Navigation – Plan du site

Accueilnumeros65Sur le champPaving a route: Transportation an...

Sur le champ

Paving a route: Transportation and Aymara politics between Bolivia and Chile

Pavimentar una ruta: transporte y política aymara entre Bolivia y Chile
Alejandro Garcés et Jorge R. Moraga


À travers le travail ethnographique réalisé sur la route terrestre qui relie le port d'Iquique (Chili) et la ville d'Oruro (Bolivie), par laquelle circule une partie importante des flux de personnes et de marchandises entre les deux pays, l'article tente de rendre compte d'un nouveau moment d'expansion capitaliste dans ces territoires portés par l'industrie des transports et la manière dont elle articule des stratégies économiques fondées sur les liens familiaux, sur l'imbrication des positions politiques et des rituels au niveau local, et sur l'appropriation de la frontière nationale comme un espace économique et politique pour son déploiement.

Haut de page

Entrées d’index

Index par rubriques :

Sur le Champ
Haut de page

Texte intégral

This work is part of the results of FONDECYT Project No. 1230486, “Poder transportista: ruta, frontera y espacio transnacional entre Bolivia y Chile” (ANID-Chile); FONDECYT Project No. 1230734 “Flujos transnacionales chinos en Chile: familias, comercio y mercancías” (ANID-Chile); and ATACAMA-SHS: Sciences Humaines et Sociales en Territoire Minier. Projet Pluridisciplinaire de Recherche et Formation Doctorale (CNRS-France).


1A new stage of ties and connections between Bolivia and Chile began in the 1990s following the construction of highways and asphalted routes between the two countries. It centered around movement in two opposite directions. On the one hand, and mainly due to the Iquique Duty-Free Zone (Zona Franca de Iquique, ZOFRI), there was a huge influx of goods through the Pampa and high-altitude areas toward Bolivia. On the other, Bolivians began migrating to Chile and shipping mining cargo to the ports on the Pacific coast.

2The commercial boom directly impacted the territory. The routes connecting these places, enabling these different types of movement, precipitated the emergence of new transportation methods for goods and people. These are the focus of our analysis. The routes have demonstrated an initially aseptic capacity to connect as well as an ability to produce important events and dynamics, which this article observes are led and/or sustained by ground transport. The routes activated by ground transport created migrant pathways (often woven into regional or continental migrant flows) and enabled the transnationalization of spaces previously limited to nation-state borders. That process also contributed to capitalist accumulation among ethnic and non-ethnic businesspeople who built trade channels on various levels. 

3Importantly, the transportation and flow of goods and people across this international border are not necessarily new. Rather, this is a question of increased intensity based on new infrastructure development, changes in the materials or mechanisms that enable these flows, and the translocal and transnational processes of Bolivian and Aymara populations mainly settled in Chile’s northern coastal cities. In this sense, the article constitutes an approach within what could be understood as an anthropology of routes and infrastructures, since we understand the routes as the paradigmatic material infrastructure of the 21st century, supporting both the information society (in the ever-increasing circulation of goods and labor) and the extractive economies of developing countries on which the production and reproduction of such goods and labor depend (Dalakoglou and Harvey, 2012, p. 459). Infrastructure is also understood as forming part of a certain technology of government (Appel et al., 2018) and, in general, as a new anthropological object that articulates ideas from the past, imaginaries of the future, building practices and regulatory mechanisms.

4The configuration of these infrastructures then shapes an object capable of reorganizing experiences, conflicts and ways of life, through the singular way in which it produces borders, flows of goods and labor, transport economies, imaginaries of past and future, state regulations and control technologies and, in general, new regimes of wealth production. In this way, the road interconnection implies a transformation of the landscape and of the social relations that occur there, to the point of producing winners (those who benefit from the reduction of distances and time) and losers (those displaced by the work) (Camargo and Uribe, 2012, p. 11) This scene, which makes visible dissimilar meanings for different social groups confronted with infrastructure projects (Star 1999), has positioned ethnography as a useful tool to address these transformations, and has given rise in the last decade to works dealing with objects such as railroads (Dalakoglou and Harvey, 2016; Fisch, 2018), roads (Garcés and Moraga, 2016; Harvey and Knox, 2015), water infrastructures (Damonte et al., 2022; Björkman, 2015), power grids (Abram, Winthereik and Yarrow, 2019; Acevedo-Guerrero, 2019) and canals (Carse, 2014), experiences that show the explanatory power and multiple edges that ethnography comes to stage.

