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Cerro Rico de Potosí, king of all mountains, pyramid of all minerals, palace of all treasures, is today a rubble dump in danger of collapsing over the ten thousand miners who enter it every day. Since the 16th century these mines, perched on the Andes, have enriched and financed the conquistadors and the Spanish Empire, and the town that sprung up nearby was as large as a European metropolis. This earned the mountain the nickname of “Cerro Rico” (rich mountain). Thanks to Cerro Rico the mining barons founded the first Bolivian capitalism. However, Potosí was also something else: the scene of the 1952 revolution, the site of military massacres and Che’s last guerrilla war. Ander Izagirre leads us in a journey between past and present to tell what Potosí is today, a place where wealth encounters extreme poverty, harsh working conditions, lack of the minimum conditions of security and a social system in which people live with trauma and violence. In the best tradition of Kapuściński’s social reportage.

Ander Izagirre (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1976) is a journalist, writer, blogger and traveler. He studied journalism at the University of Navarra and has published reports and articles in media such as National Geographic, Altaïr, Lonely Planet Magazine, Nuestro Tiempo, Pie Izquierdo, El Diario Vasco, and El Correo. Between 2000 and 2001, he participated in the expedition “Pangea, viaje al fondo de los continentes”, which along nine months travelled to the deepest depressions of each continent. From that trip came the book “Los sótanos del mundo” (Elea, 2005). He has also published “Palestina, ombligo del mundo” (Sauré, 2000) and “El testamento del Chacal. Viaje por Yibuti” (Laertes, 2003), and his reportages include those on Guaraní Mothers (2010), the child miners of Bolivia (2009) and the series “Cuidadores de mundos” from the Basque Country and Navarre (2007). For the book Potosí (2017) he received the 2017 Euskadi Literature Prize, the 2018 English Pen Prize, and the Kapuscinski Prize in Poland in 2022. This chronicle of Bolivian mining has been translated into four languages. He also received the European Press Award in 2015 for a reportage on military crimes in Colombia.



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