By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editors Lee Kap-soo, Joy Cho, Kim Young-myung
Madam Maria Jose Zapata Aliaga de Ossio, spouse of Charge d’Affaires Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos of Bolivia in Seoul, said, “There still exists in the world female gender stereotypes, for which women must fight in order to gain parity, which means that men and women have the same rights, duties, benefits, equality of opportunities in health and education, and the right to be treated with respect in all aspects of ordinary life as well as in their workplace.”
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Madam Zapata Aliaga said, “Women no longer want men to see them as only mothers, wives or housewives and, thus, equality is no longer a constitutional or human right, but a crucial right for the development and progress of humanity.”
She said, “In Bolivia we had elections a week ago and the current parliament has 52% female representation, the organization of the United Nations highlighted and congratulated that it is a great step forward for democracy, although there is still a long way to go, but it is the biggest challenge we women have.”
Then she added: “Not only must a change be made in the laws, we must make a cultural change, of thought and heart, crucial for the construction of more equitable societies. We must continue to raise awareness among girls about this issue because the change lies in education.”
Madam Zapata Aliaga was born in La Paz, Bolivia. Her husband, Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos, is the current Head of Mission of Bolivia in Seoul and their daughter is Miss Raquel Victoria Otero Zapata, she is 16 years old, she studies at the German school in La Paz, Bolivia.
Madam Zapata Aliaga studied tourism and finished her law degree. She has always been passionate about traveling the world.
Her first job was as a flight attendant in the Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, which allowed her to fulfill one of her dreams of visiting many countries.
Her husband's profession gave her the opportunity to represent Bolivia as a diplomat in Korea which she calls a ‘very beautiful country.” She managed to learn, share and enjoy Korea’s traditions and culture.
“It was something wonderful!” exclaimed Madam Zapata Aliaga at the interview with The Korea Post media.
“I love life and enjoy intensely every instant of it,” she said.
Here are excerpts from her account of Bolivia:
My magical and marvelous Bolivia is a country located in the heart of South America with 11 million inhabitants. Bolivia is embraced by the Andes Mountains, and has in its midst volcanoes, deserts, lakes, forests and its eternal snowed mountain. Due to its geographical contrasts, Bolivia has diverse climates. In the Altiplano it is cold and dry, in the valleys the climate is warm, and in the tropics it is hot and humid.Bolivia is a country that is multi-ethnic, and pluri-cultural; hence it is rich in traditions and customs, and it has a great quantity of natural resources.
Bolivia has a legendary past due to the Aymaras, Quechuas, Guaranies, Chiquitanos, and other ethnic cultures. Bolivia has great biodiversity which is considered one of the largest ecosystems in the world due to its variety in plants and animals, thus being the Amazonia considered the lung of the American continent and of the world. Here are some of the attractions of my country:
The Uyuni Salt Flat. Where the Earth and sky meet:
A natural wonder and one of the most surreal places in the world. In the rainy season, with a few centimeters of water on its surface it becomes the largest mirror on the Earth as was described by Neil Armstrong when he saw our planet from the Moon.
To feel like you are walking on clouds, to have the sensation you are in the sky, where the horizon has no end, where perspective and sight are lost in infinity, that is Uyuni. Where one can enjoy staying at hotels that are made from blocks of salt.
Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon):
A place for dreaming. In the middle of the Altiplano, where the wind blows throwing sand upwards towards the top of the mountains, where vicuñas and guanacos play, we find ourselves with an unusually beautiful landscape. Laguna Colorada has the most surprising and spectacular color that one may find in the planet due to its orange, red, and sunflower colors which turns it into something extraordinarily beautiful.
Andean fauna reserve, where in the Summer thousands of pink flamingos arrive. A natural paradise in a small corner of Bolivia.
Tiwanaku, the Pre-columbian Jewel:
It is the spiritual, cultural, and political center of the enigmatic Tiwanacota Civilization which is considered one of the most important and long-lived civilizations in South America. It is the archeological center of Pre-Inca culture, where all of its legacy and mythology have been left. All of its temples and palaces have been constructed in relation to the orientation of the stars with an exact reflection of the equinoxes and solstices that are essential to understand the universe.
The Puerta del Sol (Sun Door) and the Puerta de la Luna (Moon Door) in Tiwanaku are considered to be World Heritage by UNESCO of the United Nations due to their world vision and ancient past.
Tiwanaku irradiates culture as well as knowledge, and science. It is a place where the beautiful arts are loved.
The main products that Bolivia exports:
Quinoa, cacao, chía, coffee, wine, Brazilian nut, pink salt and amaranto.
Main exporting companies:
Unagro SA, Mining cooperative, Andes Coffee SA, Cabexse.
January 1st, New Year's Day
January 22nd, Day of the Plurinational State,
Second week of February, Carnival (In carnival we have a very long holiday, I recommend going to the carnival of Oruro, it is colorful and majestic).
First week of April, Easter
May 1, Labor Day
June 21st, Andean New Year
August 6, Independence Day
November 2nd, all saints
December 24th, Christmas