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Full text of "New Roads To Riche S In The Other Americas"

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KANSAS CITY, MO. PUBLIC LIBRARY 



Q DDD1 OlS-^bfi 7 



L-16 



HEW ROADS TO RICHES 




A New Road to Riches in the Peruvian Andes 



"NE 




In. tke OtKer Americas 



EDWARD TOMIJNSON 



Charles Scrilmer's Sons Netr Yo*k 
Otarles ScriBner's Sons Ltd 
* 1939 



COPYRIGHT, 1936, 1937, 1939, BY 
EDWARD TOMLINSON 



Printed in the United States of America 



All rights reserved. No part of this book 
may be reproduced in any form without 
the permission of Charles Scribner's Sons 




22*39 



CONTENTS 



NEW ROADS TO RICHES ix 

VENEZUELA 

I. LAND OF THE LIBERATOR 3 

II. FABULOUS EMPIRE 17 

III. THE ROAD TO MARACAY 31 

IV. OIL ON THE WATERS 44 
V. RECORD OF THE REHABILITATOR 57 

COLOMBIA 

I. GIBRALTAR OF THE SPANISH MAIN 75 

II. LIFE ON THE COLOMBIAN NILE 89 

III. THE CAPITAL OF LIBERALISM 104 

IV. THE NEW EL DORADO 121 
V. THE GOLD TREES OF ANTIOQUIA 134 

PANAMA 

I. ISTHMUS OF VANITY FAIR 155 

II. THE DREAM OF ALVARA DE 

SAAVEDRA 172 

III. THE LISTENING POST 188 

[v] 



Contents 

ECUADOR 

I. TROPICAL ADVENTURE 207 

II. SHANGHAI IN MINIATURE 222 

III. POLITICS AMONG THE VOLCANOES 237 

PERU 

I. GHOSTS IN THE CANEFIELDS 255 

II. THE CITY OF THE KINGS 276 

III. FROM THE SEA TO THE JUNGLE 298 

IV. RENAISSANCE IN THE SOUTH 317 
V. DEATH AND RESURRECTION 334 

VI. THE WORLD IN PERU 354 

BOLIVIA 

I. THE LAKE IN THE SKY 375 

II. LAND OF THE TIN KINGS 397 

III. EAST TO THE ORIENT 415 



INDEX 



429 



[vi] 



A New Road to Riches in the Peruvian Andes Frontispiece 

PAGE 

Hacienda La Vega 8 

Road from La Guaira to Caracas 9 

Rural Highway in the Valencia Valley 46 

Oil on the Maracaibo Waters 47 

The "Gome* Club" and Gardens in Maracay 64 

On the Road to Maracay 65 

The New and Old, Cartagena 80 

Gasoline Refinery on the Magdalena 8 1 

Bridge Across "The Colombian Nile" 96 

San Andres Gold Mine, Antioquia 97 

The Peon of Antioquia Is White 144 

Sheltered "Gold Trees of Antioquia" 145 

Main Street on the "Isthmus of Vanity Fair" 176 

A Shif Enters the Canal Locks 177 

Cacao Bean Sorters Enjoy a Photographic Interlude 2 1 6 

[vii] 



Illustrations 

PAGE 

A Highlander Ready for a Cockfight 217 

Rural Life Near Quito 248 

Weaving the Sombrero de Jip-jafa 249 

Highway from the Sea to the Jungle 288 

Modern Boulevard in the New Lima 289 

The Author Reviews a Llama Punta in the Cordillera 304 

Yarn Sinners of the Andes 305 

A Chuncho Gives a Lesson in Amazonian Archery 312 

Terraced Farms in the Tarma Valley 313 

Newly Planted Andean Cornfield 320 

Father Misti Over Arequtya 321 

Travel by Balsa on Lake Titicaca 384 

Sorting Potatoes on a Titicaca Farm 385 

New Roads East to the Orient 408 

Farms and Mining Camf in the Tin Country 409 



[ viii ] 




L.T LAST Americans are discovering one another. From 
Alaska to Cape Horn the peoples of the Western Hemisphere 
are becoming conscious of their peculiar relationships, the ties 
material and spiritual which, because of geography, science 
and circumstance, bind them together. 

Before the World War burst upon mankind in 1914, in- 
terest, news, and travel in the American nations were all oriented 
East and West. A majority of the families in this country, 
Colombia, and Argentina alike, were linked either by blood or 
sentiment to the countries of Europe. Millions still are. In 
the speech of many there remains the trace of Old World 
accents. 

Naturally, when the average citizen of the United States, 
Venezuela, or Chile thought of the world beyond the borders 
of his own immediate country, he thought of the homelands of 
his forebears. When he travelled abroad he wanted to return 
to the ancestral haunts. He wanted to see the cities, the cathe- 
drals, art galleries, and libraries so often described by his grand- 
parents that to him they had become treasured traditions. 

He was anxious for information concerning the happenings, 
incidents, and changes in Europe. Consequently, his news- 
papers and periodicals, sensitive to the currents of thought and 

[ix] 



New Roads to Riches 

interest, enabled him to follow them. Foreign news and Euro- 
pean news were synonymous. 

Telegraphic and cable communications had been laid not be- 
tween New York and Lima or Valparaiso, but between New 
York and London, and between Buenos Aires, Rome and Paris. 
And since the people of Virginia, Massachusetts, Chile and the 
other American countries alike wanted to travel to England, 
France, Spain, Italy and Germany, maritime accommodations 
had been organized to suit popular demand. 

The swift luxurious greyhounds of the Atlantic never ven- 
tured out of Northern waters. Business men and diplomats 
of the United States going on missions to Santiago, Chile, or 
Buenos Aires, or those Brazilians and Argentines, who, upon 
occasion, found it necessary to visit New York, travelled first 
to Europe and then to their respective destinations. 

Peruvians, or Chileans were much more familiar with the 
Champs Elysees, Piccadilly, Unter den Linden, the piazzas and 
plazas of Rome and Madrid, than they were with Broadway, 
Michigan Boulevard, or Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Commerce also followed the beaten paths. Alabama and 
Carolina cotton fed the looms of Lancashire, while English 
woollen fabrics protected New Englanders from the wintry 
blasts. The countries of South America exchanged wheat, hides, 
copper and an amazing assortment of raw materials for British 
and Continental manufactures. And the styles of Bond Street 
constituted sartorial criterions for the senores of the Rio de 
la Plata. 

For a time, even the Great War served to intensify these 
Old World connections. Never before had the people of our 
own and the Other Americas felt, thought, hoped and prayed 
so intensely in terms of Europe. Mothers and fathers in Man- 
hattan and Missouri had sent their sons to the scarlet-stained 
fields of Armageddon, many of them never to return, while 
thousands of Germans, Italians, Frenchmen and Britons in 



New Roads to Riches 

Guatemala, Colombia, Chile and Argentina offered their all to 
the lands of their youth. 

Paradoxically enough, the World War brought home to the 
thinking people of North and South America an appreciation 
of the mutual advantages which a freer, if not closer, relation- 
ship might produce, and a realization of their growing inter- 
dependence. But if this realization was more the result of 
necessity than of choice it was none the less a fact. 

Overnight, European factories had been converted into 
forges for the fashioning of engines of destruction, or kept 
busy turning out clothing and equipment for the legions who 
manned them. No longer were there finished products to offer 
in the markets of the Americas. 

The machinery of European credit, upon which South Amer- 
ica had hitherto depended, no longer functioned. Every shilling, 
franc, mark or lira was needed at home. Except for munitions 
and staple foods, commerce between the United States and 
Europe declined. Business men on both continents began seek- 
ing other outlets for their surplus products, outlets which they 
presently found in neighboring countries. 

Then came the event which removed the greatest single 
handicap to communication and transportation between the 
United States and its neighbors. The Panama Canal was opened 
to traffic, affording a new road to the riches in these Other 
Americas. By water, Chile, Peru and Ecuador were now within 
a few days, at most two weeks, of all Atlantic and New Eng- 
land ports, while San Francisco was more than a month nearer 
to Rio and Buenos Aires. Atlantic and Gulf steamers took 
Louisiana lumber or Virginia apples to the West coast and 
returned with Chilean nitrate, Peruvian copper and Colombian 
coffee. United States-South American trade grew profitable to 
all concerned. 

Steamship service had begun to improve, an improvement 
which has continued ever since, until today fast, comfortable 



New Roads to Riches 

and commodious liners ply between this country and all the 
ports of South America. 

Answering the demand for even speedier transportation for 
mail and travellers over the vast distances which separate the 
capitals and populous centers of the New World, thousands of 
miles of regularly scheduled air lines were established. Today 
an extensive and efficient system of airways has brought New 
York and Bogota, Chicago and Santiago, Chile, within but a 
few days of each other. Giant fifteen to forty passenger air- 
planes or flying boats are ready to whisk mail, express and pas- 
sengers to the remotest city in any republic to the south of us. 

Meantime a network of cables supplemented by American- 
owned telephone systems in several of the countries had con- 
nected all the cities of the hemisphere. More recently radio 
has added another important link in the vast system of com- 
munication which has made practically every person in the 
hemisphere a next-door neighbor of every one else. 

Highway construction is not only the newest but the most 
needed development in all of South America, particularly in 
the countries of the northern and western half of the continent. 
Until the last few years there have been practically no roads. 
It was impossible to drive an automobile beyond the limits of 
even some of the largest cities without sinking into mud or sand. 
Except by airplane, an occasional narrow-gauge railway, or a 
mule trail, important towns and communities within the same 
countries were completely isolated from one another. By land 
or sea some are still as far apart as Seattle and Alaska. 

But this condition will not prevail much longer. Venezuelans 
have already spanned several mountain ranges with the most 
modern highways. As far back as eight years ago they had 
already surveyed and graded the first border-to-border auto- 
mobile road on the continent. And the highway campaign is 
still in progress. The indefatigable and undefeatable Gonzalo 
Mejia, of Medellin, Colombia, is arguing, agitating, working 

[xii] 



New Roads to Riches 

day and night to keep the government, the engineers, the auto- 
mobile owners, enthusiastic about work on a highway from 
Bogota to the Gulf of Darien. And he is making progress. 

Peru takes the prize in highway construction. I have just 
travelled over one of the most amazing automobile roads in the 
world, from Lima on the shores of the Pacific, up through the 
historic Rimac Valley, and on over the backbone of the con- 
tinent, through the snow fields of the cordillera and down to 
the edge of the steaming jungles of Amazonia, while a second 
such road is already nearing completion. In fact, the Pan- 
American highway "from the Rio Grande to Patagonia" is 
no longer a wishful dream. 

All of which helps to deal a death blow to isolation and 
provincialism, the parents of suspicion and misunderstanding. 
Now that it is possible for citizens of Pittsburgh, Kansas City, 
Valparaiso, La Paz, Caracas and Quito to get accurate and al- 
most instantaneous news about one another, and even to visit 
one another with the greatest speed, convenience and comfort, 
neither can continue a stranger to the other. 

Each country may maintain its own mode of living, business 
methods, culture and religion, just as next-door neighbors in 
the same city or community may indulge their own individual 
tastes in architecture, landscaping and interior decorations, as 
well as attend different clubs and churches, and yet be the 
closest of friends. 

Nor should the fact that business and commerce between 
most of these countries has enjoyed tremendous expansion 
during the past few years cause them to overlook the cultural 
contributions which each may make to the other. Today students 
from Bogota, Lima, La Paz and Santiago are finding American 
colleges and universities much more adapted to their needs than 
any others in the world, while archaeologists and anthropolo- 
gists from the universities and museums of this country have 
been flocking southward to study the historical treasures of 

[ xiii ] 



New Roads to Riches 

Peru and Bolivia. The remains of the Inca and pre-Inca civili- 
zations excite the imaginations of scientists and college students 

alike. 

