The Llallagua tin mine in Bolivia has been active for 100 years. For much of that time poor Bolivians have been dying as they struggle to extract the valuable metal in appalling conditions. In 2006 Witness travelled to Bolivia to film with child miners Jorge Mollinedo and his friend Alex Choque, soon after the country's first indigenous President Evo Morales had won elections with the promise of renationalising the mining industry.
But armed conflict between the cooperatives that extract tin and the National Miners Union broke out in October of that year. Jorge's mining town was partially destroyed and 20 miners, among them women and children, were killed. The cooperatives have been denied access to the pits ever since so now Jorge's father has lost his job. But because the child miners are not part of the cooperative they've carried on working, and now Jorge is helping to support his entire family, at the age of just 13. Rodrigo Vasquez made that first film for Witness, and in Child Miners he returns to Llallagua to ask what happened to the promised reforms, and to find out if life for Jorge and Alex has improved.
See Part 1 here:
See Part 2 here:
About Al Jazeera - Witness
Rageh Omaar presents Witness, a half-hour daily documentary series which features short, specially commissioned or acquired films gathered from independent filmmakers.
Each documentary reveals the unknown lives of ordinary people, following their lives, telling their stories and portraying the challenges that confront them. Our witnesses are people in a situation or those who have observed them first hand.
The films cover conflict, belief, the past and the future and as well as bringing new stories to light they showcase the talents of a new breed of multi-skilled, frontline journalist. In the studio, Rageh will further explore the issues raised in the films, with expert guests on the subject matter and the filmmakers themselves.