The Economist started a new column this week on Latin America. The column sets out to provide deeper coverage on Latin America. After much deliberation, it earned the name Bello, after Andrés Bello.
Bello was a “Venezuelan-born polymath, educator, writer and diplomat.” Not surprisingly, Bello seems to fit the mold of The Economist’s liberal (in the classical sense of liberal) set of attitudes. Bello believed in strong state institutions, free trade, and public education for all.
That being said, he was against the top-down attitude that the 19th-century Latin American fighter-for-independence Simon Bolívar pushed on the region. Instead of believing that new republics coming fresh out of the gates from colonial rule needed strong, top-down authority, Bello wanted to see the development of citizens sow the seeds for civilization in Latin America.
From The Economist…
The causes espoused by Bello—the rule of law, education and openness—are enduring ones. They loom especially large in Latin America today, as the great commodity boom wanes. Populists peddling an inward-looking nationalism, who have ruled by state diktat and political favour rather than by law, are being found out at last, as this month’s devaluations in Argentina and Venezuela show.
What would he say in response to Latin America today? That is a secret no one will ever find out. The Economist is honest with its feelings though: “In 21st-century Latin America the teachings of the region’s greatest 19th-century public intellectual are more relevant than ever.” No secrets here.
photo Universidad de Chile
“Out of all the medicinal plants, it’s the father of all of them,” Martín Ágreda tells Colombian news magazine Semana.
Mr. Ágreda is a Taita – a kind of traditional doctor who prepares and administers ayahuasca, a super potent psychedelic tea made from brewing Amazonian vines. It’s an infusion. And you drink it.
But guys like Ágreda are also viewed as shamans – spiritual leaders of indigenous communities who guide people through the experience of ayahuasca.
“Es uno de los remedios de la medicina indígena amazónica que más se ha popularizado en el país. Los Taitas (médicos tradicionales) son los encargados de preparar un jarabe con el bejuco para luego ofrecerlo en un ritual que permite a quienes lo ingieren limpiar su cuerpo y su espíritu. Actualmente, el yagé corre varios riesgos. En la selva es afectado por los químicos rociados para la fumigación de cultivos ilícitos, la construcción de megaproyectos y los hostigamientos provocados por los grupos armados…”
“It’s one of the remedies of Amazonian indigenous medicine most popularized in the country. The ‘Taitas’ (traditional doctors) are in charge of preparing a syrup from the vine of the plant in order to later offer an experience that lets those who take it clean their body and soul. In reality, drinking ayahuasca runs various risks. In the jungle, it’s affected by chemicals for the fumigation of illicit crops, the construction of infrastructure projects and harassment from armed groups…”
Check out these other resources about Ayahuasca
First-hand account of drinking ayahuasca – Benjamin Hansen-Bundy @ Wine & Bowties
Open your mind to the new psychedelic science – WIRED Magazine