North American authors and journalists are now turning 
out voluminous amounts of copy every week on South American 
subjects. Some of it, of course, is faulty and inaccurate. A great 
deal of it is based upon prejudiced or preconceived ideas. Most 
of it is the result of cursory investigation and observation, but 
nearly all of it is enthusiastic. Furthermore, it is no longer 
merely the glamorous-adventure-soldier-of-f ortune type of the 
Richard Harding Davis and O. Henry schools. It attempts to 
be serious, to deal with social, political, and cultural matters. 

Club women and schoolteachers who formerly spent their 
summer vacations in Europe are turning more and more to the 
countries closer home. Tourists who have frequented the Medi- 
terranean are now going in unprecedented numbers to the 
Caribbean. For several years cruise ships have been weekly 
visitors to La Guaira, Cartagena and Panama. The old Spanish 
Main has become the American Mediterranean, both in winter 
and in summer, while in the past two years, seasonal traffic to 
the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has been increasing steadily. 

And although the professional tourist, the inveterate cruise 
passenger, excites the fancy of the caricaturists, and is frequently 
decried by sophisticates, he not only spends his money in hotels, 
restaurants, sightseeing buses, and curio shops, thereby giving 
employment and livelihood to countless people in the various 
countries and cities which he visits, but he helps to swell the 
South American consciousness back home. He sees not only the 
growing cities and the modern new developments, but the 
colorful marketplaces, the picturesque old houses and churches, 
the strange and fascinating tropical fruits, hears the haunting 
and rhythmic native music. When he returns home he talks 
about them to his neighbors and friends, who in turn are in- 
trigued into making the same trip and bringing back stories of 

[ xiv ] 



New Roads to Riches 

similar experiences. The governments of some of the South 
American republics take the tourist quite seriously. Touring 
Clubs are important national enterprises in every capital from 
Caracas to Santiago. 

It is this growing interest and enthusiasm upon the part of the 
general public in all the countries which has facilitated the solu- 
tion of many political disputes. Today there is a definite, 
insistent, and outspoken demand for non-interference in the 
internal affairs of their neighbors. Likewise South American 
cordiality and good feeling toward the United States have 
grown rapidly, at least among the intelligent classes. With 
due respect for the motives of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and to 
the genuine and unostentatious statesmanship of Secretary of 
State Cordell Hull, the policy of "the good neighbor" was not 
merely the result of their own high purposes, but a happy 
expression of the sentiment of growing numbers of their fellow 
countrymen. 

There will continue to be doubts, fears, misunderstandings 
and clashes of interests, all the changing impulses known to 
human emotions. But as an eye-witness to developments and 
events in most of the southern Americas for more than fifteen 
years, I am convinced that the ties between them are becoming 
stronger and more enduring with every passing year. 

Now, then, in the pages that follow I have not attempted 
to delve deeply into the current politics or the history of the 
countries concerned. Politics in some of them is such a transitory 
matter that today's picture might easily become an old-time 
daguerreotype before this sees the light of print. As for history, 
that should be written by a professional. However, enough 
about both has been included to lend color and flavor and to 
round out the general story. 

Nor have I presumed to crowd all the South American 
countries into one volume, the well-known six-weeks-round- 
the-continent method. Not only are most of them amazing 



New Roads to Riches 

in area, but each is a paragon of diversity and individuality. 
Perhaps the five Andean countries, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecua- 
dor, Peru and Bolivia, together with Panama have more in 
common than any others. Popularly known as the Bolivarian 
republics, their liberation from the mother country was the 
direct result of the military campaigns of the great Venezuelan 
patriot, Simon Bolivar. They were not only conquered and 
settled at about the same time, and largely by the same people, 
but the first European settlements on the continent were made 
in the territory from which they were carved. Anyway, for 
the present it is to this group that I shall confine myself. 

Finally, I should like to say that much of the material con- 
tained in this book has appeared in articles in Collier's, This 
Week, The Cosmopolitan, Country Home, The New York 
Herald Tribune, The American Newspapers, Inc., The Rotarian 
and The New York Times. 



[xvi] 



ENEZUELA 



I 

Land of the Liberator 



II F THE Yankees of Massachusetts had not become angry 
enough to make tea in Boston Bay the Henry Cabot Lodges, 
the late and the present one, might never have become United 
States senators. Even Calvin Coolidge might have lived and 
died a country storekeeper or perhaps a provincial British con- 
stable in Vermont. It is just as easy to suppose that if pickles 
had been selling in Italy and along the coast of Spain and 
Portugal in 1499, there might not be a single American in the 
world today. Apparently it was due to a recession in this par- 
ticular trade that the young Italian merchant, Amerigo Ves- 
pucci, shut up his shop, went out to see the world, and got a 
couple of continents named after him. 

Of course, if it had not been for Amerigo's luck in meeting 
at the moment a Spanish explorer by the name of Alonso de 
Ojeda, things might have turned out differently. Alonso, who 
had previously accompanied Columbus on that persistent old 
mariner's third trip across the Atlantic, was now consumed with 
ambitions to discover something himself. Not only that but he 
had been impressed with the lands along the southern edge of 
the Caribbean, and was now about to sail forth for another look 
at them on his own. Whether he signed Vespucci on as just an- 
other roustabout, or to keep the records of the expedition, is not 
clear. At any rate the restless youth, like most of his successors 

[3] 



New Roads to Riches 

who have forsaken legitimate callings for the primrose path of 
adventure, wrote a book about his experiences. 

This may not be the sole, but it is one of the principal, reasons 
our Southern neighbors never cease to resent, and perhaps right- 
fully, the possessive spirit of the Yankees for presuming to make 
exclusive use of the word "America." 

"Indeed," says one proud and rhetorical Venezuelan, "you 
have no right to monopolize it. The valorous Vespucci wrote not 
about North America but about South America, indeed about the 
future Venezuela and Colombia. Moreover, Senor, if truth be 
repeated, it having been stated many times before, our claim 
rests not alone upon the facts set forth in the chronicles of Ves- 
pucci. There is also the Waldseemuller Map of 1507, perhaps 
the earliest map of the world. On that map the word America 
appeared upon the South American and not upon the North 
American continent" 

These facts furnish as good a reason as any for selecting 
Venezuela as the place of departure in this journey of observa- 
tion through the mountainous regions of the Other Americas. 
Looking southward from Yankeeland, Venezuela is the first of 
the Andean countries. In Colombia the mighty cordillera splits 
into three main ranges, one of which meanders more or less in- 
differently over into Venezuela, leaving in its course here and 
there tiny lakes, and pocketlike valleys. For more than half a 
thousand miles its northern wall skirts the shores of the Carib- 
bean, rising sheer from the water's edge like a giant battlement 
warning all intruders against trespassing upon the treasured 
territory of this enormous country. 

Superimpose upon the map of Venezuela all our fourteen 
states, whose shores are washed by the Atlantic, and there 
would still be room enough left for West Virginia. La Silla and 
Naiguata tower upward above the lazy old port of La Guaira 
more than 9000 feet, an impressive scene as your ship oozes out 
of the pale blue mist into the semicircular bajr ju the early 
morning. r -. 

L4 J 



Venezuela 

Before the English put in a sea wall which penned off a small 
area of the Caribbean, just large enough for three or four ships 
to tie up at a time, vessels calling at La Guaira anchored out in 
the open ocean and bobbed up and down like corks on a fishing 
line. However, all of this is being changed. Work on aa elabo- 
rate new port is already in progress, which is only one in a 
series of modern ports planned for the country's 1800 miles 
of coast line. 

Whether because of a sudden burst of generosity, or with his 
tongue in his cheek, or out of pure pique over some acts of 
theirs which displeased him, the King of Spain once presented 
the Belzares family with the bulk of all Venezuela, provided 
they would go out, conquer, settle and develop it. Too busy 
with affairs at home to take a personal interest in such a useless 
piece of property, they sent Ambrosio de Alfinger, a gentleman 
of German origin, formerly known as Ambrose Ehinger, and 
a few men out to look over the situation. But the heathen Caribs 
and the Los Teques objected to Ambrosio's intrusion, so he did 
not tarry, but moved on westward toward Lake Maracaibo. 

In fact, it was not until forty odd years after Vespucci's book 
that the Spaniards succeeded in staying on the other side of the 
mountains long enough to make a settlement. Even then they 
merely took by force the little Carib village of Caracas on the 
banks of the Apure River. Adding a few words to lend it the 
proper civilized, not to say Catholic dignity, they called it, 
"Santiago Leon de Caracas." Caracas served as a haven for the 
families of high officials on tour in the colonies. Even today 
Caracanos insist that the oldest families of the Venezuelan capi- 
tal are descendants of early Spanish officials, and not of ordinary 
settlers. 

For more than three hundred years a trip from La Guaira to 
Caracas, only seven miles straight across the mountains, was in 
the nature of an adventure until the English secured a concession 
for a railroad in order to connect their port and dock at La 

[5] 



New Roads to Riches 

Guaira with the city of Caracas. For another twenty-five years 
this narrow-gauge line which winds around cliffs, through tun- 
nels and over switchbacks, and which is said to have cost $2OO,~ 
ooo a mile, was the only communication between the Venezuelan 
capital and the outside world, until the old dictator, Juan Vi- 
cente Gomez, became too old and ailing to ride on horseback, 
took to automobiles, and became the first good-roads enthusiast 
in South America. 

The highway from La Guaira to Caracas was the first piece of 
highway construction planned and completed by Gomez and one 
of the first all-concrete roads south of the Rio Grande, and prob- 
ably the costliest. What is more, no South American road since 
shows more superb engineering, a compliment to the skill of the 
native Venezuelans who planned it and carried it to completion, 
It takes a running start from the docks in La Guaira, climbs up- 
ward in curves and curlicues along the precipitous cliffs, and 
leaps caverns for some twenty-three miles, before it rushes down 
into the main streets of the capital. 

This remarkable road has put Caracas in the path of armies 
of tourists and sightseers who frequent the Caribbean both sum- 
mer and winter. To the chauffeurs and taxi owners of Caracas a 
week without two or three cruise ships is a week to be struck from 
the calendar. Even the hundreds of families who go down to 
Macuto and its beach resort just outside of La Guaira for the 
week end hardly make up for the loss in revenue. 

An enterprising lot the taxi men of La Guaira and Caracas. 
They join with the gente Men of the country not only in pro- 
moting travel but in advertising safety. At Buena Vista, on the 
brow of the mountain just before the road makes a last hairpin 
curve and disappears on the other side, the Chauffeurs' Union 
and the Rotary Club have erected a strange monument. They 
have piled the horrible wreck of an automobile on a great con- 
crete block or pedestal and inscribed below it the usually un- 
heeded injunction, "Go slower and live longer." But having 

[6] 



Venezuela 

already swallowed your heart several times as your car swings 
suddenly around a sharp curve at what you thought was ninety 
miles, but which the driver with one hand on the steering wheel 
and the other in the air as an aid to conversation, tried to explain 
was only ninety kilometers, an hour, the monument seems like 
the work of a sadist. 

The Government too has gone in for education along the 
highways. Every few miles there are bold signs exhorting 
every one who passes to "Do Your Duty and Cure Yourself of 
Syphilis." Not to overlook any opportunity, the "Best-Friend- 
Won't-Tell-You" Pharmaceutical Company of St. Louis, Mis- 
souri, has plastered every bridge, rock and wall with the legend, 
"Listerine, the Perfect Prophylactic." In addition to these, 
garish billboards stare down at you from the rugged and ver- 
dant mountain tops, reminding you of the virtues of everything 
from rubber tires to aspirin. 