5In this context, the diversity of land transportation methods constitutes a new vector for organizing the Bolivia-Chile space. Through key elements – the formation experiences of transportation companies, their roadway-based relationship to local politics and the mobility these entities serve or produce – we can understand transportation’s role in constructing a transnational area between Chile and Bolivia. The process involves the emergence of transport power, defined as the set of relationships through which transportation conditions social, political and economic life in these territories, thus shaping a social, political and economic area that transverses the international border (Garcés and Moraga, 2018).

Illustration 1 - Ruta Iquique-Oruro and main towns

Illustration 1 - Ruta Iquique-Oruro and main towns

Source: FONDECYT project 1230486.

6Traffic on paved routes 15-CH and 12-Bolivia, which connect Iquique and Oruro via the Colchane-Pisiga border crossing, has as one of its main drivers the commercial activity of the ZOFRI. Established in the 1970s, ZOFRI’s influence on the zone became more prominent in the 1980s, when imports intensified, and merchandise began to flow through to other countries in the region. Today, the ZOFRI is instrumental in trading with over 70 countries. In 2022, it processed transactions totaling US$ 815,337,555 and 220,948 metric tons of goods, primarily motors, generators, vehicles, tires, and appliances – merchandise that sustains the transport circuits we analyze (Chilean Customs Service, 2023). Chinese trade chains play an important role in these markets. At ZOFRI, the main origins of these products are Shanghai, Guangzhou and mainly the province of Zhejiang, represented by the ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan, Hangzhou, Wenzhou and the market city of Yiwu. They comprise 17% of all ZOFRI companies and 41% of all products, outpacing even the United States, which accounts for just 10% of merchandise sold (Moraga and Ivernon, 2019 and 2020). The flow of people along the route has increased notably. According to Chilean Customs Service statistics, the average flow of people in the area was just 85,000 between 1997 and 2004. That number has soared since 2005, surpassing 400,000 in 2021 (2023).

7Economic and political capital accumulation processes can be traced in the trajectories of some of today’s transportation workers’ families in Chile and Bolivia. The text focuses on some forms of the transportation business to reveal a set of local changes and impacts triggered by infrastructure developments like the roadways we examined herein. This article uses an ethnography of the changes that followed the opening of these roadways, including the massive outflows of goods and merchandise. It describes a new phase of capitalist expansion initiated from the 1990s onwards and led by the local transportation industry and its involvement in local politics. In methodological terms, the ethnography has been developed in successive periods from 2013 to the present in the Chilean and Bolivian spaces of the route in question, including observation records and interviews with the different actors involved, such as transport entrepreneurs, drivers, public officials and political and/or community leaders in the territory. For analysis purposes, we focus on cases that express the articulation of a kinship-based economic strategy, the overlap of State power structures (municipalities and deputy mayor’s offices on the Chilean and Bolivian sides of the border, respectively) and their unique way of capitalizing on the opportunities afforded by the border (as an economic and political space for unfolding of ethnic and national differences).

Local ties between transportation and politics on the route

  • 1 The letters X, Y and Z below are used for the purpose of anonymizing the participating actors.

8The capitalist expansion that followed the mining and trade booms in these territories from the 1990s onwards, was accompanied by a decline in the agriculture and livestock economy and the resulting depopulation of inland towns (Grebe, 1986; Van Kessel ,2003 and 1992 [1981]). The long-standing communities anchored by those economies reorganized themselves translocally, joining the labor markets and cities’ service industries. One Aymara-Chilean, whose family owns “Transportes X”1 commented on their accumulation of economic capital. They managed a chain of butcher shops in Alto Hospicio with a supplier network from Osorno, Lo Valledor (Santiago, Chile), Paraguay, Argentina and even the United States of America. He worked in the family meat business until 2009 when he decided to take part of their assets and return to the altiplano of Colchane to build a hotel and explore the tourism industry:

“I worked in (...) one of our butcher shops. I managed the butcher shop, and my siblings still work there. In other words, the family is more or less established in the field. We’ve been in it for over 20 years. It gets to be a little draining because you have to be there every day.” (Interview with a transportation company owner.)

