammed into a United Nations school, drawing international protests.

Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over a previous military operation in Gaza.

In mid-July, Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity.”

Photos: Bolivian ambassador to the UN Sacha Llorenti wears keffiyeh in solidarity with Palestinians, July 2014. 

Bolivian president: Israel air strikes on Gaza is ‘genocide’ | ITV

During a visit to Peru, Bolivian President Evo Morales publicly condemned Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip as “genocide.”

He said: “What is happening in Palestine is genocide. Some are saying that it should be investigated. There is no need to investigate if they (Israel) don’t punish the instigators and perpetrators of genocide.”

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

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at over four thousand square miles, the salar de uyuni salt flat in bolivia is the largest salt flat on the planet. the remnant of a 40 thousand year old lake, the salt flat is surrounded by mountains, which leaves no drainage outlet for rain water. with a variation in surface elevation of less than a metre, this water builds up over the two meter thick crust of slat to create the world’s largest mirror. but as the water evaporates, the salt is scraped away from the surface by locals and piled up into mounds, which further hastens the evaporation.  

photos by (click pic) art wolfeandrew waddington and karla gachet and ivan kashinsky. the salt flats were previously featured here

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French photographer Thomas Rousset and graphic designer Raphael Verona spent three months in South American traveling around the Bolivian Plateau documenting the fascinating lives of a population of some 2 million indigenous people who practice “a peculiar blend of Roman Catholicism (a remnant of Spanish colonization), and Aymara mythology, which includes the worship of Pachamama (“Mother Earth”).”

Rousset and Verona made these magical people and their awesomely ornate costumes the subject of their new book Waska Tatay, “part ethnography, part picture-book fairy tale.” The book explores how the vibrant, mystical lives of these shamans, witches and spiritual healers both blend and collide with the mundane modern world.

"We were struck by how myths come to life when they are shared in the collective unconscious This is mainly why we wanted to show. The mix of images seemingly spontaneous, yet also built with other much staging reflect our desire to create an ambiguous language, the border of reality and fantasy, like our perception Bolivia."

Head over to iGNANT for additional images. Waska Tatay is available for purchase via IDPURE.

[via Wired and iGNANT]

Saya: Dance and Survival in an Afro-Bolivian Village

In the heartland of Bolivia, slavery and liberation are matters of living memory. African descendants worked as slaves until 1952, when slavery was abolished. Despite their being in the area for over 500 years, the national census doesn’t acknowledge their existence. They struggle for cultural survival maintaining their identity when they perform the “Saya” a dance rooted in their African heritage.

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