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Evo Morales

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There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)
As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

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GETTING HIS SAY
GETTING HIS SAY: Bolivian President Evo Morales talked on his cellphone at the New York United Nations headquarters in New York Wednesday, during the U.N. General Assembly. Days earlier, he criticized the U.S. for its counter-narcotics efforts. (Peter Foley/European Pressphoto Agency)

ON THE STREET
ON THE STREET: A homeless family sat on a sidewalk in Kolkata Wednesday. India’s Planning Commission told the Indian Supreme Court Tuesday that villagers earning more than 50 cents a day shouldn’t qualify for welfare. Activists condemn the figure. (Piyal Adhikary/European Pressphoto Agency)

FROM THE FRONT LINE
FROM THE FRONT LINE: People looked inside a vehicle as a casualty form the front lines was brought to a hospital in Misrata, Libya, Tuesday. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PHOTO PROOF
PHOTO PROOF: Villagers displaced by flooding held up their identification cards in order to obtain permits that will enable them to get relief in Badin, Pakistan, Wednesday. (Fareed Khan/Associated Press)

BANK RUN
BANK RUN: Customers waited to get their deposits back from Tomato Savings Bank in Seongnam, South Korea, Wednesday. The country’s financial regulator ordered seven banks, including Tomato Savings, to temporarily close due to their weak finances. (Lee Jae-Won/Reuters)

TIRED PASSENGERS
TIRED PASSENGERS: Commuters waited for train service to resume in Tokyo Wednesday. Typhoon Roke brought travel to a standstill, ripped roofs from homes, triggered landslides and killed at least five people. More than one million residents evacuated some areas. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

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I was the personal photographer of Bolivian general Hugo Banzer during his 1997 presidential campaign. After he won, I asked him to send me somewhere to document something exciting. He selected the Chapare Province of Cochabamba, where I embedded with Bolivia’s Mobile Police Unit for Rural Areas (UMOPAR) from 1997 to 2001. In its heyday, the unit was a highly specialized and DEA-funded subsidiary of Bolivia’s Special Antinarcotics Force, and my assignment was to document its efficiency and success. 

At the time, the region produced more coca leaf than almost anywhere in the world. This era is now known as the epoca negra—the dark age—because of the danger and bloodshed experienced on both sides. I had a lot of respect for the men tasked with cleaning up the jungle; we shared sweat, blood, and gunshots, and I lost some friends over there.

I want to make it clear that these photos have nothing to do with the reality of the antinarcotics forces in Bolivia today. The funding for these types of operations has been greatly reduced since Evo Morales—a former pro-coca activist—came into power. Of course, the flip side is that higher production has lowered the cost of the final product, and it seems that the current situation is reaching a dangerous apex. Based on my experience, I think it’s very possible that the area will see an upsurge in violence over the next few years. Let these photos serve as a reminder of the destruction it may bring. 

The Bad Shit - Photos from the dark days of Bolivia’s war on cocaine

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