La Paz

Cholitas wrestling – High

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Cholitas wrestling – High

There are single mothers who touches hard work. There are also some who are willing to endure injuries and blows to earn a living. And however, in Bolivia, the cholitas struggling to 4900 meters of height say to be fighting in the sky.

Jennifer is bad. So everyone cheers when they pushed her to the ground, and soften it kicking, and they twist her throat, and they pull it by pulling the braids of her hairstyle of chola. While they hit it, the public of the multifunction of the eyebrow in El Alto, in Bolivia, throws plastic bottles, chicken bones and soft tops. His face is suffering. She is furious and sore. It is bad, but proud. Jennifer takes the last remaining strength, He pushes his opponent and makes a tripping. Now, it dominates the situation. Jump on the face of his opponent and then folded her arm until it creak. Then Jennifer climbing the ropes in a corner, He raises his arms as if it were to seize the booing of the public against, look at his opponent lying on the canvas and released to fly.

Flies, and your typical aymara chola dress flames over the air.
Flies, and his eyes are stuck in the victim that will drop all its weight.
Flies, While burst flashes of the gringo tourists of the first row.
Flies, savoring the revenge of the bad guys.
Flies, as a heavy Eagle losing height.

Flies, and half a second before landing, his opponent moves a few centimetres.

Jennifer lands with his face on the canvas. The blow when you touch ground is dry, enough to break ribs of anyone who is not trained for wrestling. The public laughs is of her misery while she, the bad this movie live, It writhes as if they finished it run over. Minutes later, After receiving new flurry and new fist and new keys twisting her arms, women will receive the account of one and two and three and will lose the fight. It will lower the ring between cries of crazy! crazy! crazy! And the screaming will not stop until you enter the dressing room: crazy! crazy! crazy!

-I also cry on the street. I live here, in the high, and when I go on the street tell me crazy! -comments. Your fighter name is Jennifer two-face, Although he now speaks as Ana María, his true identity.

We are in the dressing rooms of the multifunction of the high area, a Bolivian city neighboring La Paz, with a million inhabitants to 4900 meters high. According to all here, The multifunctional is the highest the world gym. “We are close to the sky”, says the speaker that announces the struggles. The enclosure, where they walk lame dogs and has no bathrooms, was once a church. Days a week here to play basketball and Futsal, Sometimes there are political acts and every Sunday a new round of wrestling takes place: a show that, Thanks to the cholitas luchadoras, It appears in travel guides and is filled with foreign tourists.

-Would hit really?

-Course. All here have many injuries, and that is why we train so much. I have had several Burns by the fight - says Jennifer, and rises the sleeves to show me several scars on both forearms.

Jennifer two-face is hard, even when speaking as Ana María. However, the argument which says that he likes to be bad shows his goodness:

-The public desahoga, is released to insulting me. I like to be bad because it serves to make viewers a catharsis. I like to cause them, to be released. Some time ago I was good, a season, but bored me.

Jennifer has two sons, one of 14 and an of 7. Sometimes they come to see, but I do not like it. At home there is a collection of photos of the mother with her dress of cholita. It lives exclusively in the fight, Cobra one 60 dollars for fight, and she keeps the House. She is unmarried and is not with the father of your children:

-I am single and bad - and laughs.

We are accustomed to that in Latin America all fights. We have learned that there is no true cause, If we are not willing to fight for it. In times of economic crisis, many political demonstrations in the region complete with choir: “Die fighting, hunger or shitting!”.

In the area of El Alto, where the cholitas flying before falling to the canvas, most of the walls are painted with phrases that together the words “Evo” and “Fight”. They announced that the President of Bolivia is struggling against poverty, fighting against the foreign abuse, fighting against illiteracy. “We will not stop fighting”, It said Evo Morales the day that assumes in his second consecutive term as head of State. The fight on everyone's lips. The fight as part of day to day, in a Latin America with 1200 dead journals by urban violence. The fight as part of speech. The fight as something serious, never to laugh. He opposed the fight today in the multifunction of the high, where the fighters always cause the audience to burst in laughter.

Compared with reality, ring fighters are a caricature to batteries. As a toy. It suffices to recall the fight club, the novel by Chuck Palahniuk fight, made into a film by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt. At a time, one of the fighters going to hospital for severe pain. He says the doctor who treats you fast, that it is suffering. The doctor tells him: “Do you want to see suffering of truth? Visit the Pavilion of testicular cancer. That is pain”.