Fortunately, just before the blatant persistency of modern 
commercialism becomes too unbearable, the car swings around 
another cliff and you look down upon Caracas, one of the few 
old cities of Caribbean South America that has not yet substituted 
drab, dull, corrugated iron roofing for that lovely old red 
Spanish tile, that fits so perfectly into the tropical scheme of 
things. And here, where bright scarlet bougainvillea climbs over 
walls and fences and tapering palms, apamate and other tall 
trees line streets and suburban roads, you may relax after a 
thrilling journey and enjoy the most delightful climate on all 
the South American continent. 

It is a climate which even expatriate Yankees, long resident 
in Caracas, insist is the most equable in the world. Caracas has 
everything they will tell you charm, an easy-going friendli- 
ness, but above all a climate. A Californian would not only 
feel at home here, but would envy the ability of natives and 
foreigners to describe the climate. 

"Here in this little valley in the heart of the tropics," they 

[7] 



New Roads to Riches 

say, "you find none of the climatic extremes. It is neither too 
hot nor too cold. It is neither too dry nor too wet. It rains 
neither too little nor too much. There are showers in May, June 
and November, and bright days and nights from Christmas to 
March and on into April." 

On my last visit to Caracas I arrived late Saturday night 
in plenty of time for week-end activities. Sunday in the Vene- 
zuelan capital is far from being a day of rest. Contrary to Anglo- 
Saxon custom, it is a day of recreation. On Sunday the social 
swirl is at its height. First of all, church in the early morning, 
and again at eleven, when the streets are crowded with people. 
At that time old and young fulfill the tradition of their ances- 
tors by withdrawing from the world for a brief moment In 
order that the spirit may not perish. 

I joined an old friend for the eleven o'clock parade to the 
cathedral on the Plaza Bolivar. And parade it was, to the ac- 
companiment of a symphony of bells and chimes. Devout old 
dowagers and elderly gentlemen in stately dignity alighted 
from their cars and hurried in. Dressy, if not dashing, dons 
lingered a moment on the steps to observe divine femininity, 
raven-eyed senoritas, wearing the latest creations of Paris, shyly 
conscious of the battery of admiring eyes. But presently the 
streets were empty and the city quiet except for the mellow 
strains of the organ, the shrill chant of the choir, and low voices 
repeating the old old story of the ages. Then the final words 
by the brilliant Monsignor Novarro, and again the streets were 
filled with laughter and gaiety. 

From church we sped off to Paraiso little Paris there to 
see and be seen. High noon is the hour of the Sunday paseo in 
this dignified old suburb, filled with the old homes of the aris- 
tocracy. Scattered along its boulevards are statues of the great 
Sucre, Bolivar and others. There is even a marvellous like- 
ness of George Washington, a fit figure to stand in the city of 
Bolivar, the man who did for several of the Other Americas 

[8] 



Venezuela 

what Washington did for ours. It stands in the most prominent 
position on the thoroughfare and at its base there is always a 
fresh wreath of flowers. Washington is not merely a name in 
Venezuela. He was the idol of Simon Bolivar, the George 
Washington of Venezuela, and he is a hero to the schoolboy 
of today. 

As I watched the people of Caracas parade in state before 
the memorial of Washington in Paraiso, I thought of the 
humble statue of Bolivar in Central Park in New York. This 
memorial to the father of Venezuela doesn't fare so well. It 
stands on a secluded knoll, almost forgotten, except for an oc- 
casional visit from some Bolivar enthusiast, a dutiful Committee 
of the Pan-American Society of New York City, or a patriotic 
Venezuelan. 

But getting back to the paseo, the main boulevard of Paraiso 
was jammed with shiny new cars. There were two lines moving 
in opposite directions, so that every one faced every one else. 
Round and round they drove. Every one seemed to know every 
one else. The men were continually tipping their hats, so con- 
tinually there was a perpetual wig-wag of arms. 

Caracas wouldn't be Venezuela without its $aseo. Venezue- 
lans wouldn't be Spanish Americans if they didn't pass each 
other in review at least once a week. In the days of General 
Gomez, when he spent an occasional Sunday in Caracas, he too 
would be found in the parade. Even in the late afternoon on 
weekdays he would visit the imposing Pabellon, or restaurant 
in Paraiso where hundreds gathered at teatime. It was con- 
sidered smart by his followers and discreet by his enemies to 
have tea with "Benemerito General," as his friends affectionately 
referred to him. 

Like the people of old Madrid the citizens of Venezuela still 
thrill to the sport of the mother country. The graceful mata- 
dor in his silks and fine laces is still a popular idol. For now 
and then on Sunday, and more often, he continues to tease and 

[9] 



New Roads to Riches 

tantalize El Toro. I suppose there have been more gala fights 
than the one I saw in Caracas that Sunday afternoon. But the 
crowd was very excited, even if the bulls were not overly fero- 
cious. The matadors were not so famous, as wigglers of the 
cape go, but they were stunning to look at. Especially Saturio 
Toron, the tall Moor from Spain; and tiny Heriberto Garcia, 
from old Mexico. What flashy fighters these j and what flashy 
tailoring they wore. The Moor was fitted out in pink jacket and 
breeches, purple lace collars and cuffs and stockings of deepest 
lavender. At least if these were not the exact colors, they were 
just as conspicuous, not to say exciting. The Mexican lad wore 
a complete ensemble of orange and gold jacket with golden 
collar and cuffs, orange pants and stockings, and slippers with 
golden buckles. No bull, however raving, could have taken 
the spotlight from these gallant lads! 

Sefior Toron had the first go. He faced a somewhat frisky 
old roue of the range, who looked as though he bore in his heart 
an age-long hatred of the Spaniards and all their progeny. For 
a time it was a delightful encounter. Gyrating back and forth 
from side to side, the big Moor led his quarry on to the point 
of desperation. Once or twice he turned away for a moment, 
with mock indifference. Then just as he was poised on his tip- 
toes ready to jab the tcmderillas in the shoulders of the king. of 
kine, something happened. Senor Toron lost his balance, and 
to his own amazement, was tossed high in the air. Ten thou- 
sand hearts stopped beating for a moment. Ten thousand people 
held their breath waiting to witness the worst. 

But this time luck was kind. Although somewhat embarrassed 
at suffering such indignity, and soiling his exquisite silks and 
laces, Toron retrieved his shattered dignity and again took his 
stand on the field of honor. Banderillas in hand, he rose on his 
tiptoes, threw out his chest, until his back was curved in, or, 
if you like, his chest curved out like a half moon, and waited 
for the charge. Like a flash it came, and once more Senor 

[10] 



Venezuela 

Toron went up, then down, and then out on a stretcher. 

But no such misfortune befell the amazing little Mexican 
when he faced his partner. Both were as light on their feet as 
kittens. Garcia careened back and forth, his cape wig-wagging 
in perfect rhythm. He was the poetry of motion and the master 
of his prey. From right to left they oscillated, until the bull 
turned away as if to say, "Well, what is this anyway ! 

And then came the second act. Our little hero took his stand, 
raised his arms high with colorful bmderilhs in his hands. El 
Toro sniffed, and lunged forward, only to find himself deco- 
rated something after the manner of a porcupine, with fancy, 
beribboned arrows sticking in the back of his neck. A little 
more cape play, and then the Mozo de Estoque handed Garcia 
something shiny-that slender rapierlike sword, the estoque, 
which dispatches its victim to the eternal grazing grounds. A 
bugle split the air, and the spectators leaned forward, eyes 
glued to man and beast. A pause now in the flash of an eye 
all was over, except the shouting. The multitude went mad. 
Hats were thrown into the ring. The band burst into a Los 
Banderilleros," the music of the bullfighter. Garcia, like a hero 
returned from the field of victory, marched round and round 
the ring, bowing and waving, salvos of bravos ringing in 
his ears. 

But if I had never been to Caracas before, and I had time to 
visit only two or three of its many points of interest, I would 
have no difficulty selecting them. I wouldn't go to the fash- 
ionable suburb of Paraiso to see the Sunday T>aseo y even though 
it would afford an opportunity to mingle with the aristocracy, 
as well as the privilege of feasting the eyes upon flocks of 
senoritas. I should even forego the bloodcurdling experience 
of the bullfight. I would pass up the old university, whose 
stormy career dates back to 1725. In the shadows of its aged 
walls I should probably pass sprouting lawyers, orators and 
poets enough to identify its classic atmosphere. Contrary to 



New Roads to Riches 

their custom a few years ago, when Gomez was in power, they 
would probably be engaged in heated argument about the 
world in general socialism, capitalism and communism. 

In the ornate old capital building across the way from the 
university I would spend a few minutes, just long enough to 
visit the Salon Eliptico, its great hall where national history has 
been spectacularly recorded by native artists. It is the dome of 
this hall that contains Martin Tovar y Tovar's historic painting 
of the battle of Carabobo. Tovar y Tovar was the most notable 
of all Venezuelan painters and the public buildings of Caracas 
are the scenes of his artistic triumphs. Perhaps, while in the 
mood for Tovar y Tovar, I would drop into the municipal 
Council Chamber, close by, and take a look at another of his 
glamorous portrayals of historic events, this time the signing 
of the act of Venezuelan independence. 

But as quickly as possible I would find my way into Calle 
Sur Uno South First Street one of those ancient, narrow 
thoroughfares of the old Caracas. I would stop before a certain 
great door in a blank wall which I would have no difficulty in 
identifying, for over this door the flag of the nation always 
flutters in the breeze. To one side of it is a bronze plaque bear- 
ing the inscription, "CASA NATAL," the birthplace. Casa Natal 
is the Mt. Vernon of Venezuela. Here Simon Bolivar looked 
upon the world for the first time. 

In Casa Natal today you may read the life story of this re- 
markable man. Around its walls is the cycloramic story of an- 
other of Venezuela's foremost artists, Tito Salas, who ranks just 
after Tovar y Tovar. Salas was a strange and eccentric fellow 
who, before he began a picture, scrawled on the back of the 
canvas, "God protect me and St. Joseph assist me." In Casa 
Natal, Salas has recorded the outstanding events in the life of 
his hero, a life into which was packed enough romance, glamor, 
glory, pathos, disappointment, suffering, humiliation, seeming 
failure and immortal successes to fill a dozen careers. 

[12] 



Venezuela 

Bolivar was the son of a rich father. He was an aristocrat of 

the colonies, cradled in luxury. As a child he had slaves to do 

his bidding, governesses and tutors to provide his every need. 

All the culture of hundreds of years of Spanish glory shone 

upon him. As a young man he travelled in Europe, played 

games with dukes and princes, visited His Holiness, the Pope. 

\0 At twenty he fell desperately, insanely in love and married "the 

i fairest of all earthly creatures," whom he worshipped until one 

" year later when she died in his arms. 

10 Then darkness descended. The world ended for the time be- 

ing. The specter of insanity haunted him by night, the demon of 

O suicide tempted him by day. Grief wracked him, body and soul. 

--' But eventually the clouds lifted, and he completely forgot self 

for others. Life became something to give to humanity. He dis- 

covered other unhappy men all about him, men inexcusably 

oppressed. He witnessed the folly of kings, the cruelty of rulers, 

the injustice of governments, not only in the colonies of Amer- 

)ica, but in Spain itself and wherever he travelled on the Con- 

tinent. 

j One day it all came to him. He was in Rome, the Rome of the 
Caesars, the Rome of Nero, who, whether deservedly or not, 
is known as one of the most nefarious of oppressors, the Rome 
destined to become the stamping ground of Mussolini's Black- 
Shirted legions and the capital of a state in which there is prob- 
ably more material progress and less spiritual and mental free- 
dom than old Nero could ever have fancied in his most cruel 
QQmoments. That day in the Eternal City Simon Bolivar climbed 
one of the seven hills, looked westward toward America 
0^ Venezuela Colombia Peru and swore never to rest until the 
last puppet of the Spanish King was driven from the shores of 
the Americas forever. 

