What if you are from a place where there’s a silver mine that produce incredible wealth? Will you think it’s a bless?
但自從西班牙殖民者來到玻利維亞，發現了 Potosi 這個滿山銀礦的 Cerro Rico（富貴山）時，這個福地卻只為這裡的原住民帶來無窮無盡的剝削和勞役，成為了玻利維亞人眼中的「食人山」。
Potosi, southwest of Bolivia, was a city of silver that produced incredible wealth for over 3 centuries but not for the indigenous Bolivians but for the colonial Spaniards. It only brought indescribable hardship for the poor indigenous people and the enslaved Africans who mined in Cerro Rico (rich mountain).
A rich mountain to Spaniards is also the mountain that eats men to Bolivians. Estimated between 2 to 8 millions people perished in Cerro Rico that earns its name “the mountain that eats men”. Even nowadays, the miners still work in medieval condition with long working hours but very low pay (they make around USD7-21 for a 6 hours shift) or even no pay. Also, due to the toxic and dusty working environment, many of them never live over their 40s. In most cases, the job will just be passed down to their young sons and around 800 child labors, who started to work as young as 11, still work in the mine today.
I came to Potosi for the famous mine tour. I was ignorant and thought it’s a closed down mine and visiting there would be like visiting an amusement park. However the more I know about the mine, the less I want to do it. It will be very interesting to know the mine and the miners personally. However I couldn’t help but wonder how the miners feel when they see rich tourists paying to visit the mine while most of them simply wish they never need to come back. I really don’t have an answer and I also don’t want to feel like enjoying something that based on the hardship of others. And so, I didn’t do the mine tour at the end.