Nobody takes seriously the real pains of ring fighters. Of the famous Bolivian fighting cholitas.

Elizabeth is a good cholita. Within the world of Bolivian wrestling are the tactical and the rough. The fighters whose profile is the be bad are the rudas. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is a tactical cholita.

Elizabeth goes to the stage wearing a long skirt of colors and a gray cap of chola. The public applauded it and she greets with a good fighter modes. The announcer of the evening passed the microphone, and she greets a girl from the audience who is birthday. The quinceañera, has no more than 10 years and is in the company of his brothers, parents and grandmother, Alicia is called. Many entire families arrive to Bolivian wrestling, as Alice.

-My girl, In addition to greet you on your birthday, I want to tell you that you study. Never leave study, to do well in life. In addition, don't fight with your parents, love you much. God bless - tells Elizabeth, from the ring, and everyone applauds this good cholita.

To get to fight on Sunday, the fighting cholitas have gone through a full week of preparation. Monday is no rest. Tuesday is the physical preparation, with weights, trot and abdominal. Wednesday it's rest. Thursday's practices on the boxing ring. Friday it's rest. Saturday is the dress rehearsal for the big day, Sunday, today.

Elizabeth is thick and agile, as all. Jumps against his rival to lie on the canvas. It then runs to the ropes, It attacks on them as if they were elastic, and sale triggered with all her dress flying up to hit his opponent.

-I like that so many foreigners come. This shows that what we offer is of high quality. I have spent five years in this, and the truth is that I am very pleased - says Elizabeth out of the ring, After an easy win. While talking, the children of El Alto come to embrace it, to play the, to take pictures.

While every Sunday bout there are about ten bouts, most men on the ring, are the cholitas which have changed the face of Bolivian wrestling. In certain posts videos of the fair of El Alto, a paradise of merchandise stolen and pirate, sell the legendary June Cristina show program of 2008: When were several of them on the set with Cristina Saralegui. For many, that was the beginning of change. The beginning of the arrival of European photographers and documentarians, Japanese and United States. And hence, the development of the tourist industry in La Paz, as buses filled with tourists and feel them beside the ring.

In the first row, to see details and close to the sky at these cholitas flying while they fight for a better life.

Carmen Rosa is good and is lying on the floor, down the ring, When split you a wooden crate in the head. The public screams, insults, but the referee of the bout does nothing to stop the attack at close range. The cholita Carmen Rosa, one of the most legendary competitors of the Bolivian cachacascanismo, is now fighting with ‘ beast ’: a fat of more than one hundred kilos and tight white suit. For some time, as striking as the fighting cholitas, they are fighting between a man and a woman. Nicknamed gordo ‘ beast ’, It promises to have no compassion, get another crate with what hit you the head of his victim. Some tourists recoil. They take photos with astonishment while, a few meters, ‘ la Fiera’ tight swimsuit gives you beaten with blunt objects to a cholita beloved by the public.

-Queer! Queer! Get with a man! -Scream you from all sides of the stadium. Children, parents, the grandparents, tourists.

Gina Grey, 24 years, born in Sacramento, He studied anthropology at UCLA and takes a month traveling in Bolivia. He came to regard wrestling as part of the tours must-sees selling La Paz tourism agencies. It paid 40 dollars for a package that includes the, the entrance to the multifunctional, a glass of drink, a bag of popcorn, two tickets to go to a bathroom that is outside the enclosure and a miniature of a cholita woodwork. Next to it there is a score of young Gringo, everyone at Ringside, it take Bolivian hats and handmade backpacks. Gina told me, with a Spanish accent of California English, It seemed funny to see the show. Before the fighting was seen smiling. Taking photos to Bolivian children and grandmothers dresses chola sitting among the public. However, suddenly, everything seems to have changed. While the white fat hits the head of Carmen Rosa, Gina is enraged and joins the cries:

-Queer! Queer!

The referee stopped the beating and forcing the two fighters to step into the ring. Once above, Carmen Rosa renews the forces, Tomb at ‘ la Fiera’ and begins to strangle her right ankle. Everything is turned in a few minutes. The audience cheer it, While strings she scale before jump. From high raise arms and all, including Gina and her friends, encourage applause and vivas. Carmen Rosa, transformed into an avenging of violence by men against women, It drives with full force and flies.

