People don't get it

by Jamie
(La Paz)

Bella, I 100% agree with your article. I've lived in La Paz for 2 years and have never taken the prison tour. I think that most of the people in San Pedro prison deserve to be there and pay for their crimes. However, the children who are FORCED to live there, and the political prisoners like Leo and Santos are not animals in a zoo.

The prisoners offer tours because they want money, not for any other reason. I'm sure they don't want to invite people in to say "come and look at the smelly little hole that I live in". They just want money to buy basic things for themselves. The guards accept bribes because they are very underpaid, and if someone offers them money to turn "a blind eye" then of course they will accept.

The whole thing is wrong, but I don't like people commenting that "we need to change the government" to solve the problem. These are the people who have no idea what is happening with the government over here, and they have no idea that the people who REALISE that the government is corrupt and not helping the country are in the minority. The rest of the country is poorly educated and brainwashed to believe that the government are doing a great job. It's not their fault, they just don't get to see the full picture.

I think the prison tours of San Pedro are sick. I'm not even curious to see what happens in there, I know enough about it and do not want to subject more children to having to look at the foreigners staring back at them. These children must ask their parents "Mommy/daddy, where are the Gringos staring at us?" How is that parent supposed to reply??? "Because we are a tourist attraction my love".

There is so much in La Paz to see and do, San Pedro is not one of these things. The foreigners/prison guards/tour guides are only feeding the already huge problem of corruption in this country. But if the foreigners stop asking and paying to go in, then the corruption in this particular instace will be stopped at the source. Plain and simple.

Comments for People don't get it

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Sep 26, 2011
for "too easy to blame foreigners"
by: Anonymous

You obviously didn't read the article very carefully. It clearly mentions that authorities and prison guards are very much at fault for allowing this situation.

Sep 26, 2011
Too easy to blame foreigners
by: Anonymous

Personally, I wouldn't visit the prison. It wouldn't seem right, but I don't think you are fair to simply blame the foreigners. Somewhere, somehow it must be acknowledged that the officials allow the tours, illegal or not. How sccessful do you think foreign tourists would be in their attempt to tour a working prison in any other country? I'm sad to read that many of Bolivian's population are brainwashed into thinking the Govt is doing the right thing. The corruption of the police and guards needs to be dealt with, but I think I get what you mean and that this is easier said than done, and annoying when ne words are spoken by foreigners. But in the meantime, foreigners that are inclined to do the tour will do so, for as long as corrupt prison officials allow them to. Sad, but I don't see how you can change this. I can see why one might be tempted, simply because you really can't believe that something like such a tour could really happen. I think I'd be waiting for the tour guide, at the last moment, to say it was a joke and that of course, no such tours happen. It amazes me that they do take place, but a prison is no place for me so it's not a tour I'll be taking.

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