And then began a crusade even more dramatic than that of 
our own George Washington, the North American titan who 
was the father of but one country. Simon Bolivar, as already 

[13] 






I 

\ 



New Roads to Riches 

indicated, became the father of five nations, Venezuela, Colom- 
bia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Colombia was the stage for his 
principal activities in fact, Colombia, in the early days of in- 
dependence, sprawled clear across the northwestern corner of 
the continent from the Orinoco Valley in the east down to the 
desert wastes of Peru, and from the frontiers of Costa Rica in 
Central America across the Andes and down into the Amazonian 
jungle, including the present republics of Panama, Ecuador 
and Venezuela. 

For years he rode in triumph up and down the Andes along 
the Caribbean and along the Pacific coast, leading armies, chas- 
ing viceroys, fashioning governments, and making diplomats 
and presidents out of captains and colonels. Lavish with him- 
self, his spirit and his devotion to the cause of a new way of life 
for the unhappy but ungrateful colonists of Spain in the New 
World, this dashing, impetuous, incomparable son of one of the 
first families of colonial Spanish America finally fulfilled his 
pledge to conquer and drive the soldiers of his Spanish Majesty 
back to the Old World. He carved out the various nations and 
himself took over the republic of New Granada, the climax of 
his amazing career. 

But just when he might have relaxed for the first time, and 
offered his sage wisdom and advice to the officials of the young 
nations, disease took hold of him, dissension grew up among 
his followers, and eventually he was actually hounded from 
office and from public favor. He came down from Bogota on top 
of the Andes to Cartagena on the coast, only to find even more 
bickering and strife. Disappointed and ill, the cursed white 
terror creeping through his patrician body, he boarded a small 
ship and sailed out to sea hoping to go eventually to what was 
once his native city of Caracas. But the wish was not to be grati- 
fied. After stopping at Barranquilla for a few days 3 rest, he 
finally put In at Santa Marta. 

I can imagine the scene. At Santa Marta the Andes reach the 
end of their Colombian journey, walk right out and disappear 



Venezuela 

in the sea, one slender prong circling westward in a semicircle 
to make a quiet bay and harbor which shelters ships from the 
eternal trade winds. On that day the mountains lifted their 
tall white heads aloft as if in silent welcome to the unhappy 
arrival. He was greeted by a faithful friend who invited him to 
a little colonial cottage, known today as San Pedro Alejandrino, 
a little way out from the humid shores of the bay. There he 
went, to die in despair, humiliation and poverty and to be buried 
in a borrowed nightshirt. 

The simple tragedy of his passing, the helplessness, the dis- 
appointment, the disillusionment, has in it all the emotional 
elements that make one of history's greatest dramas. The story 
has been told many, many times before, but it is worth repeat- 
ing, as a continual reminder of the ungratefulness and perfidy 
of humankind, and the poor rewards a man may usually expect 
for his services to the public, especially while he lives. 

It was already afternoon. The hot tropic sun beat down upon 
the world, a half-dozen faithful friends stood just outside the 
door. A French doctor and a young surgeon from a United 
States ship which lay in the harbor, were at the bedside. Bolivar 
looked up at the Frenchman and asked, "Doctor, what caused 
you to cross the Atlantic and settle here at Santa Marta?" 

a l was seeking liberty," the doctor replied. 

"Have you found it?" Bolivar asked. 

"Yes, General, I have found it." 

"Then," said Bolivar, "you have been more fortunate than 
1. 1 have not yet found liberty. But, Doctor, I do not grieve for 
myself. It is for the people. I wish for them complete liberty. 
They have been freed from an Old- World oppression, but now 
there is a new oppressiondivision, dissension. They dispute 
among themselves." 

The sick man closed his eyes for a moment as if exhausted. 
But presently he again looked up and said to the doctor, "Please 
write down this message." 

[The doctor, with tears in his eyes, and his hand shaking with 

[15] 



New Roads to Riches 

emotion, began to write as Bolivar dictated, "If my death- 
should unite them I shall go to my grave with a calm and 
contented mind." 

Then after a long pause he spoke again, his words scarcely 
audible, "Yes, my grave. That is what they have presented me. 
But I am not bitter, I forgive them. If I could only know they 
were united, working together in harmony, then I should be 
happy in this last moment but I have plowed the waters of 
the sea.' 3 

All this and more Tito Salas has recreated with his brush in 
Casa Natal in the city of Caracas. And, having read it, I would 
move on a few blocks uphill to the Pantheon, a graceful cathedral 
overlooking the city and the country beyond, the Westminster 
Abbey of Venezuela, where rest the country's illustrious dead. 
I would enter, and here amid the reverential stillness of this 
house of memories, I would stand in salute before the marble 
tomb of Simon Bolivar The Liberator! 



[16] 



II 

Fabulous Empire 



L 



CARACAS there is a stately old house looking out from a 
steep hillside. Extending its entire length is a terrace which 
in width suggests nothing so much as the boardwalk at Atlantic 
City. For a dozen years this house served as the home of the 
American Legation, before our diplomatic post in Venezuela 
was elevated to ambassadorial status. In the days when that 
hearty and generous host, George T. Summerlin, watched over 
Venezuelan- Yankee relations, it was the mecca of all strangers 
who hungered for congeniality, or thirsted for liquid inspiration. 
Here in the cool of the evening came not only members of the 
Yankee colony, but also of the British and French, visitors from 
Panama, New York, Paris or Rio, almost any traveller passing 
through, and always more Venezuelans than foreigners. Even 
in those days Yankees and Venezuelans seemed to like one an- 
other, and the genial Minister, along with his whisky sours, and 
rum punches, helped to keep them on good terms. 

It was there that I first met that deep-voiced giant, tall and 
wide of beam, William Tecumseh Sherman Doyle, whose name 
the Venezuelans are pleased to pronounce "Doilie." As a matter 
of fact it was at a stag dinner in his honor, preceding one of his 
rare trips out of the country. Some twenty male members of 
the American community having taken on highballs sufficient 
to mellow them into a state of raucous hilarity, sat down around 
a table groaning with roast pig, baked apples, dozens of other 

[17] 



New Roads to Riches 

dishes and sauces, and gallons of red wine. Among the guests 
were Billy Phelps, the elder, who of late successfully and hap- 
pily combines business with botany and other natural history 
subjects, Don C. Booker, famed as the twin convivial of Doyle, 
himself a character among the Caracanos, and many others. 

As the pig and provender disappeared and the wine flowed 
they flung experiences back and forth across the table. They 
drank to the Minister, to Venezuela, to General Gomez, then 
in the calm afternoon of his dictatorial power, and to Doyle and 
his "brief absence." 

"And brief absence it'll be," Doyle boomed back, his voice 
reverberating up and down the long dining room, with some- 
what the resonance of a bull in a well. 

"This will be my third visit to the United States in fifteen 
years." 

Which seemed to surprise every one. For no one could have 
found a heartier welcome in his homeland. Doyle's career in the 
United States had been by no means a modest one. He started 
out as a newspaperman in New York, then went to Wash- 
ington and essayed diplomacy, beginning as a clerk in the De- 
partment of State. Later Elihu Root took him on that triumphal 
and historic tour through South America. Back in Washington, 
he carried on, until Philander Knox came to plot the course of 
international affairs, when Doyle became an important adviser. 
He was a linguist, spoke French and Spanish. Gradually he 
took into hand our relations with the Other Americas, and 
served on several special missions to the southern republics. 

But a tenant of another political complexion came to the 
White House and Doyle found it necessary to look for other 
worlds to conquer. One day he found himself in Venezuela 
and there he has been for many years a powerful business fig- 
ure, priest and guide to many of his compatriotsfriend of 
Venezuela, and beloved by all. 

Around midnight, when nearly every one else had gone, 

[18] 



Venezuela 

Doyle and I stood by the stone railing of the terrace. Stars hung 
low in the clear heavens, like brilliant jewels dangling on trans- 
parent threads. The city was a sea o twinkling lights filling the 
valley below us. 

"Down there/' said Doyle, "is the future New York of the 
Caribbean, the metropolis of a fabulous empire, the capital of a 
country full of the riches the old Spaniards looked for but 
never found, riches of which Caracas is only the reflection. 
Come back in five years and you'll see." 

As I thought the pig and wine had produced their proper and 
poetic effects, these remarks made no impression upon me at the 
time. But five years have passed. Two hundred thousand people 
had already taxed its housing capacity. But within the past two 
years twenty to thirty thousand more have caused it to overflow 
into half a dozen new suburbs. Few landmarks in the old part of 
the city have changed. But fields, farms and the grounds of old 
haciendas have given way to numerous subdivisions that look 
for all the world as if they had just been transported from 
Miami and Hollywood. No more houses in colonial style, with 
patios and grilled windows. Today it is bungalows and villas, 
with spacious gardens and grassy lawns. 

Many people in the old part of the city have forsaken their 
stuffy colonial houses and moved out into the fresh air. Even 
Senora Herrera Uzlar, a descendant of the immortal General 
Ybarra, one of Bolivar's associates in independence days, has 
rented San Pablo, the marvellous old mansion which stands 
across the square from the Opera House and the Majestic Ho- 
tel. What a house, San Pablo! From the outside, just a giant 
wooden door in a blank wall. On the inside a thing o exquisite 
beauty, with several flower-filled patios. Originally it was im- 
posing enough, but five years ago it was revamped to accom- 
modate a big family of married sons and daughters who, in 
keeping with immemorial Spanish custom, brought their mates 
back to live in the big house. 

[19] 



New Roads to Riches 

Each couple was provided with an apartment, or a series of 
several rooms, sufficiently separated from all the others to insure 
domestic privacy, but with access to the various drawing rooms, 
libraries and glass-enclosed conservatories. Each apartment was 
arranged, decorated and furnished in a different style, accord- 
ing to the individual tastes of its occupants, one of the Louis XVI 
period, another with a Moorish atmosphere, and still another in 
the Spanish colonial style. Yet all blended beautifully into the 
colonial atmosphere of the entire house. Now all the families 
have gone modern, moved out into the suburbs into individual 
houses or apartments. 

With the passing of the dictatorship of General Gomez, 
thousands of people in Caracas have unsocked their money and 
put it to work in real estate developments. Hundreds of other 
old families who either could never stomach the Gomez regime, 
or whose views and activities Gomez would never tolerate, have 
come back from Paris, London and New York to enjoy the in- 
come from their properties and holdings. Even many who had 
forsaken the capital for their farms and ranches in the interior 
have returned to the city to live. And all have had to rebuild, 
rehouse and modernize their living conditions in keeping with 
the new age that came to pass while they were in exile, in retire- 
ment, or in eclipse. 

Only five years ago the imposing country club stood in an 
isolated district of the countryside, several miles from the heart 
of the city. Today the intervening section is a succession of parks 
and new residential districts surrounded by wide, shady streets, 
white ways and broad boulevards. In this section Sefior Aris- 
mendi, the Carl Fisher of Caracas, has just completed "Los 
Caobos," a subdivision named for the forest of giant mahogany 
trees that stood in the park of an old estate. 

Even Paraiso has had its face lifted. The great old mansions 
have been revamped and repainted. New streets have been cut 
through some of their spacious gardens and parks. The Hifpo- 

[20] 



Venezuela 

dromo, or race track, is completely surrounded by new homes. 
Small farms have been turned into recreation fields and play- 
grounds for the youth of the city. A new Olympic stadium has 
just been completed so that continental athletic tournaments 
may be invited to meet in the Venezuelan capital. 

