Bolivia is requested to respect the Uros culture, Lake Titicaca, Peru

A Bolivian anthropologist is appealing to his government to put the breaks on development of floating reed tourism attractions that replicate Peru’s Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca.

Manuel Rojas Boyan asked Bolivia to respect the ancient traditions of the Uros civilization, telling Peruvian daily El Comercio that he believes it is unacceptable to exploit a millenary culture for clearly commercial purposes.

“The Uros floating islands belong to the culture of an ancient civilization, perhaps the oldest of the Andes,” he said. “Creating replicas of these islands is like trampling on this culture just to make a bit of money.”

Earlier this year, local Bolivian communities created three “floating” islands, near the town of Copacabana on the Bolivian shores of Titicaca. The islands are almost exact replicas of those inhabited by descendants of the Uros on the Peruvian side of the Lake and could serve a severe blow to the Puno area’s tourist industry.

The Uros community lives on more than forty floating islands made from stacked totora reeds. The plant’s dense roots support the islands and they are anchored with ropes attached to sticks, driven into the bottom of the lake.

The Bolivian clone islands are situated in the Sahuiña community and are to be incorporated into the tourist route as part of a program to promote the surrounding area. According to El Comercio, Bolivia plans to invest approximately $4 million in this program.

In Rojas’ opinion, both Peruvian and Bolivian governments should take action to defend the cultural heritage of the Uros people. Yet to date, neither nation has made a move.

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