It snowed the other night in the hills around Cochabamba, and the mountains now look beautiful on my walk to work. It also snowed near La Paz, and, though I’m sure the mountains look nice and get a skier like me excited, the snow has shut down the highways connecting La Paz with Cochabamba and Oruro. This exemplifies one of the biggest hurdles in the development of Bolivia: keeping the country connected.
The country is largely in the Andes, where roads twist and turn, and it generally takes a long time to get from point A to point B. And then it snows and the capital is cut off from much of the rest of the big economic centers of the country. This hurts the ability to move things around Bolivia and generally keep the economic wheel turning. And there’s no quick solution.
That’s why projects such as this highway to connect the Cochabamba department and the eastern part of the country to Brazil are really important. They will open up new possibilities of commerce and roads that stay open even when La Paz can’t be reach.