Beyond Paraiso is something new under the Venezuelan sun- 
Bella Vista. Sponsored by the Workmen's Bank of Caracas, it is 
a city of modern homes for workmen. Any man who labors with 
his hands may buy an ultra-modern house worth $3000 and 
pay for it in twenty years, in the best United-States-Federal- 
housing-for-workingmen manner, a bit a month, so to speak, 
until paid for. This innovation has thrilled the popular imagi- 
nation and other projects are already in the making, or in pros- 
pect. Naturally the government has inspired or led the way in 
this particular field of development. 

But I suspect the most unusual, if not the strangest, real- 
estate tax laws in the hemisphere have encouraged the building 
boom by private individuals. The tax laws covering city resi- 
dential property are so simple and plain that even a layman can 
understand them. It appears that these laws were enacted for 
the purpose of helping the property owner instead of the legal 
profession. There are no Federal, that is, no national, or even 
state taxes on private real estate. Only the municipality may levy 
taxes on such properties. 

If you own your house and live in it, you pay no taxes. If you 
rent your house to a tenant you pay a municipal tax equivalent 
to one half of one month's rent each year. That is to say, if, in 
the estimation of the municipal appraisers, with whom you have 
the right to discuss and argue the matter personally, and not 
through your lawyers, your property would rent for a hundred 
dollars a month, your tax to the city for one year is exactly fifty 
dollars. 

Even the tax on a business enterprise is not exorbitant, and 
is also simply computed. For instance, in case of a bank, there 

[21] 



New Roads to Riches 

are both a Federal and a municipal tax 5 the Federal Govern- 
ment collects a two per cent tax on net profits. Unless the bank 
makes money the Federal treasury receives nothing from it. A 
prominent bank capitalized at twelve million bolivars pays a 
flat municipal tax of twenty thousand bolivars, or about one 
sixth of one per cent. The bolivar is the monetary unit of Vene- 
zuela and is so called in honor of Simon Bolivar. At this 
writing it is worth thirty-one and a half cents in United States 
currency. In the case of banks there are, of course, certain stamp 
taxes on checks and other transactions, just as exist in this and 
many other countries, but they are so small as to be negligible. 

Jose Marino is the proprietor of a small tailor shop and 
haberdashery. When I asked Jose what the taxes on such a busi- 
ness would be, he replied, "My entire stock is worth about 
thirty thousand bolivars. My total taxes this year amounted to 
three hundred bolivars" 

Unfortunately, at the present time, such happy innovations 
are practically cancelled by the high cost of living. Rents are 
exorbitant, both on business and residential properties. Even 
when vacancies can be found, and no residence remains vacant 
overnight, a salaried foreigner, a bookkeeper, bank clerk, or en- 
gineer, with a salary of, say $250 gold per month cannot pos- 
sibly make ends meet. His rent alone for a small five- or six- 
room house will average from $75 to $125 per month. Practi- 
cally all American companies have added local differentials, as 
they call them, or additional salaries in "bolivars, in order that 
their employees can meet this high cost of living. The rent now 
asked by Senora Herrera Uzlar for San Pablo is approximately 
$750 per month. 

Hotel rates are correspondingly high and all hotels have 
waiting lists. When one is available in the Majestic Hotel, a 
room with bath in which tepid water is sometimes supplied, 
would cost from five to seven American dollars. In addition, 
or in spite of this, the guest, especially if he is a Yankee, must 



Venezuela 

be willing to endure the frigid treatment of the management. 

The prices of food in ordinary restaurants are even more 
exorbitant than hotel rates. A four-course luncheon for two, 
preceded by a rum cocktail, in any one of the two or three first- 
class restaurants in Caracas, will cost from eight to twelve dol- 
lars. The prices of luxuries are fantastic. A friend of mine paid 
six dollars for a two-pound tin of Blue Boar smoking tobacco. 
Boom prices, all of these, of course, in spite of high import taxes 
on all products not produced in the country, and still higher 
tariffs on products that must compete with local products. 

"This situation," says a Caracas banker, "is due primarily to 
the shortage of labor. You see, because of the high wages paid 
by the oil companies, most of the small farmers and farm work- 
ers have left the countryside and gone to the oil fields. There- 
fore, production of food products within the country has fallen 
very low. This means that we have to import nearly everything 
we eat, a ridiculous situation in a country with as much land and 
with such rich soil as this. Add to this situation high import 
tariffs, which have long been too high, but which some politi- 
cians think will help to increase production. The argument is 
advanced by some of them that, when laborers come to realize 
that their high wages are practically cancelled by the high 
prices they are compelled to pay for the necessities of life, many 
of them will go back to their farms. Dubious reasoning, of 
course, but the minds of politicians are often filled with strange 
ideas." 

The situation has been intensified not only by the tremendous 
influx of natives from the small towns of the interior, and the 
expatriates coming home from abroad, but by the increasing 
numbers of foreigners oil operators and employees, salesmen 
and branch managers of foreign business and commercial enter- 
prises, mining prospectors and concession hunters interested 
in the gold, diamonds and other potentialities of the wild 
Orinoco and Guayana country who must be supplied and fed. 

[23] 



New Roads to Riches 

The most uninhabited region of the Southeast, both the basin 
of the Orinoco and the mountainous country along the borders 
of British Guiana and Brazil, has long excited the imaginations 
of romantic explorers. But today it is becoming a South Ameri- 
can Klondike, the lodestone of geologists and mining engineers 
from far and near. It was this region that inspired Doyle's re- 
marks five years ago. "A fabulous Empire," he called it, "a 
country full of the riches which the old Spaniards looked for and 
never found, and of which Caracas is only the reflection." 

Until recently this vast hinterland was so remote from Ca- 
racas and the populous centers of the nation, that it was alto- 
gether another world. To reach it was like going from the 
United States to Alaska. You took a steamer from La Guaira 
to the British island of Trinidad, then transferred to a river 
boat for the Orinoco and Ciudad Bolivar. That is, unless you 
preferred to assume the role of a true adventurer and ride, and 
occasionally swim, on the back of a mule across mountains, rag- 
ing rivers and mosquito-infested jungles. Even this was possible 
only in the dry season. 

Today the trip to Ciudad Bolivar, the river metropolis, may 
be made by automobile or bus over a highway which will eventu- 
ally be surfaced with asphalt or concrete the entire distance. Or 
you may travel by airplane and arrive within a couple of hours. 
In the mountainous valleys south of Ciudad Bolivar, especially 
in the valley of the Rio Caroni, gold and diamonds were dis- 
covered several years ago. In 1932 Doctor Rafael Requena, then 
secretary and physician to General Gomez, showed me a piece 
of ore, almost solid gold, the shape and size of an iron wedge 
which had been picked up along the bed of a trickling stream 
near the Guiana border. In the vaults of a New York bank I 
was recently shown a ten-pound piece of quartz which is ninety 
per cent gold. It had been picked up by an engineer in the upper 
Caroni Valley, near the base of the newly discovered mountain, 
Auyantipuy, called by local Indians, "The Mountain of the 
Devil." 



Venezuela 

"Rivers of gold," one geologist calls the tributaries of the 
Caroni, all of which splash down from Mt. Auyantipuy and 
rush on northward to the Orinoco, tumbling over countless 
precipices on the way. One of the falls on the Carom, only 
80 miles from Ciudad Bolivar, is three times higher than 
Niagara. Jimmy Angel, old time stunt and movie flyer, who 
helped to speed up the pulses of millions of fans in "HelPs 
Angels" and other late Hollywood thrillers, and since then 
pilot for Yankee mining companies, recently showed me a hand- 
ful of diamonds which he says he gathered along one branch 
of the Caroni 200 miles south of Ciudad Bolivar. 

On an aerial exploration junket over this region, Jimmy and 
his lovely golden-haired aviatrix wife, who shares all his ad- 
ventures, landed their plane on the top of Mt. Auyantipuy. 
They even discovered what appears to be the highest of all 
waterfalls, which has been estimated at over 5000 feet. The 
water plunges down from the top of the io,ooo-foot plateau 
on the top of the mountain into the fathomless depths of a gorge 
which looks as if the Maker of the Universe himself had become 
angry and slashed the mountain in half. While searching for 
vantage points from which to photograph this amazing spectacle 
they ran on to a trickling stream along the banks of which gold 
nuggets lay scattered around like so many pebbles on the 
seashore. 

Other adventurers have also explored Mt. Auyantipuy. Billy 
Phelps, obeying his natural history impulses, has only recently 
returned from an expedition to this region sponsored by the 
American Geographical Society. And while the Phelps expedi- 
tion was primarily interested in such aesthetic things as flowering 
plants and rare birds, its members were not unmindful of the 
locations of rivers and streams, the heights of mountains and 
possible landing fields for airplanes. Shorty Wilson of the Gulf 
Oil Company and others have also made aerial photographs of 
the entire area. 

[25] 



New Roads to Riches 

In Caracas on the terrace of the Hotel Majestic an English- 
man and an American, both grave and serious, not to say hard- 
bitten, sat exchanging opinions between highballs. 

"I tell you," said the Yankee, "that if we can get the govern- 
ment to agree to our proposition, we can produce enough gold 
up there to make the Klondike look sick. I have dipped up with 
my own hands gobs of sand that fairly glistened with gold. 
Every river and stream in the surrounding country will yield 
a fortune." 

"Yes," said the Englishman, "quite. In forty years in Africa 
I have seen nothing to surpahss it. But the officials here seem 
to suspect every one. They act as if we might dip up the blahsted 
rivers and slip out of the country with them overnight. If they'd 
agree to any sort of a proposition so the region could be explored, 
opened up, Ciudad Bolivar would become another Johannes- 
burg within a month. But, no, they say the government itself 
will do the exploiting. They say 'Venezuelan gold for the Ven- 
ezuelans. No more exploitation by foreigners.' A fine mass of 
grahf t that'll be." 

Anyway, such are the stories and rumors that go the rounds 
in Caracas and eventually trickle out to the world. However, 
the representative of a Wall Street bank, while doing scout duty 
in Venezuela, told the President not to give his "country's 
riches away." Since then he has informed me, "most confiden- 
tially," that a syndicate of American interests is ready to put up 
the money for a complete scientific survey of the region. This 
syndicate, says he, is ready to join with the Venezuelan govern- 
ment in developing the entire region. And plans are already 
under way to build a railroad 250 miles long from Ciudad 
Bolivar, right out into the Caroni Valley, making easier the 
access and exploitation of the region. 

But whether yellow metal will actually flow from the Caroni 
and the Mountain of the Devil or not, black gold is already 
flowing from wells all over the lower Orinoco Valley, or more 

[26] 



Venezuela 

properly, the Delta region. The stones told by explorers a few 
years ago, about oil bubbling up near the headwaters of the San 
Juan and the Rio Tigre and half a dozen other rivers of the 
Delta region, which spreads out like a fan from Ciudad Bolivar 
down to the Atlantic, have now come true. Not only are they 
true but the big companies, Yankee and British, are already 
pumping it up, pressing it through pipe lines, into tankers that 
worm their way down the jungle rivers into the sea and the 
markets of the world. 

There are the Quiriquiri field and the Caripito refinery 
whose products are taken out by way of the San Juan River and 
the Gulf of Paria to Trinidad. Quiriquiri is the newest Yankee 
oil field and the first large-scale operation in eastern Venezuela. 
Caripito is already a thriving metropolis, and perhaps the most 
modern oil town in the world. It may be put down to the credit 
of the oil companies, no doubt spurred on to good works by 
their sad experiences in Mexico and other countries, that no 
expense has been spared to provide the workmen with all the 
comforts, conveniences and even luxuries of modern civiliza- 
tion. Workmen's houses even eclipse the modern homes of 
Bella Vista in Caracas. Peasants never before accustomed to 
anything but an adobe hut of four walls and a thatched roof now 
enjoy baths, electric lights, screens to protect them from the 
myriad insects of the tropics. There are not only hospitals for 
the workmen themselves, but playgrounds and schools for their 
children. 

