Things That Matter

These Tourists Thought It Would Be Funny To Poop Inside A Temple In Machu Picchu: They’re Facing Prison Time

Picture this: You’ve made the long, difficult journey to Machu Picchu, taking a variety of planes and trains and buses to get there, and now finally, you’re inside the grounds. You begin to explore the more than 500-year-old site, marveling at its ancient structures, its surreal terraces and ramps. Life is sweet; the world is wonderful and mysterious. But at some point —and for some unknown reason— you sneak into a sacred temple constructed half a millennium ago, drop your pants, and POOP one of the greatest marvels this world has to offer. This actually happened.

Six tourists emptied their bowels inside the hallowed grounds of an Incan worshipping room: There’s something deeply wrong with some people.

For some inexplicable reason, that’s exactly what a group of tourists allegedly did over the weekend, France 24 reports. Six people in their twenties and early thirties were arrested on Sunday after Peruvian authorities caught them in a restricted area of Machu Picchu’s Temple of the Sun, a revered part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Park rangers and police found feces inside of the temple.

The Temple of the Sun had also been damaged after a piece of stone had “broken off a wall and caused a crack in the floor,” regional police chief Wilbert Leyva told Andina, a local news agency. “The six tourists are being detained and investigated by the public ministry for the alleged crime against cultural heritage,” Leyva said.

The group was made up of one French, two Brazilians, two Argentines and a Chilean, according to police.

They face at least four years in prison if found guilty of damaging Peru’s heritage. Several parts of the semicircular Temple of the Sun are off limits to tourists for preservation reasons.

Worshipers at the temple would make offerings to the sun.

The sun was considered the most important deity in the Inca empire as well as other pre-Inca civilizations in the Andean region. The Machu Picchu estate—which includes three distinct areas for agriculture, housing and religious ceremonies—is the most iconic site from the Inca empire that ruled a large swathe of western South America for 100 years before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

Three Argentines, a Brazilian, a Chilean and a French woman make up the group.

Local media reported that all the tourists were aged between 20 and 32. In 2014, authorities denounced a trend that saw tourists getting naked at the sacred location. Four American tourists were detained in March of that year forremoving their clothes and posing for photos at the site. In a pair of separate incidents earlier in the same week, two Canadians and two Australians were detained for stripping down for pictures there.

Machu Picchu, means “old mountain” in the Quechua language indigenous to the area.

The historic site is at the top of a lush mountain and was built during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1471). It lies around 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Andean city of Cusco, the old Inca capital in southeastern Peru. The site was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983.

Everybody Thinks Of Rio When It Comes To Carnivals—But Other Latin American Countries Celebrate Too: Here Are Mexico’s Top Carnavales

Culture

Everybody Thinks Of Rio When It Comes To Carnivals—But Other Latin American Countries Celebrate Too: Here Are Mexico’s Top Carnavales

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Despite its international reputation for loving a good party, Mexico isn’t known for its Carnival although it is celebrated in one form or another in about 225 communities. Of course none is anywhere as big or famous as those of Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans, but they’re still a lively and fun party nevertheless. In Mexico all carnivals have a different meaning and history behind them, but they’re all colorful and lively parties that are closely linked to the days of ‘mal agüero’ or ‘lost days’ of the Mesoamerican Xalámatl calendar.

Like other Catholic celebrations, Carnival was introduced into Mexico by the Spanish.

It gained acceptance by many indigenous communities because it fell around the same time as the “lost days” of the Mesoamerican calendar. The lost days and Carnival, both share the same traditions of donning masks and letting certain social rules slide.

But when the social rules were sliding a little too much, the Spanish halted the celebrations.

In fact it was those two things that caused colonial authorities to suppress Carnival in New Spain by the 17th century. Celebrations by the indigenous and lower castes had become too irreverent and mocking of authority. By the early 18th century, major Carnival celebrations had been successfully banned in the cities.

A number of small towns however, managed to keep the tradition alive.

A few rural areas managed to evade enforcement, and their Carnivals survived. However, the ban had the effect of isolating such celebrations, one reason why each fiesta has very localized characteristics.

These are the largest and most famous carnavales:

Mazatlan, Sinaloa

One of the most popular carnivals is the one that takes place in Mazatlan. This carnaval is known for being one of the oldest celebrations in the country. At the Sinaloan party you’ll find celebrations like “The coronation of the king of ‘Alegría’ and the carnival queen,” you can go to the inauguration of gastronomic tasting menus, the fantasy dance, and the “quema del mal humor.” Other traditional activities include the naval combat, the dance of the ambassadors and many others.

This carnival takes place from February 8 through the 13. Visit www.carnavalmazatlan.net for more info.

Veracruz

The jarocho carnival is possibly the most famous one. This party is one of the loudest and most  colorful events of Mexico. This year, Veracruz will be crowning a carnival king and queen, for both adults and children. There will be concerts, parades and lots and lots of food. Also, expect the traditional ‘quema de mal humor.’

It will be running from February 7 to 13. For more information go to carnavalveracruz.com.mx

Carnaval de Campeche

Campeche’s carnival is also one of the oldest ones of the country. An important activity is the ‘quema del mal humor’, which is represented by a rag doll dressed as a pirate. Once the doll is set on fire, the ‘festival de las flores’ starts, as well as the popular dances and parades. This carnival will also choose a king and queen who will receive their crowns on a saturday, also known as ‘Sabado de Bando’. Other activities include the ‘ronda naval; a paint fight, also known as ‘pintadera’, concerts and more.

