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  • In the mid-to-late twentieth century, the Bolivian miners's movement was a formidable thing; it was powerful and ruled over the production of tin, in a country that contained some 40% of the world's reserves. People listened when the worker's organization, the COB, marched and its radio programs reached across the airwaves throughout South America.

    But that was before the mid 1980s, when massive layoffs and privatizations gutted its heart. What remains today is but a shell of its former grandeur. The COB marches now, in a manner that reminds you of an organization desperate to prove its continuing relevance.

    Today I got a late start in my photographing of La Paz's marches, a project I've been working on for about two months. I heard the petardos (roman candles with a loud boom) and dynamite, but expected the procession to go on and on. No rush, I figured.

    Instead, the May Day march lasted about 15 minutes. By the time I arrived to the main thoroughfare in the city, everyone was gone. No one was chanting, but rather I was left with empty streets and plastic bags on the locks of the street posts that would normally be blocking the sidewalks with cheap USB sticks and gum. The street vendors - also members of a union - had stayed at home and enjoyed their holidays.

    Somehow, I know there is a metaphor lying amongst all this .
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