But these modern innovations do not faze the modern radical 
agitator, of whom fortunately there are not yet so many in Ven- 
ezuela. Some of the inhabitants of Caripito, into whose ears the 
proper poison had been spilled, recently told government in- 
vestigators, "No, the houses are terrible, they are too hot, be- 
cause the company left the electric wires inside the walls. And 
the school? The company school, of course, cannot compare 
with our native schools." The native schools of this region 

[27] 



New Roads to Riches 

usually being, at least until the present government's ambitious 
educational campaign, huts with dirt floors presided over by 
half-ignorant peons for two months a year. "And these play- 
grounds are all wrong it is injurious for children to engage in 
violent exercises in the tropics." 

Temblador, another field down near the Manamo River 
which likewise flows into the Gulf of Paria, will soon be opened 
up along with others scattered over the sabanas and jungles. 
Perhaps the most important, however, will be the fields back 
eastward in the mountains half way between Ciudad Bolivar 
and the Caribbean. Oil has already been discovered around 
Santa Ana but cannot be taken out until a pipe line and a high- 
way are built down the mountains to the sea. The routes for 
both have already been surveyed, and satisfactory government 
permission for work to begin is expected at any time. 

All of which suggests that within a few years the fabulous 
fields that surround and even occupy Lake Maracaibo in the 
western part of the republic, and which make Venezuela the 
second oil-producing country in the hemisphere, may have to 
yield the palm to the newer fields in the East. 

And speaking of lakes, a few miles from Caripito, right in 
the middle of this eastern region of scattered and spouting 
geysers of oil, there is a lake of asphalt. Every one has heard 
of the famed "Pitch Lake" on the island of Trinidad. I have 
just read the observations of one of the world's renowned globe 
girdlers, as well as a prominent radio commentator on every 
subject from the night life of the Lamas of Tibet to the love 
life of the gypsy moth of New Jersey, who reminds us that 
"Trinidad's lake of asphalt is the only phenomenon of its kind 
in the world." I am sure, of course, he had no intention of mis- 
leading anybody, but unfortunately while the cruise ships all 
call at Trinidad none of them yet ply the San Juan and the 
Orinoco. 

The Trinidad phenomenon is a marvel, of course, a lake of 
the pure, sticky, tarlike substance, a mile and a half wide. For 

Ca.8] 



Venezuela 

fifty years pitch from this lake has been transported to every 
country and city in the British Empire without so much as leav- 
ing a dent in it. Seemingly the more they take out the more 
there is. But the asphalt lake of Bermudez in the Venezuelan 
Delta state of Monagas is quite as remarkable as the one in 
Trinidad. It covers a thousand acres, and is only one of several 
deposits in the republic. 

Nor are the value and use of asphalt to be passed up lightly. 
This product alone, without the surrounding oil fields and the 
possible gold and diamond golcondas farther southward, might 
easily justify Doyle's "fabulous Empire." It is used not only 
for paving streets and roads, but also as a base for roofing and 
waterproofing, in various kinds of varnishes and as an inner lin- 
ing for cold-storage plants. The decks of ships are calked with 
it and even shoe blacking contains asphalt. 

Authorities on the subject have gone extensively into its his- 
tory and romance. According to these erudite, if sometimes 
overly enthusiastic, gentlemen, it could easily be classed among 
the original seven wonders of the -world. One of them boldly 
informs us that "it is as old as earth!" Another indulges his 
poetic fancy to the effect that "it was the cement that welded 
together the stones of the Tower of Babel, the pitch that calked 
the Ark from the waters of the flood. Even the pyramids are 
built on asphalt. It is found on the shores of the Dead Sea, and 
the Egyptians used it in the preservation of their illustrious 
dead. That it was effective can be judged from the mummies 
in the museums." 

These references to the dead, to museums and mummies bring 
to mind the ghostly experience of Jose Calderon, tottering old 
peasant who spent most of his life as a cowboy in the llano 
country north of Ciudad Bolivar, and who now lives with his 
son in the outskirts of Caracas. Jose has seen with his own eyes 
"those strange lights," a phenomenon which has become a leg- 
end among many rural Venezuelans. 

"Often, Senor," says Jose, "when I have been riding alone 



New Roads to Riches 

in the quiet of the night I have seen them. Sometimes they were 
pale blue, and other times they were almost green, that deathly 
green, Senor, which gives one the most eerie feeling. Usually 
they hung like candles, suspended in mid-air for several mo- 
ments, and then suddenly disappeared. Once one of them rose 
out of the ground, floated across my path, and again disappeared 
into the earth." 

These lights, according to Jose, "are but the spirits of the 
ancient peoples who once inhabited all our country. Perhaps 
the souls of the brave Indian chieftains murdered by the white 
men in the early days of conquest. Yes, they return to protest 
to us for the cruel injustices done them." 

Such mysterious gaseous flames have been seen in many iso- 
lated regions of the back country, in lonely river valleys, and 
even in the deserted fields of old haciendas > not only by the sim- 
ple peasant folk, but by otherwise reliable people with strong 
nerves. But alas, along come the cold-blooded scientists, who 
so often deny us the pleasure and satisfaction of poetic fancy, 
and tell us that this Venezuelan phenomenon, this "will-o'-the- 
wisp," is only the indication of vast underground deposits of 
pitch, or, speaking in the proper scientific manner, "the gaseous 
flames of asphaltum." 



[30] 



Ill 

The Road to Maracay 



JLF I HAD never drunk cafe aguara^ado I would still think of 
Venezuelan coffee as about the most unpalatable caffeinic con- 
coction with which I have ever been confronted in tropical 
South America. The coffee served me in most of the cafes and 
lunch stands and even better-class restaurants of Caracas, Va- 
lencia and other Venezuelan cities usually tastes as if it had 
been made out of a worm-eaten table leg, or an ancient buggy 
axle. But then cafes and lunch stands would hardly be the 
places to find cafe aguara'pado, because into its making must 
go a great deal of culinary artistry, a measure of science, and 
a strong tradition. When I asked her to tell me the primary 
essential for making so delicious a beverage, one Venezuelan 
hostess replied, "A grandmother who made it long before you." 
Speaking as a layman, I wish to pass the formula on to 
others who may feel as I do, that what this country needs is a 
good cup of coffee, whether it costs five or twenty-five cents. 
First make the caje y the coffee. Make it out of healthy, well- 
cured beans, freshly roasted the day they are used, not the day 
before. And incidentally, instead of grinding them, pul- 
verize them. The coffee bean is a mass of tiny cells each of 
which contains the most delicate chemicals and oils which go to 
make up flavor and aroma. The beans are roasted in order to 

[31] 



New Roads to Riches 

cook those precious properties, and then they should be pul- 
verized in order thoroughly to expose them to water. 

Another thing as soon as they are exposed to air, evapora- 
tion sets in, so that if kept for several days, as is commonly 
the case in the general run of restaurants, hotels and many 
casually visited places called homes, there is nothing left but 
the rancid pulp of the bean. 

Anyway, to complete the making of cafe, allow boiling water 
to be slowly dripped, not doused, through the freshly pulver- 
ized beans, and you have good coffee, but not cafe aguarapado. 
Of course, if you are already weary with the process, and you 
want to add sugar, hot half-and-half, or hot milk (but never 
thick cream!), even this mixture will tickle the palate and 
soothe the stomach no end. But if you wish the Venezuelan 
delicacy you must now prepare the guarapo, and to prepare 
guarapo, you must have papelon, a species of candied-brown 
sugar made from the juice of sugar cane. The cane juices 
are cooked until they sugar, enough syrup being left in it so 
that when it gets cold it is more like the hardest of rock candy 
than sugar. Break up a piece of papelon, pour water over it, put 
it on the stove and let it come to a slow boil, and you have 
guarapo, or glorified sweetened water. Mix piping guarapo 
with piping caje> serve demi-tasse, and you have cafe aguara- 
pado, which, if it were served you at La Vega, as it was to me, 
would be worth a trip to Venezuela. 

Like cafe aguarapado, La Vega is a Venezuelan tradition, a 
lingering reminder of what was colonial Venezuela, a dignified 
old Spanish colonial house, set in a perfectly preserved garden 
and the whole surrounded by great fields of sugar cane. It is a 
one-story structure with enormous rooms, and a broad veranda 
with simple rounded columns on two sides. At La Vega genera- 
tions of the same historic family have been born, reared, mar- 
ried, and from its quiet surroundings most of them have been 
buried, 

[32] 



Venezuela 

Captain Garci Gonzalez de Silva, one of those old conquerors 
of the valley of Caracas, received the land, thousands of acres 
of it, directly from the hands of King Philip II himself exactly 
thirteen years before the first families came to Jamestown, Vir- 
ginia. Through the following two centuries it trickled on down 
from generation to generation until fifteen years before our 
own Boston Tea Party, when Maria Patronila de Tovar built 
the present house. Today it is the home of Sefior Manuel V. 
Rodriguez Llamozas, likewise a gracious member of Captain 
de Silva's posterity. And it was he who served me cafe aguara- 
fado on the broad veranda at La Vega. As we sipped it, we 
looked out over the cane fields, the mills and trapche> the 
refinery, or cookery, where fta'pelon is made. 

La Vega is now much smaller than the original hacienda, 
having been reduced to 372 acres, due to the garish urban 
encroachments of Caracas. But it still follows the customs of its 
forebears. Under the direction of Sefior Rodriguez, workmen 
still grow sugar cane, grind it, cook the juices and pour the 
-papelon into the same iron moulds that have been in use for a 
hundred years. Generations of the same Negro peasants, culti- 
vate, harvest and process the cane and work under the very 
same system that has obtained since Spanish colonial days, a 
system called medianeiro, which in this country would be called 
share-cropping. Medianeiro was introduced by the Spanish 
colonists, and it still exists not only at La Vega, but pretty 
generally throughout the country, especially in the sugar-cane 
industry. 

The land is parcelled out to share-croppers, one tablon 
to a family, a tablon being equivalent to two acres. The owner 
furnishes the seed cane and the implements for cultivation. 
The family plants, cultivates and harvests the crop, giving 
one half to the owner and retaining the other half. 

It was in 1932 that I first visited La Vega. As I left Caracas 
recently I drove by it again, and with the lingering aroma of 

[33] 



New Roads to Riches 

caje aguara<pado in my memory, if not my nostrils, took the 
road westward to Maracay, and the valley of Valencia. I wanted 
to see once again rural Venezuela, the long settled and culti- 
vated countryside. For this road leads through the most highly 
developed and historic farming and ranching section of the 
republic. The ancient Caribs and Los Teques tramped the same 
route for hundreds of years before the palefaces arrived. In the 
early days of the conquerors it was the route for mule trains 
from the capital to the rich valley beyond. In the struggle for 
independence Bolivar and his various armies fought the Span- 
iards back and forth along almost every mile of it. Later a 
narrow wagon and buggy road was dug out of the sides of the 
hills to make possible travel by carriage and wagon between 
Caracas and the city of Valencia, as well as the rich haciendas 
surrounding it. 

Eventually one of the remarkable railroads of the continent 
was constructed along the same route. Then, when Gomez dis- 
carded horses for automobiles, the present highway was laid 
and concreted for 125 miles all the way from the capital to 
Maracay. Later two roads were built from Maracay to Valencia, 
at the opposite end of Lake Valencia, one on either side of the 
lake. And still later Valencia was linked with Puerto Cabello, 
Venezuela's second, and probably her best, seaport, across the 
coastal range on the Caribbean. 

