25 December 2011

BOLIVIA : The Mysterious Masked Shoeshiners Of La Paz.


     In La Paz...some 3,500 mysteriously masked young boys and men shine shoes for living.
     In the USA or France...they would probably be confronted daily by police.
     But in Bolivia...their appearance is the quietly accepted norm.
     They are the known as 'lustrabotas'.
     Their masks and baseball caps are worn so they can not be recognised...as a defense against discrimination. 
     It seems that shoe shiners have long had a reputation...as petty thieves, alcoholics, glue sniffers and drug users.