Voces Bolivianas at BarCamp Santa Cruz

Voces Bolivianas supported and took part in BarCamp Santa Cruz, which took place on Saturday, January 16. Over 100 people from across the country attended in person and partiicpated in the event. In addition, approximately 60 more followed along via the live streaming video.

BarCamps have been taking place all across the world, and this was Bolivia's 3rd such event. The first was organized by Voces Bolivianas in the city of El Alto in August 2008.

In this spirit, several members of the Voces Bolivianas community across the country played key roles in the event, including the two principle organizers, Anne Arrázola and Jessica Olivares, both of whom have coordinated workshops in Santa Cruz.

Hugo Miranda, VB's technical coordinator, gave one of the keynote addresses where he shared his life experiences in the world of web 2.0. He shared the history of Voces Bolivianas with the audience from its early beginnings in 2007.

Mario Durán also gave a presentation via Skype from his home in El Alto about the project WiFi El Alto.

A new sister project called Jaqi Aru was formally launched at BarCamp and was represented by Ruben Hilari, one of the first VB participants in El Alto, joined by Edwin Quispe.

Meet Gabriel, Budding Citizen Journalist

Meet Gabriel Zuleta. He has easily been one of the most enthusiastic new bloggers in the Voces Bolivianas – Santa Cruz project. His blog is called Eufenismos [es] (Euphemisms) Always ready to help, he was instrumental in gathering all of the participants for the closing ceremony held in March. One afternoon in May, I had a long layover in Santa Cruz, so I called Gabriel to see if he was willing to accompany us around the various parts of the Plan 3000 neighborhood to record testimonies and stories from residents after the May 4 Autonomy Referendum. He readily jumped at the opportunity and walked the dusty roads of the outlying areas of Santa Cruz. Together with Santa Cruz coordinator, Jessica Olivares, we interviewed directors of schools where the voting took place, caretakers of schools where ballots were stolen, election officials, and others who witnessed some of the incidents of violence.

Gabriel has the making of a great citizen journalist, as he is very knowledgable about places and people in his neighborhood. For someone in his early 20s, he knows an enormous amount about the history of this part of Santa Cruz that rarely is seen in the mainstream media. Perhaps, most importantly, he is also very curious and unshy when it comes to interviewing others. Here is one interview he helped conduct of the caretaker of one of the schools where ballots were stolen in the middle of the night.

In this video, Gabriel takes us the school where he voted and fortunately, there was no incidents of violence.