Some idea of the enormous difficulties that had to be over- 
come in the construction of these roads may be gained when 
a speed-mad chauffeur whisks you almost straight up from La 
Guaira to Caracas. But this stretch of road is only a hint of 
what the Caracas-Maracay branch is like. The Caracas-Valencia 
railroad which parallels it all the way to Valencia, as well as 
on down to Puerto Cabello passes through eighty-six tunnels 
and crosses 230 bridges in approximately 175 miles. 

Elsewhere even greater difficulties had to be overcome. An 
extremely mountainous country, some of the ranges are from 

[34] 



Venezuela 

10,000 to 12,000 feet high, and yet as far back as ten years 
ago expert Venezuelan engineers had already blasted, dug and 
graded a road southwestward 700 miles from Valencia on over 
the Andean Cordillera to the Colombian border. Today the 
road-building program is taking on new impetus. Within the 
past year and a half the Caracas-Maracay road has been 
widened, short curves lengthened and new bridges built. Soon 
every important town and populous center in the republic, 
except those of the far interior, will be connected with one 
another by the most modern highways. 

From Caracas the route to Maracay leads among the tree- 
shaded streets of Paraiso, by Bella Vista and various fincas, or 
small farms, and hadendas y suburban villages and towns, and 
on through the passes and deep gorges of the mountains. 

Several times I have made this trip, but this time I was lucky 
enough to travel with my old friend, Jose Antonio Calcano 
Calcano. "I added the second Calcano," he says, "so that people 
wouldn't confuse me with my cousin, Jose Antonio Calcano." 
Anyway, Jose is one of those astonishingly versatile people 
typical of the Other Americas. He is an artist, a scholar and 
thoroughly grounded in the lore of his country. He came from 
a family of musicians. Having heard so much music as a boy he 
decided to study medicine, but eventually gave it up and suc- 
cumbed to the family tradition. He became a professor of music 
and an authority on the folk songs and dances of Venezuela. 

Incidentally he was not only following a family bent, but 
a Venezuelan tradition as well. Surprisingly enough, many of 
the old families of the country have produced some remarkable 
musicians. There was Teresa Carrefio, called by European 
critics the greatest woman pianist of all time, who for years 
thrilled audiences in Paris, Rome, Berlin and other continental 
capitals. She capivated both maestri and mere music lovers. 
The composer Reynaldo Hahn, now living in Paris, writes 
melodic descriptions of his native Venezuelan hills and valleys, 

[35] 



New Roads to Riches 

and we must not overlook Juan Lecuna, not to be confused 
with the Cuban Lecuona, who for the moment subjects music 
to diplomacy while filling the post of secretary in the Vene- 
zuelan Legation in Washington. 

Like Juan Lecuna, Jose finally combined music with the 
foreign service. He was for some years a consul at St. Louis 
but later ended up as chief economist for the Ministry of For- 
eign Affairs at home. So on the road to Maracay our conversa- 
tion varied between the Joropo, a Venezuelan species of Spanish 
fandango diluted with native Indian rhythms, economic de- 
velopments of the republic, and history. 

Four thousand feet up, at the summer resort of Los Teques, 
capital of the state of Miranda, named after the old patriot, we 
stopped for coffee which in me, after cafe aguarapado, produced 
a state of internal sadness. But when we resumed the trip my 
thoughts were no longer of my stomach. At the edge of town 
we began to climb swiftly, until we were on the very top of 
Venezuela. As we skirted the steep cliffs I gazed with mixed 
emotions down into the bottomless valleys and caverns. Then 
in the very next moment, as we scaled the top of some sharp 
ridge, I looked out upon layer after layer of mountains stretch- 
ing away to the horizon like giant stair steps covered with pale 
green carpets. Occasionally it seemed as if half the world were 
spread out before us. 

Hour after hour of this and then suddenly, as we swung 
around another cliff and entered another gap in the mountains, 
we could see far ahead and below the valley of Valencia with 
waving fields of sugar cane. As we began to descend the air 
was laden with the fragrance of coffee blossoms. For while the 
floor of the valley is utilized for the growing of sugar cane, 
the hillsides are covered with coffee bushes, carefully shaded 
by tall bucare trees which sport their own gorgeous red 
blossoms. 

We paused for a little at the hacienda of the Vollmers near 

[36] 



Venezuela 

El Consejo, for a drink of their Santa Teresa, the finest rum 
in all of Venezuela. A little farther along we came to La 
Victoria, where old Spanish colonial houses, with exquisitely 
grilled windows, line the narrow main streets. Just outside of 
La Victoria we stopped again to look at the great Hacienda 
Quebrado, or Hacienda on the Creek, with its Moorish marble 
palace, once the country home of Gonzalo Gomez, one of the 
countless progeny of the old General. 

Strangely enough, an exception has been made of this mag- 
nificent estate. Practically all the properties of the Gomez 
family had been confiscated by the government, and most of 
them parcelled out in small tracts on long-term payment to the 
people who had worked on them in the days of the dictator. 
But not Hacienda Quebrado. Even the gatekeeper, the same, 
so he told us who guarded the entrance when the Gomez clan 
was still intact, insisted that "it is the hacienda of Gonzalo 
Gomez." 

Although he is now camping conveniently in Curasao, Gon- 
zalo was popular with the peasants and working classes. He 
mixed and mingled with them, built an athletic park on his 
property and organized various kinds of modern sports. He 
had spent some time in the United States, and was an ardent 
baseball fan. The baseball diamond and grandstand at Hacienda 
Quebrado stands close by the highway, but at the moment is 
grown high in grass and weeds. Baseball seems to have departed 
with Gonzalo. 

We swept along the winding valley to historic San Mateo. 
On a steep hill above the town is Casa Fuerte, where Com- 
mander Ricaurte, one of Bolivar's officers, became one of the 
greatest of all Venezuelan heroes. Even after the enemy had 
stormed the place and soldiers had crowded into it, he set 
fire to a pile of gunpowder, thus blowing them and himself 
into eternity, and his memory into immortality. At the foot 
of the hill just below Casa Fuerte is another historic landmark, 

[37] 



New Roads to Riches 

Ingenio Bolivar, the old sugar hacienda of the Liberator. In- 
genie, incidentally, is the name for a small sugar refinery, as 
distinguished from a trapche where ^a^elon is made. It was 
the slaves of this plantation that Bolivar freed the moment he 
began his fight for independence. 

As we left San Mateo the chauffeur's appetite asserted itself, 
and without so much as asking by our leave he drew up at a 
roadside cafe on the outskirts of the town. Jose suggested that 
we join him, and, realizing that to refuse would be to offend, 
I immediately squelched all thoughts of the questionable sani- 
tary environment. And how glad I am now that I did! Other- 
wise I might never have been introduced to that delicious 
corn cake known as are^a, and ^abellon^ the national dish of 
Venezuela. 

Take finely ground corn meal (the peasants make their own 
meal with a pestle and mortar, and I'm sure it's better), add 
salt, a little bacon grease, mix with water, roll into a ball the 
size of your fist and bake in an oven and serve hot with butter 
that's are<pa. 

And pabellon? Four dishes in one, of which carne pita is 
the principal one. Literally carne jrita is dried beef fried with 
peppers and other sauces. But before frying it the beef is torn 
into shreds. Pile a mound of plain steamed rice on your plate, 
cover it with carne jrita. Then add black beans that have been 
boiled almost to a paste and seasoned with a pinch of sugar 
and a little grease, and surround the whole with pieces of fried 
plantain. Served this way it is a-la-the-people. At La Vega, it 
would probably not be mixed up. Anyway, a dish of yabellon and 
a couple of arenas constitute a formidable enemy to hunger, or 
they did on this occasion. 

The territory along all this part of the road is, or was, 
Gomez country. Until his passing in 1937 hacienda after 
hacienda was the property of some member of the family or a 
satellite, and all of them showplaces. Some produced sugar 

[38] 



Venezuela 

cane, others coffee, while still others were cattle ranches. Dairy 
farms are still numerous all along the way and in front of 
every gate there are milk cans to be picked up by truck or bus 
and transported to the creamery at Maracay. 

For rural beauty, as well as rural industriousness, not even 
the Shenandoah Valley surpasses this portion of the Valencia 
Valley. The road sweeps along in graceful curves by these fincas 
and haciendas, every foot of it perfectly kept and even swept 
once a day. Portions of the road are assigned to peasants living 
along the way who contract to keep it clear of trash and debris. 
Nearly every mile of the road from the mountains to Maracay 
is completely arbored with the giant saman trees. On the hottest 
day you may roll along with the top of your car down, and the 
only sunshine that reaches you are the few polka dots that 
manage to spill through the thick foliage above. 

Just beyond Turmero, with its trim little plaza surrounded 
by houses and walls covered with bougainvillea, we stopped for 
a moment at the Saman de Guere, an ancient saman tree sur- 
rounded by a fence made of guns with fixed bayonets. It was 
under this tree that Bolivar used to pitch his tent when making 
his forays against the Spaniards up and down the valley. It is 
not only the Tree of War, hallowed by memories of the Libera- 
tor, but it is one of the oldest living things on the continent. 
Back in 1801 the great naturalist Humboldt said it was prob- 
ably ten thousand years old. 

And then Maracay, once a sleepy old colonial village which 
Gomez transformed into the trimmest, loveliest town in the 
country. Flower-filled plazas, with fountains and pagodas, and 
winding walks of colored tile, broad, spotless streets lined with 
white and yellow and pink Spanish colonial buildings. And 
then, there is El Jardin, the most picturesque hotel I ever saw 
outside of a picture book. Sprawling over an area as large as 
two city blocks, it is of Moorish architecture, surrounding an 
enormous fatio with swimming pools and playgrounds, open- 

[39] 



New Roads to Riches 

air bars and dining pavilions. All rooms open onto broad gal- 
leries or porches overlooking the court. 

To El Jardin in Gomez's time came all who had business or 
expected an audience with the dictator. In the evenings it was 
the gayest spot in Venezuela, jammed with high officials, diplo- 
mats, army officers, heads of oil companies and representatives 
of foreign business houses, a miniature League of Nations. In 
Maracay in those days were stationed the crack regiments of the 
army, the aviation corps and school, several troops of cavalry 
and the cavalry school. Each unit was provided with permanent 
barracks, enormous buildings of Spanish architecture, part of 
them fronting on the main plaza. 

The bull ring in Caracas is second rate by the side of the 
one in Maracay. Gomez was particularly fond of this Old- World 
sport and in his last years had erected in Maracay an exact 
replica of the historic ring of Seville. In addition he provided 
the bulls and paid fancy fees to bring fighters from Spain, 
Mexico and elsewhere for several months during the year. 

But without its creator Maracay is having a struggle to sur- 
vive. Already it is slipping back to the even tenor of colonial 
times. Grass and weeds are growing in some of the little parks 
and plazas, and many of the sumptuous houses are now closed 
and boarded up. The walls and ceilings of El Jardin are 
splotched with mildew, and cockroaches, forced to retire to 
outlying buildings in the heyday of the dictatorship, have, as 
in the Majestic Hotel in Caracas, reformed their lines and 
moved to the attack once more. 

But then in spite of a bustling agriculture and live-stock 
industry, and good roads, history and tradition are tremendous 
forces in the valley. The shores of Lake Valencia were the 
scenes of several successive Indian civilizations in pre-Spanish 
times. Moreover, they were Indians without any known con- 
nections with those of Peru, or many of the other Indian 
civilizations. Lacustrine dwellers, they lived in houses built on 

[40] 



Venezuela 

stilts over the edge of the lake. Doctor Requena, who, as al- 
ready mentioned, was long private secretary and physician to 
the general, divided his time between duties of state and archaeo- 
logical excavations on the shores of Valencia. He even turned 
part of his house, which stood next door to that of Gomez, into 
a museum. 

