As some of you know, I am all about dressing for success. That is, if you consider a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sandals the clothing recipe for success. Anyway, for someone like myself who’s trying to live the tropical lifestyle by wearing shorts 365 days a year, thinking about what I’m wearing or where the clothes are from is not a big deal. New shirt, old shirt, red shirt, blue shirt, it doesn’t make a difference. But there are people who feel differently about this issue.
One of those people is Bolivian President Evo Morales, who considers it shameful that poor shoppers in his country rummage thru used clothing at outdoor markets. Back in April, his Andean nation become the 32nd country to ban or restrict used clothing imports to protect native clothing industries. Each year $1.2 billion in used clothing is sent from wealthy nations to developing countries. In landlocked Bolivia most of it smuggled across the border from Chile, who is the No.3 importer of U.S. clothing after Canada, Japan and West Hollywood.
Applauded and jeered for the striped Bolivian sweater he wore (which was acrylic, not alpaca) to meet presidents and kings after his 2005 election, Morales understands well that clothes make the man. Ramiro Uchani, his deputy minister of small business says, “It’s impossible to think that we can be dignified if, in the name of poverty, we wear clothing that has been thrown out of another country.”
“Bolivia Dignified” is an all-purpose motto Morales applies to everything from nationalizing the country’s railways to overturning a ban on high-altitude soccer games. Persuading Bolivians to shed their U.S. hand-me-down fits his vision perfectly. The problem is that as much as the people would like to dress their children in new clothes, the reality of paychecks is a different story.
Evo Morales has made news before. When the former Indian activist took power in 2005 as the country’s first indigenous president, he vowed to do three things. He nationalized Bolivia’s energy industry, which is expected to double the country’s annual revenues. He formed an assembly to rewrite the constitution, which will ensure greater rights to indigenous Bolivans. But it’s his third initiative that has the U.S. concerned. He wants to legalize the growing of coca, which many Bolivians consider an integral part of their culture. Coca has been a major crop since Incan times and its eradication back in the late 90′s plunged many farmers into abject poverty. Keith Richards is also a backer of this initiative.
Morales controversial coca program, his plan to limit foreign investments, his close ties to the leftists governments of Venezuela and Cuba have predictably anatagonized the U.S. Morales has referred to himself as “the United States’ biggest nightmare,” although many Americans know that person is sitting in the White House.
Let’s move on to the photos. Today’s shots were taken from three different locations along West Cliff Drive. The first two shots are of pelicans and cormorants at Bird Rock where there’s always lots of aviary action. The next two are from a sea stack at the end of Woodrow Avenue with the sun low in the sky and the final two come from early one morning at Natural Bridges State Beach. Lots of in-flight action that day and more shots to come.
So that’s it for a Monday. I hope you enjoyed our updated version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” My sympathy to New York Giant and Oakland Raider fans. Not the way we wanted to start the season but at least they gave us a few thrills. And speaking of thrills, New York Yankee Alex Rodriquez is tearing it up in the American League. Thank you, A-Rod and please don’t forget to do it in October. Enjoy the byrds.