9The story of “Transportes X” is paradigmatic. In 1994, they started out with rural passenger transport between Iquique and Colchane. Toward the end of that decade, capitalizing on the explosive population growth in Alto Hospicio on the outskirts of Iquique, they began running two small taxi buses along the 12-kilometers route and the giant cliff that separates Alto Hospicio from the port city. They founded an industry association named Transatélite A.G. In 2004, when the municipality of Alto Hospicio was officially recognized, they secured the municipal transportation concession. Today, their large fleet services the Collahuasi, Gaby, Zaldívar and other mines.

10Bus company “Y,” owned by the same family, peaked decades ago. After a few golden years of offering a leading passenger transport option between Iquique and Oruro, they have lost out to Chilean and Bolivian national companies. In recent years, “Y” has only offered two departures per day from Iquique, a small portion of the more than 20 trips other companies offer. Despite their minor role in the passenger market, the transportation business has enabled significant capital accumulation in the surrounding area.

11The “Z” family has also grown its capital by expanding transportation businesses, thereby increasing social differentiation in the communities of origin. A small-scale Aymara transport professional who owns a single truck and offers private urban transport services takes exception to the disadvantages that smaller operators face when trying to compete with Colchane’s powerful families: “The ‘Zs’ - they grew a lot, too. Gregorio ‘Z,’ that was his name. Ugh! They’re big businessmen now because they were successful as a family... Of course! (...) That’s it, because the rest of us are just getting by. One or two little trucks.” (Interview with the owner of a small transport company.)

12These capital accumulation processes correlate to the organization of local political power and the connections to different levels of State apparatuses. For example, the “Z” family has made a name for itself by creating associations that defend the interests of the Aymara transport group as a whole, “...they went on to create more associations that now have offices, some associations in ZOFRI, like with car transporters that go to Bolivia. The ‘Z’ family is involved... It is a big family.” (Interview with the owner of a transportation company.)

13Family relationships also organize local political power around traditional lineage in state power and indigenous representation. In Colchane, Teófilo Mamani García succeeded Mayor Honorio Mamani Castro in 2008. Both have ties to the transportation business, and though they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they are from the same family. At the time, the mayor’s father was the cacique in the neighboring town of Isluga – evidence of a merging of family interests that mix indigenous representation and Chilean power structures. The phenomena gained even more ground in 2016 when the current Mayor, Javier García Choque, took office. Something similar occurred in nearby Camiña, where the García and Mamani families, both with ties to the transportation business, have established clear hegemony. Importantly, many municipal leaders in inland towns are also part of these kinship networks.

“One and the same”. Transportation, community and the border

14Former Deputy Mayor of Pisiga, Eddie Colque, a member of the Aymara Bolivian community, owns a transportation company in Pisiga Bolívar (Bolivia) and belongs to the transportation cooperative. He remembers meeting Aymara community members from the Chilean side (now important political officials and transport professionals, he says) as a child. He mentions, not without pride, that he has a degree in agronomy and began his studies at Universidad de Tarapacá (in Chile):

“The Mayor [of Colchane], Teófilo [Mamani]... I’ve known him since we were kids. He was a transportation guy. I am an agronomist. I have a degree in agronomy [...]. I am familiar with Universidad de Iquique because I had to study there... But since the expenses were a little ...very expensive, I ended up [studying] here in Bolivia.” (Interview with Eddie Colque)

  • 2 These are civil positions with strong religious connotations that are currently a point of contenti (...)

15Colque served as mayor of Pisiga Bolívar from 2009 to 2012. He was a renowned local jilakata,2 a traditional Aymara official equivalent to the caciques that try to position themselves in the Chilean sector. In March 2013, he led the occupation of the customs offices at the Colchane-Pisiga border complex, protesting with a group of transportation workers and other indigenous officials (among them his relative, Corregidor Ludger Colque) to replace Pisiga customs officials, arguing that they hindered smooth import of ZOFRI merchandise. The power of the “Colque plan” was clear from the names of the municipal officials elected in 2012: Corregidor Jorge Colque; Deputy Mayor Williams Colque; and President, Vice President and Secretary General of the Pisiga Civic Committee, Daniel Colque, Ramiro Moya and Edwin Colque, respectively. The Surveillance Committee Secretary was Elizabeth Colque.