Flies, and your typical aymara chola dress flames over the air.
Flies, still with the brands of drawer broken in his head.
Flies, While the public applauding it eagerly, as needed heroin.
Flies, savoring the good revenge.
Flies, and ‘ the beast’ is not enough to move when she lands.

Carmen Rosa dropped his heavy body on the chest of the fat fighter. The victory is followed among vivas! It seems to break down this small stadium that was once Church and is so close to the sky, to 4.900 meters high. Tourists in the front row taking pictures, While the families of the popular tribunes never tire of cheer.

The spectacle of the cholitas luchadoras seems to be in good health. Everyone knows that, Thanks to them, Bolivian wrestling has been able to highlight against Latin American Mexican wrestling or lucha libre argentina powerful industries. Such is the success, more than one is declared the inventor of the phenomenon.

Juan Mamani, known as ‘ the Gypsy’ and responsible for the show, advertised as the inventor of so lucrative variant of wrestling: the fighting cholitas. However, shortly after the appearance of these fighters of long dresses, many of them went to work with the company directed by Benjamín Simonini, known by his name of rough fighter ‘ Kid Simonini ’.

Beyond the disputes between owners of companies, There is a fighter who has evidence that invention of it all was. His name is Édgar Zabala, Although in the world of the struggle free Bolivian known as ‘ Commander Zabala ’. Edgar has 45 years, styling gel and broken nose in several parts. It takes more than 25 years in the atmosphere and came to after a wrestling ring by boxing. Competing in the flyweight category, dreamed of boxing an end of the world, and there began to break the wall.

-The first time that there was a fighting cholita, I was - says, seriously, dressed in military costume with that in a while will be to compete as ‘ Commander Zabala ’.

There was ten years ago, and he came up to go out to the ring dressed as a humorous Chola. As part of the funny side that should always be wrestling. What he did not know, or less, the head of the company, It was the success that was going to have to see cholitas onstage. Quickly, ‘ the Gypsy’ It began to recruit women who were willing to fly over the ring and landing with his ribs. The first call they came over 50. Today, There are several waiting list, to be future Carmen Rosa: the woman who overcame the drawer on the head blows, and he was able to knock down heavy rival amid the cheers of a packed stadium.

When one comes to La Paz, It is customary to sit on the street with cholitas, how they are told “affectionately” indigenous women who wear their traditional attire. The cholas, as many descendants of aymaras, they are the symbol of discrimination which have been Indians and peasants in Bolivia. However, This dress also is a sign of a prestige of those who hold the values of an ancient culture. When one goes up to El Alto, the presence of the cholitas is much more evident.

From the high, where is the multifunction of wrestling, get a panoramic, almost complete view of the city of La Paz. Below there is the capital, great buildings, the Government Palace and the hotels where tourists stay. Here, on the other hand, the streets are of Earth, people are surviving on the itinerant trade and less careless you may be victim of a robbery. The upper is considered a red zone, where there is to walk attentive. However, the fame of the El Alto has more to do with the fight that with petty theft.

Were the El Alto who began the popular revolt that ended with the resignation of President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, prelude to President Carlos Mesa, predecessor of the arrival of Evo Morales to power.

-High is a bastion of Evo. Here is red zone, but Evo can walk here without custody and nobody would do anything - I said Alberto Medrano, a journalist from El Alto, great promoter of Bolivian wrestling.

The day of combat ends past nine o'clock in the evening. The cold of the almost 5000 meters high has been dropped. Tourists have been uploaded to the bus to La Paz, While families of El Alto will walk to their homes. Carmen Rosa, one of the most legendary fighters, It tells me that tomorrow is the day of rest and will be with their children. He tells me that it is a woman's work, the Titans of the ring have helped to have a better life, but it's not to win money. He says that, Anyway, you have other occupations because he has family and life is struggle. It has more swipes Sunday to last him until Tuesday. And says that tonight, before sleep, It will review their best stunts in the head.

Surely Carmen Rosa, the woman who fell from the ring sweaty and beaten, sleep late and tired. And, possibly, back to relive the moment in which climbs the ropes. Down the ring the public is crazed and applauds it with rage. Gina, the anthropologist, yell faggot! to ‘ the beast’ and cheer to the cholita. At that moment she opens arms, look at his rival, is given a boost and flies.

Flies, with her dress from cholita to wind.
Flies, knowing that his life has always felt a fighter.
Flies, not wanting to land.

By: JUAN PABLO MENESES / www.soho.com.co

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