The Bolivian Oriente
Santa Cruz and Oriente
Santa Cruz is blessed with a temperate climate and generous people. Visitors are always impressed by the kindness of the people who have kept their traditional way of life alive. There are numerous attractions for visitors in the surrounding areas and in the city itself.
The town of Samaipata ("rest from altitude" in Quechua) is located 120 km from Santa Cruz. This archaeological site, also known as "the fortress", was one of the most advanced positions in the Inca empire and it was used to repel the frequent invasions made by the Guaraní Indians.
Amboró Park is a natural reserve of 637.000 hectares. Its plains are full of abundant flora and varied fauna. There are 820 species of classified birds and there are also mammals such as the Andean bear, the jaguar, the puma and diverse species of monkeys many of them unique in the world.
The Jesuit missions are located within a radius of 500 km from Santa Cruz. The region is well-known because this is where the Jesuit missionaries gathered the natives to convert them to Catholicism. The Jesuit missions of the Gran Chiquitanía, also known as the jewels of Baroque architecture, have been nominated by UNESCO for National Heritage listing.
Count 3 or 4 days to retrace the steps of the Argentinean revolutionary and his guerilleros. “If you cringe every time something unjust happens in the world, then you and me are companions” —Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
In November 1995, the general of the Bolivian armed forces, Mario Vargas, gave a scoop to the New York Times: He knew the exact location where the remains of Che Guevara are buried. The most famous guerillero of history, may well have been found, supposedly buried under the landing strip of the village of Vallegrande. Media from all over the world run there… but nothing is found, no trace of the corpse.
Our general possibly wanted to gain international notoriety, and he surely succeeded! But he was not the only one. Between 1995 and 1997, several books dedicated to Che appeared on the market. Che became a myth, whether he wanted it or not, during his life, as well as for the 30 years following, to the thousands of unaccounted-for victims of oppositional military dictators. His assassination, October 8th 1967, marked the end of an era. A short time before May 1968 and the revolution of the Beatles, the death of the most peculiar South American since Bolivar Marti, announced the end of the idealism of the 60’s. Che wanted to see the birth of “the new man”, while he himself was already one.
The myth of Che, his commercialization and even his sanctification by the inhabitants of the Southeastern part of Bolivia, show that he was a remarkable human being. He was first and foremost a real revolutionary who wanted to change the world. He knew that it is here, in the New World, at the heart of the Andean and central-American community traditions, in the America of the Jesuit Missions and of the Mexican, Cuban and Bolivian revolutions that Utopia has maybe a better chance to become a reality. This explains his choice of Bolivia as a center of his revolution.