Voces Bolivianas was recently featured in the magazine OH!, which accompanies the Sunday edition of the Los Tiempos newspaper in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Javier Méndez Vedia writes in Ciudadanía Virtual Democracia en La Bandeja de Entrada (Virtual Democratic Citizenshp in the Inbox)
In El Alto, this curiosity is still young and uses blogs as tools. One of the most interesting projects is called Voces Bolivianas and involves 25 participants. A workshop was held to teach how to create blogs and in January there will be another one, held especially for women. “In the first workshop the majority were women,” explains Dora Romero, a participant from El Alto. One of the most enthusiastic is Mario Duran, who, tired of being ignored by the larger media, decided to publish his own articles on his blog. Now he is well-known, and it is easier to publish in the regular press, but the project also takes time. “We must create dialogues regarding what is happening. We want people in Santa Cruz and from all across the country to visit us and begin to dialogue and look at us as complementary realities. We may have different cultures, but at the end of the day the codes in Santa Cruz can also be read in El Alto,” said Duran.
Fortunately, this network of young citizens has the support of Global Voices, an organization in the United States that foments participation through personal blogs. A Bolivian is responsible for Latin America. When he responded to the interview, Eduardo Ávila Bustillos was in Uruguay coordinating his work for Global Voices. “It is a way to connect people without filters. From the places underrepresented in the Internet (starting with El Alto), people can tell their stories. There are many people represented by very radical people and I think that many think that everyone in El Alto is how they are shown in the media. However, there is a lot in common with the rest of Bolivia.” In www.globalvoicesonline.org, one can read what is happening in areas like Sierra Leone, India, Colombia and Africa. United States and Europe are not included, because, as the website states, they are already well represented in other networks. A ‘collateral’ effect of this initiative is that there is a blog written in Aymara (aymara.vocesbolivianas.org). There are few people that habitually read this language, but the flame has been lit.