Cochabamba is perhaps most well-known around the world for its water protests of 2000, which shut down the city for days. The “Water Wars” pitted farmers and the working poor against a government-backed multinational consortium, who had taken control of the city’s water supply. Cochabamba’s struggle was unusually successful, and has become an inspiration for those who rail against against corporate greed and injustice.
One of the more famous areas in La Paz is the Mercado de Hechecería, or The Witches’ Market, found on Calle Santa Cruz and Linares, near the Iglesia de San Francisco. Here, shops and street vendors sell totems, trinkets and talismans, meant to appease the gods of sun and earth. The sheer number of shops speaks to the stubborn persistence of a religion the Catholics weren’t able to uproot, despite their best, bloody efforts.