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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Pre-Course Assignment

  1. Connections

The excerpt from Mankind’s Poverty… and Calle 13’s song “Latinoamerica” each discuss the oppression of Latin America in different ways. The article investigates the history of conquest and colonization focusing on modern-day Bolivia and Peru, whereas the song is almost an anthem proclaiming the defiant and irrepressible spirit of Latin America. The excerpt tells the bloody story of how indigenous people were nearly exterminated when in under “a century and a half” the native population dropped from, conservatively, about 110 to around 3.5 million. During this “Indian genocide”, natives were enslaved to work for encomenderos, with some being subjugated to horrendous mining conditions as “mitayos”. The article also meticulously follows the river of silver as it traversed the Atlantic to the rest of Europe, as Spain “owed nearly all of the silver shipments… before they arrived”. Spain’s debt, as the document explains, would have long-lasting economic implications for Latin America. Whereas the mined silver and gold “gave a strong thrust to the Industrial Revolution” across Europe, Latin America was left with what Mandel calls the “double tragedy” of being exploited for their resources and not being economically developed on pace with Europe. However, the song “Latinoamerica” focuses on the modern exploitation of Latin Americans. When Calle 13 sings “mano de obra campesina para tu consumo”, they call to attention the mistreatment of Latin American workers in the interest of consumerism. The song has a defiant tone, as seen in the chorus which repeats “no puedes comprar…” to oppose the forces mistreating them. This defiant tone is also conveyed through the line “un pueblo sin piernas pero que camina” drawing attention to the resilient spirit of Latin America. Both sources explore the oppression of Latin America, with the article Mankind’s Poverty… looking into the past, and “Latinoamerica” looking more closely to the present.

  1. Effective global citizenship

I hope this trip will help me better understand people from different backgrounds than my own. I come from a town that is overwhelmingly white and upper-middle class. While I am incredibly grateful for the ample opportunities I have had throughout my life, I look forward to novel experiences and learning from people who grew up differently than I did. I believe by learning more about others and their unique experiences, I will not only be able to understand more about what is happening around me, but will be able to better understand myself. I hope this will help me in my journey to be a more effective global citizen.

  1. Fun Facts!™

I did a little research into the Aymara people and found some Fun Facts!™

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales was born into an Aymara family. A major current issue for the Aymara is the zinc, copper, mercury, and cadmium pollution of Lake Titicaca. The Aymara share the Quechua belief of pachakuti, or of a time when the “pre-colonial order” will return. They have been mainly subsistence farmers for most of history. They were conquered by the Inca cerca 1430, then the Spanish around 1535. They have mainly maintained their traditional religious practices while adopting Christian philosophy regarding the afterlife.