16A few years later, in 2022, the Colque family’s influence remains strong as Jacob Colque, Eddie Colque’s son, is now the Deputy Mayor of Pisiga Bolívar. After ten years, we observed significant changes in the community, which has clearly grown since its days as a four- or five-street town. On the one hand, border services, like currency exchange, have coalesced around areas near the crossing where over 20 carts provide the service. Though there is not yet a bus terminal, the empty areas alongside the highway are full of transportation services that bring people inland. A conversation with the Deputy Mayor reflects the importance of infrastructure development, like roadways, for these spaces in terms of transportation economies and their impact on the territories. As noted, infrastructure is polysemic and experienced differently in daily life (Camargo and Uribe, 2022). Thus, the importance that the Deputy Mayor places on paving the roadway is understandable:

J: Yes, it’s thanks to the international highway. There are more and more transport vehicles moving through this border area. As such, it has begun to grow on a major scale. There are more houses, more cars in that part of the company. It is because of the import and export activity here. We do not just import from Chile. We also export minerals, gas, all sorts of things. We also export soy to Chile... We need government help because we are a Deputy Mayor’s Office. We need a full-fledged municipality in a border area, just like Colchane. Because the more the town grows, the more it needs. It needs water, sewer services, electricity – the basics – more. For example, it has already outgrown the hospital. It is currently a primary care facility; we need a secondary care facility.

Illustration 2 - Map of the province of Sabaya at present

Illustration 2 - Map of the province of Sabaya at present

Source: Governor's Office of the Department of Oruro, Bolivia.

17The perception that the flows of goods and people overwhelm the town to a certain extent is exacerbated by local population growth. It is no longer a floating population. Mobility has made it a pole of internal migration. On the other hand, people who have migrated are returning. Together, these phenomena are linked to the town’s trade and construction boom.

J: The population is always growing because we have our kids and grandkids. In addition, people from inland areas and those just passing through have come. Floaters come every day. That’s why there is growth. There are a lot of them because they enroll their children in school. Both of our schools are full, and we need to build more. The classrooms are full, especially the ones for the littlest kids. We have the most students in lower grade levels. The Mayor’s Office is building two more classrooms because there is no more room, so they will have to split up those grades no matter what. There are people from Potosí, Cochabamba, especially from Potosí... It is because of the highway. People have started building. Sometimes there is no work for their children in the city. The young people have professional degrees, so they prefer to invest in their own people and build an economy here.
E: They leave to study and come back to create an economy?
J: Exactly. They go to Cochabamba or Oruro but return because this is a good place for business. Some of the buildings are owned by the children, not the father. So, the son always comes home with more innovation, with a growth mindset. They ask their father for capital and build with that. They build a hostel or a restaurant and live off of that.

18Just like on the Chilean side of the border, there is a clear connection between transportation and local politics. The overlap reflects the dissemination of State power (at the Deputy Mayor level) and indigenous politics. In the first case, the Colque family continues operating in the transport business, specifically through the 15-passenger minibuses that connect the town of Pisiga to the city of Oruro. They transport goods and people to and from Chile.

J: Yes. The minibuses are for people from here and people from Sabaya province. We try to protect it because there are lots of us... There must be around 500 minibuses... More of them come from Oruro. It is a little slower here. For example, my minibuses go to Oruro empty because more passengers from Oruro come here. It takes longer here because all the minibuses line up. It is faster there because there are lots of Bolivian people selling goods and foreigners. So there is more passenger flow.
E: When you want to put a minibus into service, who must you ask for authorization? With whom would you have to speak?
J: There are four companies, and each company has a board. You have to ask the board.... There is a cooperative, a union. There is TransMoya, TransFrontera. There are four companies... Because they have a government permit. It is called interprovincial transport from Oruro to Pisiga. The Government Transport Unit in Oruro is called UDETRA.
E: Some other drivers told me they don’t have to be in a union or cooperative. They can operate independently. Is that possible?
J: Truck drivers can do that. They just have to request authorization from the customs service.

Illustration 3 - Map of Sabaya communities

Illustration 3 - Map of Sabaya communities

Author: Rivière, 1986.

