Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Andy Seabrook
"god i hate going round to people places and then someone starts talking about a clip on youtube then you have to watch it then some one else thinks of a clip and you have to watch that one and then this youtube phenomenom just kills the evening, the conversation stops and everyone mongs out"

Knife Fights with Cachaça, Brothels and Gold Digging. The garimpeiros – unregistered miners - live life at a knife's edge, where the land and its resources are up for grabs. Deep in the Amazon they compete amongst themselves, sometimes blowing up competitors with the same dinamite they use to search for gold. Ramshackle bars and brothels appear with names like 'The Doves' and 'The Toucans', all ready to cater for the sums of money to be made. But the true price for the garimperiero is high; tropical diseases and probable injuries with no medical services for miles.

Everyday, thousands of scavengers, called guaqueros, wade through the black and muddy Miners River looking for sparkling green precious stones, known as emeralds. Colombia´s emerald mines are by and large, violent places, and a refuge to bandits and fugitive drug barons. Over the past years many of these same guaqueros have turned treasure hunters hoping to find an estimated eight billion dollars hidden around a 4,000 hectare farm, buried 15 metres deep. 'Treasure' once belonging Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha alias the "The Mexican" the now dead leader of the Medillín Cartel, who killed those who knew his secret. The government has since promised 30 percent of the treasure to the guaqueros, while the rest will be shared between the government and the army. In the end though with so much money to be made, there are no alliances.

Friday, 25 January 2008


At Amateur Bullfights in Colombia, Alcohol and Blood Flow Freely

ecstasy of escaping death

“For young men, they are a rite of initiation and sexual maturity. For young women, they are an opportunity to look for a worthy boyfriend.”


Friday, 18 January 2008


Shiite missionaries, from Hezbollah, are said to have installed themselves in differect points of the Amazon, in particular the frontier region between Colombia and Venezuela.

Hugo Chávez has turned a blind eye at the arrival of Iranian and Lebanese “missionaries”, whose pursuit is to convert Guajiros and other indigenous people in the Amazon. One source goes on to say that the entire Wayuu tribe is now Muslim with their women said to be wearing veils, while their men shoot off kalashnikoffs, some even letting themselves be photographed with suicide belts on.

The area indicated is near the Colombian city of Maicao, an expanse heavily linked with paramilitarism, guerrillas, narcotrafficking and common delinquency. It is also an area with a large Arab community who, for decades, has dealt in commerce.

This same area is now seen as a sanctuary for extremist geo-religious-political establishments, which has now been given even further clearence since Chavez deported Evangelical missionaries from the jungle because, according to him, they are genocidal spies.

Hezbollah are said to be active in Argentina, Chile, Colombia El Salvador and Mexico while the backbone of the organization is Hezbollah Venezuela. They present themselves as Autonomia Islamica Wayuu and are led by Teodoro Rafael Darnott, who in the past was a Marxist activist and now a solid supporter of the party of President Chávez.

Hezbollah Venezuela has even had its own first terrorist attack foiled against the American Embassy in Caracas. It refers to its perpetrator Jose Miguel Rojas Espinosa, as “a mujeheddin brother, an example of strength and dignity in Allah’s cause, the first prisoner of war of the revolutionary Islamic Movement in Venezuela.”

Owing to Teodoro’s and the missionaries’ work, there is now a social experiment going on between the Guajiros and Wayuu Indians, Chávez's Venezuela and Iran. Chávez is believed to be in correspondence with Venezuelan ‘superterrorist’ Carlos the Jackal, a Marxist convert to Islam who is serving a life sentence in France. The President of Venezuela has expressed his appreciation for the "Carlos doctrine", which among other things provides for an alliance between Islamic ultra-fondamentalism and anti-imperialist insurrectionalism, in the name of their mutual hatred for the United States.

This also follows in line of Chávez recent declaration allowing Colombian terrorist organisation FARC – Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces – to freely use Venezuela to set up training camps.

Maicao - Omar Ibn Al-Jattab mosque built 1997

Monday, 14 January 2008


Unlike normal bullfighting where one man galantly dressed flaunts and takes on the bull, in a small town in northern Colombia bullfighting has been brought to a next level; here the spectators themselves take on the bull.

Mimicking boxers men challenge bulls, calling for the attention of the public. On the stands dancing spectators drink and play cumbia music. Brass bands sallute the untrained matadors valued for their macho courage.

Many have died in this town of Sincelejo - Last year miraculously only ten were injured, though one was gored nearing his death - On other years, such as 1999, eight were killed.

A yearly event for the past 150 years, Sincelejo, the town of bullruns, is now a tourist attraction for many visitors. For the duration of six days, each afternoon 40 bulls are let loose in the arena, while the men weave and dodge against them.

Oddly the tradition has no Spanish heritage but is a creole invention with its own customs and clothing. No bulls are killed.

Our idea is to go to Sincelejo and document this year’s antics. We will follow the tradition on all its levels, from the celebrations to fear in the challengers’ eyes, as well as those unfortunate enough to end up hospitalised. We will also follow the real protagonists, the bulls themselves.

The event takes place between the 16-21 of January.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008


so here we are 2008

happy nu yar an all!!

last nite i spent it at the Bolivar suite in the centre of Lima - where most people dont hang out - though the architecture is classical - once the money left the skank moved in

so there we were, about 20 of us
dancing, singing reggaeton and salsa karaoke
drinking for the year to come
some five of us decided to go the top floor
(the top two floors being abandoned)
we went via lift
we had a small torch
once there we began to walk
complete darkness
darkness complete
looking for 666
we got 664
then 665
the guy with the torch decides to play around and turn the light off stop fucking around we say
we hold hands
friek out
torch boy turns it on and off annoying the situation more
its difficult to walk when you cant see anything - you only bang into walls
then torch boy suddenly really frieks - says he felt something
were sayin shut the fuck up
his face is white
we quicken the pace to the lift
we are all slightly spooked
calling the lift the lift doesnt come
torch boy swears that before he felt something

the corridors are long, all the doors are locked


then in the distance as we stand next to the left a sound comes our way

as though a small voice


then an angry grumble

we dont know what to think

... what the fuck could it be?

the grumble
gets louder


now we really friek

the lift still doesnt come

a hollywood scenario

the corridors looking like something out of the shining

the light doesnt reach as far as the sound

where are the stairs?

i never saw any stairs

someone does; we decide to run to the stairs

we float, we glide, we miss most steps

we get to the party room quick like a bunch of spazzed out teenagers


trying to catch our breath we try to explain
and i dont think ive ever been so adrenalin pumped

someone gives me the reggaeton karaoke mic so i can tell everyone

and so i say

the top floor is haunted

the darkness is complete

what the fuck could have been the voice that grumbled. a small gremlin perhaps. some drunk at peace but not with us. some dark recess from the past. I swear for all that moment I thought it was satan like when I was seven. As though all that had fucked me up as a kid was now glaring at me like a twitch.