I have written previously about the uneducated foolish people of Bolivia who cling to witchcraft as part of their “cultural heritage.” Last we saw them, they were making Llama-jerky from aborted fetuses of Llamas. Now they sacrifice llamas in spent mines in hopes that none of their foolish companions and coworkers who still work the mines die in their fruitless effort to find any remaining silver.
From Reuters here:
In a Bolivian Carnival tradition, dozens of howling-drunk miners cut the hearts from four trussed-up llamas in a dark mine tunnel lit by a bonfire, accompanied by the deafening blare of a brass band.
“It’s good luck,” proclaimed Quechua Indian witch doctor Jose Morales, holding up a beating llama heart while miners streaked blood on their faces to ward off hazards in the Itos mine above the central Bolivian town of Oruro. “All four hearts were beating when they came out; that means the year will go really well. It’s a very good sign,” miner Isaac Meneses said with relief. Sacrifices to appease “Uncle,” the capricious spirit who owns the silver, tin and zinc deposits in the Bolivian Andes are a key ingredient to Carnival celebrations this week.
Oruro was long ago abandoned by big mining companies but low-budget groups of laid-off miners still work the mostly depleted mines in the hills that rise above the parade route. They earn up to $300 a month, decent money in Bolivia, but the drilling and dynamite are dangerous and three miners have died in the Itos mine since 2001. That’s why they gather every year during Carnival to spill llama blood down the shafts.
“Sure I feel bad for the llama, but better he dies than us. If we don’t feed Uncle, he’ll eat us. We’re spilling the blood so we don’t have accidents,” said miner Jaime Robles, 51, a big wad of coca leaves stuffed in his cheek.
Risking your life in an abandoned silver mine? Complete idiots. Maybe their hero President Evo Morales would invest in some mining safety equipment? Or much more sensibly, close the mine and use science and geology to find an alternative resource to tap? Surely that would be a better plan than ritual sacrifice? And where is PETA on this?