19Regarding indigenous politics, we have seen mobility between municipal and traditional roles, as in the case of the Colque family, which moved between the Deputy Mayor’s Office and the traditional role of jilakata. This mobility is also observed in the traditional officials in Sabaya (the capital of the province where the border town of Pisiga Bolívar is located), where it takes the form of community border control. In this regard, it is important to note that Sabaya Province has 37 communities organized into four ayllus (Comujo, Sacari, Canasa and Collana). Each ayllu has two representatives, and they all come together to comprise the San José Regiment (Regimiento San José). This entity has community and ritual functions and serves as a sort of civilian border guard unit.

J: Yes, the traditional officials meet. We are jilakatas. Each ayllu has two indigenous officials. There are eight total, and one is the head or leader representing Pedro Martín Capurata Condor Villca, the leader who governs all of this. He is the first person who settled here. Based on our customs, he represents us and has for a long time. We researched this history. The full history is found at Casa Blanca in Sucre. There’s an archive there with testimonies. We take turns. Each year, a new person serves as the mallku Sabaya representing Pedro Martín Capurata Condor Villca, and we form the regiment. We also protect all the sites from marker 21 to marker 35, which is the La Cataya nitrates company in Coipasa. We protect all the sites and monitor them individually. In addition to the military’s policing, we monitor to continue ancestral traditions. Our grandparents did so, too. We keep that custom of making sure that everything is intact. We look at the sites, determine how many screws are missing, if they’ve moved, what is needed, and all of that.

20All of this deployment at the border would not be possible without the transportation element because the jilakatas are also transportation professionals. Given the importance of paving the roadway in boosting trade and their traditional agricultural economy roles, the jilakatas participate in the unions and cooperatives that organize and control this economy.

J: You want to create a business. It’s the same thing. For example, several of us get together, and four or five of us reach an agreement. People join in, and then there are 15 or 20. Next, you pick a leader, and that rotates each year. Everyone gets a chance to do it.
E: And do you have a relationship with the transportation officials?
J: We are one and the same.

J: All of the products, everything from Chile, fruit and items from ZOFRI like electronics, clothing, shoes and bicycles.
E: And from Bolivia to Chile?
J: Our products, like fruit, mangoes, watermelons and oranges. They come from Yungas. They come from inland areas to the border with mangoes and Mandarin oranges. Chileans love Mandarin oranges. They buy a lot of those. People also buy vegetables like potatoes and beans. Towns like Todos Santos and communities south of Palpuni produce a lot of garlic and fava beans. People buy them to eat because it is like being in the little towns, except that they produce more. Chileans come, buy them and take them home. That’s what they sell at the fairs.

21The circle closes there. As indigenous officials, transportation professionals provide the legitimacy to develop these economies. They also control the tone at the border, which they monitor and protect even as they organize a way to cross it. The same people who have a capital interest in the huge flow of traffic between Pisiga and Oruro organize and participate in cross-border fairs where goods from both sides of the border are exchanged in different ways (mainly bartering and buying) (see Garcés et al., 2019; Richard et al., 2018). The leaders comment especially on the Coipasa, Pisiga, Parajalla and Palpuni fairs, all located a few kilometers north or south of the Colchane-Pisiga border crossing.


22The increased flow of goods between Chile and Bolivia undoubtedly correlates to the paving of the roadways between Iquique and Oruro over the past few decades. A development effort and imaginary inscribe this route in a broader trade and integration context and project known as the Capricorn axis. Through the focus on some forms of transport trade, we have exposed a set of transformations and impacts that the development of infrastructures such as the ones we have been studying unfold at the local level, singularly assembling new economic forms, political power and control of the frontier.

  • 3 As Tassi and other authors have noted, in Bolivia, Aymara economies form new ethnic elites that are (...)