This carnival takes place from January 1 to February 13.

Carnaval de Morelos

The state of Morelos is home to many carnivals. There’s the carnival of Axochiapan, Tlatizapan, Tlayacapan, Tepoztlan, Yautepec and Atlatlahuacan. One of the events that are most representatives of Morelos carnavales is the ‘representacion del origen del Chinelo’ in Tlayacapan.

On from February 7 to March 24.

Merida, Yucatan

The state of Yucatan also has the traditional ‘quema del mal humor’, coronation of the carnival king and queen, as well as parades for children. Other activities include ‘Sábado de Fantasía’, Domingo de Bachata, Tuesday of the battle of the flowers and for the last day of the ‘Celebracion de la carne’ they burry Juan Carnaval.

Carnaval de Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca

In this small town, the locals put on a satire of Mestizo customs like weddings and divorces called “Danza de los tejorones” —in this dance, the tejorones are young mestizos that dance with a rattle and a handkerchief. At this carnival, you’ll also find comparsas, masks and the staging of ‘the caceria del tigre.’ Visit this carnival throughout February

San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

At this festival, locals dress up as Mash —a monkey— which is one of the traditional attires of San Juan Chamula. They run and hide from bulls that they let loose in the Plaza of San Juan Chamula. This carnival also celebrates the dances of ‘comisarios’, ‘xionales’ and ‘maltajimones.’

This Comic Is Being Used To Highlight The Chaos Of Climate Change In Latin America

Culture

This Comic Is Being Used To Highlight The Chaos Of Climate Change In Latin America

el_rubencio / Instagram

The days of comics that are all about cape crusaders and masked bad guys are over. We’re living in a new time where we can’t afford to pretend we live in a fantasy world. Artists today are taking the modern world we’re living in, full of evil politics, natural disasters, environmental issues, and whatever else is thrown our way and applying that to a new frontier of comic-book stories. 

Creatives have launched “Puro Peru,” a kid-friendly comic book that educates and explores indigenous communities and essential issues such as the environment.

Credit: Vooltea

The comic book is 92 pages and includes eight separate stories that are all about discovering Peru, the people who live there, and how they’re tackling issues with climate change. 

“We present eight stories with stories that bring us closer to Peru in a personal way, on a journey full of ancestral traditions and knowledge,” creators state on their website. “With them, we want to sensitize society about the environmental situation of the planet, in the Amazon rainforest and in the mountains of Peru. We hope you enjoy this great adventure designed by several of the best illustrators and writers in Spain.”

The book is published by CESAL, an extension of Vooltea, which is an interactive and educational website aimed at young people and teachers to publicize the different realities of five Latin American countries, which include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. 

Let’s meet some of the artists and the stories they’re sharing.

Credit: Vooltea

Javier de Isusi and Alex Orbe take on the causes and consequences of climate change in their comic book stories. 

“Climate change is currently the main environmental problem and one of the biggest challenges of our time,” they write. “This also exacerbates the situation of poverty in which the most disadvantaged groups are found: women, peasants, and indigenous population, and it is with them that CESAL works in Peru.”

Calo, an award-winning artist, takes on climate change by exploring how people in various countries handle the changes to their environment.

Credit: Vooltea

“What measures have been taken to mitigate climate change?” he asks in his story about international measures to break and adapt to climate change. “When are we worldwide? It’s about taking a trip through the reality of different continents and countries to find good and bad practices.”

Emilio Ruiz Zavala and Ana Miralles dive into the indigenous and Sierra population and how these benefits the mitigation of climate change.

Credit: Vooltea

“Climate change especially affects indigenous peoples and rural communities,” the artists state. “On the other hand, they are also the ones with the most accumulated knowledge of climatic phenomena and how to deal with variability and unpredictability.”

Artist Rubencio addresses the critical aspect of strengthening the capabilities of the indigenous population in order to take on the issues of climate change.

Credit: Vooltea

“The concept of resilience has become fundamental in the theory and practice of disaster risk reduction and currently has an important place in discussions about adaptation to climate change,” he states. 

Núria Tamarit, one of the youngest artists taking part in the series, looks at how people can help their local environment in order to make a global impact. “The intention is to encourage critical reflection on the society in which we live and propose changes (clues) that promote a new development model based on sustainability and respect for the environment,” Tamarit states. 

Teresa Valero’s story takes on how climate change is affecting the jungle of Peru. 

Credit: Vooltea

“The Amazon represents 62 percent of the Peruvian territory. In her, they inhabit the greater number of native cultures and the greater biodiversity of the country and the world. As a consequence of Climate Change, strong droughts and floods stand out, causing the loss of forests.”

It’s so beautiful that kids today (and adults) can understand what is happening to our planet on an intermediate level — in Peru — in a way that isn’t complex to understand. 

Often, people don’t seem to grasp the severity of climate change because they feel the problem is more significant than themselves and too challenging to be part of the change. These stories show us in simpler and creative terms that change is possible. The comic book is available to download for free. Click here

READ: The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later