El Tio

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A Figure of El Tio in Potosí mines, Bolivia, 1993

El Tío (The Uncle), is believed in Cerro Rico, Potosí, Bolivia as the Lord of the underworld. There are many statues of this devil-like spirit in the mines of Cerro Rico. El Tío rules over the mines, simultaneously offering protection and destruction. Some figures are really in the shape of a goat.[1]

Miners bring offerings such as cigarettes, coca leaves, and alcohol for the statues[2] and believe that if El Tío is not fed, he will take matters into his own hands. Villagers of Potosi ritually slaughter a llama and smear its blood on the entrance to the mines.[1]

The miners of Cerro Rico are Catholics and they believe in both Jesus and El Tío. El Tío is similar to some voudou-Folk Catholicism cultures mythology, such as the spirits of protection, the loa, in Legba in Haiti and some cultures in New Orleans.[1]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "THE DEVIL'S MINER . The Mountain". Independent Lens. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  2. ^ "Bolivia 2003 - Potosi". The UCLA, Department of Earth and Space Sciences Tours. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 

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