23Several types of transportation companies operate in this territory. They range from major companies to more modest enterprises that complement and/or succeed traditional production methods linked mainly to livestock. They have arisen from the mobility and the differentiated use of urban and rural spaces through the contemporary Aymara world’s transnationality and translocality. In this sense, the transportation industry is not just about capitalist economic approaches that outperform previous ones. Rather it is a question of how the industry established itself using the strategies identified.3 The family plays a critical role in the construction of transportation businesses beyond the organization of the labor force. Quite centrally, the family spreads its members across the territory produced by the roadways, extending their influence and contacts into territories beyond the limits of their imaginary spatiality of origin. Transportation industry practices interweave the political, economic and ritual spheres, which we have explored through the overlap of local political roles in municipalities and indigenous officials. Finally, we observed the development of specific economic and ritual border monitoring strategies. Because these introduce differentials of value and access to certain goods, they constitute an essential resource for the transportation economies and their stakeholders.

Haut de page


Abram, S. Winthereik B., Yarrow T., 2019. Electrifying anthropology: bexploring electrical practices and infrastructures. Nueva York, Bloomsbury Academic.

Acevedo-Guerrero T., 2019. Light is like water: flooding, blackouts, and the state in Barranquilla. Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society [Online}, vol. 2, n° 1, p. 478-494. URL: – DOI:

Aduana Nacional de Chile [National Customs of Chile], 2023. Website. URL:

Appel H., Anand N., Gupta A., 2018. Introduction: Temporality, Politics, and the Promise of Infrastructure. In Anand N., Gupta A., Appel H. The Promise of Infrastructure. Durham and London, Duke University Press, p. 1-38.

Björkman L. 2015. Pipe politics, contested waters. Durham, Duke University Press.

Camargo A., Uribe, S. 2022. Infraestructuras: poder, espacio, etnografía. Revista Colombiana de Antropología (RCA), vol. 58, n° 2, p. 9-24.

Carse A., 2014, Beyond the big ditch: politics, ecology, and infrastructure at the Panama Canal. Cambridge, MIT Press.

Dalakoglou D., Harvey P., 2012. Roads and Anthropology: Ethnographic Perspectives on Space, Time and (Im)Mobility. Mobilities, vol. 7, n° 4, p. 459-465.

Damonte G., Ulloa A., Quiroga Manrique C., López Minchán A. P, 2022. La apuesta por la infraestructura: Inversión pública y la reproducción de la escasez hídrica en contextos de gran minería en Perú y Colombia. Estudios Atacameños [Online], n° 68, document e4208. URL: - DOI:

Delgado F., 2001. Simbiosis interzonal en las estrategias de autodesarrollo sostenible en ecosistemas de montaña: el caso del Ayllu Mujlli, Departamento de Cochabamba, Bolivia. Doctoral thesis. Córdoba, Universidad de Córdoba.

Garcés A., Moraga J., Maureira M., Saavedra A., 2019. Desbordando la Puna de Atacama: movilidad, economías y etnicidad (1950 al presente). Cahiers des Amériques latines [Online], n° 91. URL: - DOI:

Garcés A., Moraga J. 2016. Ground transportation and new interconnections between aymara society and the economy [Online]. Chungara, vol. 48, n° 3, p. 441-451. URL:

Fisch M., 2018. An anthropology of the machine: Tokyo’s commuter train network. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Grebe M., 1986. Migración, identidad y cultura aymara: puntos de vista del actor [Online]. Chungara, n° 16-17, p. 205-223. URL:

Harvey P., Knox H., 2015. Roads: an anthropology of Infraestrure and expertise. Cornell, University Press.

Jiménez Z., Delgadillo J., 2010. Investigación participativa en gestión territorial indígena originaria y campesina: Ganadería campesina y gestión territorial de la comunidad Tallija-Confital, Ayllu Aransaya provincia Tapacari, Cochabamba-Bolivia. Cochabamba, AGRUCO.

Murra J., 1975. Formaciones económicas y políticas del mundo andino. Lima, Institute of Peruvian Studies.

Richard N., Moraga J., Saavedra A., 2016. El camión en la Puna de Atacama (1930-1980): mecánica, espacio y saberes en torno a un objeto técnico liminal. Estudios Atacameños, vol. 52, p. 177-199.

Rivière G., 1986. Cuadripartición e ideología en las comunidades aymaras de Carangas (Bolivia). Historia y Cultura, n° 10, p. 3-27.

Star S., 1999. The ethnography of infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 43, n° 3, p. 377-391.

