Worldfocus producer and correspondent Ivette Feliciano explores a fascinating fashion trend in Bolivia -- the bowler hat -- which has roots in Europe.
Bolivia is a South American nation with nine million inhabitants, indigenous cultures and the world's largest supply of the coca plant -- the key ingredient in the production of cocaine.
Many rural coca farmers depend on the crop for their livelihood. But the war on drugs now threatens age-old traditions, such as making pasta, toothpaste and shampoo from the coca leaves. Bolivian leader Evo Morales recently expelled the U.S. ambassador and drug enforcement agents from the country, throwing the future of U.S.-Bolivian relations into question.
Worldfocus correspondent Ivette Feliciano and producers Bryan Myers and Ara Ayer travel to the crisp quiet of Bolivia's crystalline salt flats, which sit on top of one of nearly half of the world's reserves of lithium -- a metal crucial for electric cars and other alternative energy technology. They explore how Bolivia is protecting its extraction rights and how foreign companies are vying for this natural resource.
"On the Ground in Bolivia" is a collection of signature videos, interviews, online radio shows, blogger perspectives and web original videos.
On the Ground in Bolivia
Worldfocus correspondent Ivette Feliciano reported on Bolivia’s coca plant cultivation. The coca plant is used to make teas, pastas, shampoos and medicines -- but as she found out, fortune tellers have also found a spiritual use for the leaves.
Witness the desolate quiet of Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni salt flats, sitting on top of one of the world's largest lithium reserves.
Bolivia controls nearly half of the world's reserves of lithium, a metal crucial for electric cars and other alternative energy technologies. But who will benefit from this discovery is creating controversy.
The Bolivian government is implementing land reform designed to help the poor, under which the government can seize and redistribute land to indigenous farmers. It's a proposal that has left many landowners unhappy.
Along a major highway in the Yungas forest of the eastern Andes, Bolivian troops stop about 500 vehicles per day looking for cocaine and the chemicals that help process it. Families, commercial trucks and busses all make their way through this checkpoint, allowing troops to inspect their vehicles.
Bolivian leader Evo Morales recently expelled U.S. drug enforcement agents from the country. Bolivia's Yungas region is one of the world's leading sources of the coca plant -- the key ingredient in the production of cocaine. But many impoverished Bolivians depend on the coca plant for their livelihood.
Worldfocus producer Bryan Myers is currently reporting from Bolivia and writes about one memorable dining experience high in the Bolivian Andes.
Worldfocus.org's weekly radio show explored the state of natural resource use, opportunities and dangers for resource-rich developing countries and the role played by the U.S. in this global issue. Dave Burdick, Michael Cohen and Alf Hornborg joined the conversation.