Stories written by Franz Chávez
Franz Chávez has been an IPS Correspondent from Bolivia since November 2003. He covers Bolivian current affairs and the country’s dynamic transition from market-oriented government to government supported by indigenous people and low-income sectors of society.
To provide adequate coverage of the complex Bolivian reality, especially for an international audience, Chávez tends to focus on those stories generally neglected by mainstream media, putting a special effort into contextualising events in what is currently one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Born in La Paz, Chávez worked for Radio Christal from 1985 to 1990, then joined the editorial team of the local television channels 2, 4, 7 and 11. He is also among the founders of the daily newspapers La Razón, where he worked from 1990 to 1995, La Prensa, where he worked from 1998 to 2001, and La Prensa-Oruro. Chávez studied sociology and communication at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés de La Paz.
The ancient Qhara Qhara nation began a battle against the State of Bolivia in defence of its rich ancestral lands, in an open challenge to a government that came to power in 2006 on a platform founded on respect for the values and rights of indigenous peoples.
In this remote highlands valley community in central Bolivia, a group of Quechua indigenous women have learned how to combat the intense frosts and the shortage of water in solar tents, and to use what they grow to prepare nutritious new meals for their families.
A new bill in Bolivia, which will allow the amount of land allocated to producing coca to be increased from 12,000 to 22,000 hectares, modifying a nearly three-decade coca production policy, has led to warnings from independent voices and the opposition that the measure could fuel drug trafficking.
Email surveillance, blocking of websites with content that is awkward for governments, or the interruption of services such as WhatsApp are symptoms of the threat to freedom of expression online, according to Latin American activists.
The hands of women who have migrated from rural areas carefully tend to their ecological vegetable gardens in the yards of their humble homes on the outskirts of Sucre, the official capital of Bolivia, in an effort to improve their families’ diets and incomes.
A successful school meals programme that serves breakfast and lunch with Andean flavours to 140,000 students in La Paz gave rise to a new law aimed at promoting healthy diets based on local traditions and products in Bolivia’s schools, while combating malnutrition and bolstering food sovereignty.
Unusually heavy rainfall, climate change, deforestation and two dams across the border in Brazil were cited by sources who spoke to IPS as the causes of the heaviest flooding in Bolivia’s Amazon region since records have been kept.
South American leaders demanded that the governments of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain provide explanations and public apologies to Bolivian President Evo Morales for refusing his presidential jet permission to fly through their airspace on his way home from Moscow.
Ana Chipana, from Bolivia, did not like eating quinoa when she was a girl. But this grain-like crop native to the Andes was her ticket to becoming a successful entrepreneur who has visited NASA and the United Nations.
The 19,000 inhabitants of the municipality of Caraparí, the area supplying a third of Bolivia’s gas exports, do not have access to gas or petrol, six years after the nationalisation of the mega deposit and almost a quarter century after its discovery.
Every morning from 6:00 to 8:00 AM, native people in this sprawling working-class suburb of La Paz, Bolivia listen to the programme broadcast by former education minister Donato Ayma in the Aymara language.
Bolivia’s sugar mills are once again operating at full capacity, with producers flooding the domestic market and desperate to obtain permits to export a surplus of 138,000 tons to Chile, Colombia, Peru and the United States.
The effects of climate change are causing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in losses of crops, livestock and housing in Bolivia. But the few climate change adaptation and prevention policies adopted by the authorities are piecemeal and fragmented, experts say.
After a 62-day march from Bolivia’s tropical lowlands, over 1,000 indigenous protesters opposed to the construction of a road through a pristine rainforest reserve reached the seat of government Wednesday, just a few hours after the police called off a six-day national strike.
Snow-capped mountains shrouded in clouds tower over the ninth gruelling march of indigenous people from Bolivia's eastern lowlands to the seat of government, to challenge the government's environment policy and protest the construction of a road through a protected area of rainforest and water reserves.
Almost six years after the nationalisation of gas and oil reserves in Bolivia, foreign companies maintain an active presence in the sector, and the government is now offering them greater incentives to increase oil production.
Margarita Amabeja holds out her hands full of golden rice grains and rough brown manioc roots - the first results of a strategy to adjust the agricultural cycles to the seasonal floods and droughts in the vast plains of Beni, in northeastern Bolivia.