Tassi N., 2015. Pensando el mundo desde los márgenes: la expansión cosmológica y económica de los comerciantes aymaras en Bolivia. In Di Giminiani P., González S., Murray M., Risor H. (ed.), Tecnologías en los Márgenes: Antropología, Mundos Materiales y Técnicas en América Latina. Mexico, Bonilla Artigas Editores, p. 43-66.

Tassi N., Hinojosa A., Canaviri R., 2014. La economía popular en Bolivia: tres miradas. La Paz, Vicepresidencia del Estado, Presidencia de la Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional.

Van Kessel J., 1992 [1981]. Holocausto al progreso. Los aymara de Tarapacá. La Paz, Hisbol.

Van Kessel J., 2003. La empresa salitrera: el primer milagro económico chileno y el último capítulo de la historia de la comunidad aymara en Tarapacá. IECTA-Chile, Cuadernos de Investigación en cultura y tecnología andina n° 15 [Online]. URL:

Zenteno H., 2009. Acercamiento a la visión cósmica del mundo andino. Revista Punto Cero, vol. 18, n° 14, p. 83-89.

Haut de page


1 The letters X, Y and Z below are used for the purpose of anonymizing the participating actors.

2 These are civil positions with strong religious connotations that are currently a point of contention with new union leaders. Originally, the jilakata’s primary role was to oversee community crops and protect them from grazing animals (Delgado 2001; Zenteno 2009; Jiménez and Delgadillo 2010).

3 As Tassi and other authors have noted, in Bolivia, Aymara economies form new ethnic elites that are integrated into global markets through long-standing and contemporary local patterns and strategies. Thus, they constitute a critique of the essentialist perspectives that explain these economies in comparison with older systems of reciprocity and traditional family relationships (Tassi, Hinojosa & Canaviri, 2014; Tassi, 2015).

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Illustration 1 - Ruta Iquique-Oruro and main towns
Crédits Source: FONDECYT project 1230486.
Fichier image/jpeg, 97k
Titre Illustration 2 - Map of the province of Sabaya at present
Crédits Source: Governor's Office of the Department of Oruro, Bolivia.
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Titre Illustration 3 - Map of Sabaya communities
Crédits Author: Rivière, 1986.
Fichier image/jpeg, 190k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Alejandro Garcés et Jorge R. Moraga, « Paving a route: Transportation and Aymara politics between Bolivia and Chile »EchoGéo [En ligne], 65 | 2023, mis en ligne le 30 octobre 2023, consulté le 21 février 2024. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


Alejandro Garcés

Alejandro Garcés,, is Researcher at the Institute of Archeological Research and Museum, Universidad Católica del Norte. He has recently published:
- Moraga J., Garcés A., Saavedra A., Manríquez R., Wu Q., 2023. Reciprocity and Mediation Between the State and Society: An Overview of Chinese Business Associations in Chile. China Perspectives, n° 134, p. 57-66. URL: - DOI:
- Moraga J., Saavedra A., Garcés A., Wu Q. 2021. Asociacionismo empresarial chino en Chile. Territorio, liderazgos y actores sociales. Revista Chilena de Antropología [En ligne], N° 44, p. 322-337. URL: - DOI:
- Garcés A., Moraga J., Maureira M., Saavedra A., 2019. Desbordando la Puna de Atacama: movilidad, economías y etnicidad (1950 al presente). Cahiers des Amériques latines [En ligne], n° 91. URL: - DOI:

Jorge R. Moraga

Jorge R. Moraga,, is Researcher at the Institute of Postgraduate Research at Universidad Central de Chile’s School of Law and Humanities. He has recently published:
- Moraga J., Garcés A., Saavedra A., Manríquez R., Wu Q., 2023. Reciprocity and Mediation Between the State and Society: An Overview of Chinese Business Associations in Chile. China Perspectives, n° 134, p. 57-66. URL: - DOI:
- Moraga J., Saavedra A., Garcés A., Wu Q. 2021. Asociacionismo empresarial chino en Chile. Territorio, liderazgos y actores sociales. Revista Chilena de Antropología [En ligne], N° 44, p. 322-337. URL: - DOI:
- Garcés A., Moraga J., Maureira M., Saavedra A., 2019. Desbordando la Puna de Atacama: movilidad, economías y etnicidad (1950 al presente). Cahiers des Amériques latines [En ligne], n° 91. URL: - DOI:

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur


Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search