Viaje al otro mundo

peru, peru

It has been over one week now in Peru — a couple of days in Lima and a week in Cusco (with a 20+ hour bus ride in between). The people are wonderful, there is lots of clear poverty, and lots of corruption in government. What’s new?

I just finished a one-week language class along with a homestay here in Cusco, and my español is better for it. We had classes of only 4 students, lots of fun in class, and incredible activities every afternoon (mostly visiting Incan ruins around Cusco). I am hoping that by the time I get to the World Social Forum I’ll be able to understand everyone and communicate. For my 5-minute speech (in Spanish) I didn’t waste the opportunity —  I spoke about the WSF and its history and impact.

Very early tomorrow morning I leave for the 4-day hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and I can’t wait! 


Viaje al otro mundo

I am off very soon for South America — on a five week journey which will take me to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.

After finishing up over 6 years of work at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, I suddenly realized that I could finally make it to a World Social Forum. And not only that, but it was going to be in Venezuela!

The slogan of the World Social Forum, since its inception in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001, has been um outro mundo é possível (Portuguese), otro mundo es posible (Spanish), or, another world is possible.

More recently, people have been saying that another world is happening, and indeed it is. In Venezuela, oil revenues are helping build a social infrastructure. Argentina and Brazil, under left-of-center leadership, have decided to pay off World Bank loans early as a way of breaking free from oppressive chains. And Bolivia, with its majority indigenous population and large reserves of natural gas, has just elected its first indigenous President — Evo Morales. Upcoming elections throughout Latin America in the next year promise to further weaken Washington’s neoliberal power grip on these nations.

Another world is happening, and I am very priviliged to be able to witness it first hand.