The city of Valencia is still what it was before Gomez. The 
metropolis of the valley, the stolid old colonial city, and 
capital of the state of Carabobo, named for the battlefield a 
few miles away from the city where Bolivar won a decisive 
victory over the Spaniards, Valencia is as conservative today 
as it was fifty years ago. Its 75,000 people live much as they 
have for half a century. The old colonial houses, with their in- 
evitable patios, grilled windows and doors, abut the narrow 
sidewalks of the correspondingly narrow streets. And their 
owners are a leisurely lot living on incomes from coffee, cacao y 
sugar cane and cotton farms scattered over the surrounding 
valley and hillsides. Its produce flows across the mountains 
and down the winding gorges to Puerto Cabello, by railroad 
and highway. Puerto Cabello, a seaport, is feverish with ac- 
tivity, where every day in the year ocean liners from Europe 
and the United States tie up, where cruise ships disgorge hun- 
dreds of tourists who drive up to Valencia and Maracay for 
the day. 

If I were writing a guide book I should not hesitate to say 
that for any one wishing a taste of the Andes, of rural Spanish 
America, or a painless bit of South American exploration, here 
is the place to find it. Disembark at La Guaira, visit Caracas, 
motor over the mountains, down through the valley by Maracay 
and Valencia and rejoin the ship at Puerto Cabello. Further- 
more, if I were in the business of boosting steamships and travel 
facilities, I should not find it difficult to grow enthusiastic 
about the delightful Santa ships of the Grace Line which re- 
cently began cruising the Caribbean and along Venezuelan and 

[41] 



New Roads to Riches 

Colombian shores. Not only because they open up to the trav- 
eller an entirely new region of tropical beauty and splendor, 
but because they have been built especially for the purpose, by 
means of governmental assistance, out of your and my tax 
money* 

They are not old ships, built for the cold north Atlantic, 
with heavy hangings, velvets and plushes and all enclosed 
decks, doing intermittent Caribbean cruises just to coin a few 
extra American dollars in the off-European season. In my fif- 
teen years of tropical travel I have suffered the discomforts of 
ships with galleys and dining-rooms three and four flights 
down, so that the smells of cabbage, onions, and steamy meat 
floated upward and saturated all the corridors and staterooms. 
The designers of such ships seem to have had a complex which 
made them feel that food was something you not only ought 
to live with every minute but that you had to "descend" to. 
No crowded tenement, with garlicky food smells filling every 
court, alley and hallway, was ever so unpleasant as the average 
smells of one of these old ships on a cruise in the tropics. 

I waited for fifteen years for somebody to build a ship with 
the dining-room on an upper deck, where one can sit in the 
fresh air and breeze and enjoy his food. And it has remained 
for an American line to do it. The Santa ships are tropical inno- 
vations. There are plenty of wide wind-swept decks, outside 
swimming pools, tables and chairs for refreshments. They have 
put their dining-rooms on the promenade decks, with great 
French windows all around, and a roof which opens up to the 
stars at night, so that the breezes sweep through no matter 
from which direction they come. In the Caribbean the trade 
winds always blow westwardly, but on these ships this makes no 
difference. Best of all the galley is above the dining-room 
and aft, so that the odors are whisked away from the ship 
almost before they are created. 

Anyway, the evolution of transportation and means of travel 

[42] 



Venezuela 

to and in the valley of Valencia, is one of the newest develop- 
ments in the conquest of the Andes from Indian paths to 
buggy trails, from railroads to paved highways, and modern 
ocean liners bringing remote and almost unknown cities and 
towns within easy reach of all the world. 



[43] 



IV 

Oil on the Waters 



ENEZUELAN civilization, like that of ancient Gaul, is divided 
roughly into three parts. In the central region are a few coastal 
towns and the valleys of Caracas and Valencia, with their his- 
tory, traditions and old culture, their bustling cities and sleepy, 
easy-going Spanish colonial towns, their old haciendas and busy 
fincas and the finest roads weaving in and out among them. To 
the east in the mountains bordering Brazil and British Guiana 
in the basin of the lower Orinoco River is "the fabulous Em- 
pire." In this region there are only a few scattered towns and 
some of the wildest and most inaccessible country in the hemi- 
sphere, where until now the only roads were the snakelike 
rivers and streams that weave their way across the high llanos 
and down through the jungles, and where, with but one or two 
exceptions, it is still impossible to travel except by airplane or on 
muleback. In the Maracaibo Bowl in the west, including a lake, 
or arm of the sea, seventy-five miles long and twenty miles 
wide, surrounded by high mountain walls, enough oil bubbles 
up out of the ground and the water, to make Venezuela one of 
the richest of all the Other Americas. 

Maracaibo, its principal city, a little world all by itself, is 
almost completely isolated from the rest of the country. 
Here old Spanish atmosphere and customs must compete with 
the onrush of modern business and industry. The city and sur- 

[44] 



Venezuela 

roundings present striking contrasts. An old town of narrow 
streets and latticed windows, a new town where oil companies 
have their own sumptuous homes, hotels, club houses and thea- 
tres j an old town of colorful shops and fruit stands and a new 
town where night clubs, dance halls and saloons run full tilt, 
from sunset to early morning. 

It is midnight in the old Trujillo Bar. A spavined orchestra 
blares and toots. Many races and nationalities are packed into 
the place. It is a sort of strangers' club for roving romeos 
and roustabouts- brown, black and white. In the old days 
they fought, stabbed and carved each other just for the fun 
of it. But the carving days are over. And now they make only 
mild whoopee. They dance, drink and spoon in automobiles 
parked in vacant lots. 

Ten minutes by plane from Maracaibo and you are over the 
Goajira country, the land of still primitive tribes of red men 
who are among the hardiest and bravest in Venezuela. The 
fierce old Spanish conquerors were never able to defeat them or 
subdue them. They could never even force their way across the 
Goajira peninsula, that narrow tongue of land that juts out into 
the Caribbean west of Maracaibo Lake. Here the Goajiros still 
live, unmolested, and almost uninfluenced by the white man. 

Magnificent specimens of manhood they are big-muscled, 
clear-eyed, fearless. From an airplane you see them here and 
there, their greasy, brown bodies glistening in the sun. Their 
scorched villages of palm shelters stand out against the eternal 
green of the jungle. In the tiny clearings half-wild cattle and 
horses scamper to cover as the roaring demon of the heavens 
passes over. 

Only a few of these children of the wilds have ever been 
out to see the white man's world and doings. But one old chief, 
El Torito, the little bull, is famous beyond the bush. He is their 
mouthpiece and ambassador to the palefaces. Also a good 
angel and protector to any souls who feel brave enough to go 

[45] 



New Roads to Riches 

excursioning into their land. A powerful personage, too, with 
numerous families, one for every quarter of the compass. When 
El Torito chooses to travel it isn't necessary to cart a family 
along. He finds a different one wherever he goes, in every 
pueblo, so to speak. 

Primitive though they are, according to our lights, the ways 
of the Goajiros are very strict. There is honor among them. 
They respect each other's property, and each other's rights, 
not to mention each other's families. Anna May McGrath, who, 
with her brother, Doctor Jim Tong, recently led an expedition 
among the Goajiros, says they are models of integrity and 
practical living. That is, if you are a Goajiro. They even have 
their own ideas of such things as health and sanitation. 

For instance, they have never heard of members of that 
vast army of radio stars who lead the campaign for the care 
and culture of teeth. Yet like ourselves they brush their teeth 
regularly, not to say heroically. After eating a formidable half- 
cooked chunk of beef, the Goajiro sits down by the side of the 
stream, wets his forefinger, dips it in clear white sand, and 
massages his teeth and gums. 

From this fantastic region, this jumble of wildmen, Broad- 
way whoopee and old Spanish traditions, comes the wealth that 
has made a vast country with scarcely four million people- 
divided up between the progressive and cultured upper class, 
a couple of million mestizos, the countless tribes of Indians 
who inhabit the back areas, not to mention thousands of Sam- 
bos, an Indian and African mixture, in the coastal towns and 
villages- one of the richest and in some ways the most up-to- 
date of the Andean republics. Out of the income from oil, and 
up to now it was the oil of Maracaibo, they have built the high- 
ways, seaports, and kept the country out of debt for the last 
decade in spite of the fact that 90 per cent of the industry is 
in the hands of foreigners. 

"The best governed oil country in the world," foreigners 

[46] 



O 



o 



03 




Venezuela 

used to insist. "Oil laws that permit you to live and let live. 
Oil laws designed to benefit the producer, the government and 
the country." And why not? In the first place the oil men them- 
selves helped to fashion the laws, which, after more than fifteen 
years have undergone few material changes. Back in 1921, soon 
after the first oil spouted up on the shore of Lake Maracaibo, an 
oil law was written by Doctor Pedro Manuel Arcaya, known 
as "the Venezuelan law-giver of the twenties." A superb rhet- 
orician, and one of the finest legal minds in South America, as 
well as one of the most prolific of authors, if Doctor Arcaya was 
asked to write a law on taxes he turned it out in two days. If 
asked to draft a law on pearl-fishing he handed it in next morn- 
ing. And his oil law was prepared with the same speed and 
finesse. It was a perfect piece of writing and a model legal docu- 
ment. But under it no foreign capital would come into the 
country, and so developments in the oil industry made prac- 
tically no headway. 

"Why," Doctor Arcaya asked a prominent American oil 
man, "does your company refuse to make any advances?" 

Whereupon the Yankee who had long looked with covetous 
eyes upon the deposits of black gold which awaited only his 
command to be turned into fortunes, proceeded to explain his 
viewpoint of the question. "Doctor Arcaya," this gentleman 
told me recently, "was amazed at the conditions which his law 
would produce, the prohibitive cost of exploration and produc- 
tion. Finally he said, c l never realized the mathematics of it.' " 

Anyway, in early 1922 Doctor Rafael Requena, then private 
secretary to Gomez, went to the oil men and said, "Benemerito 
General would like to have the oil men, those representing the 
leading companiesBritish, American and native sit down with 
his officials and map out a set of laws. The General realizes if 
all hands plan the law it ought to be fair to all concerned, to 
themseves and to the country. You see," he went on, "you 
would naturally suggest a law fair to the country because you 

[47] 



New Roads to Riches 

will have to live with us after it is made. It will be fair to all 
of you because each of you will see to it that no one gets more 
advantages than the other." 

In June, 1922, this meeting took place. Within three weeks 
the law was perfected. It was immediately passed by the Con- 
gress and promulgated, and early in December the first big 
well was brought ina 9O,ooo-barrel well, which was the be- 
ginning of large-scale oil production in Venezuela. 

In the very first year after the new law went into effect the 
Maracaibo region produced 2,398,000 barrels of crude oil, and 
in 1937 the total was 186,855,727, or 511,933 barrels a day. 
Continuing along the primrose path of the statistician, up to 
and including the year 1937, 1,495,472,000 barrels of the prod- 
uct had been pumped, shipped, refined and used up by auto- 
mobiles, steamers, airplanes and clothes-pressing establish- 
ments throughout the world. 

And lest some otherwise unoccupied oil man or interested 
party should venture to read this far, and be disappointed be- 
cause the particulars of the Venezuelan oil laws are not given, 
I hereby submit the chief features of them for his or their edi- 
fication. 

First of all, exploration concessions, that is, areas of land upon 
which you may go exploring for evidences of oil, are each 
limited to 10,000 hectares, or 38.61 square miles. And the total 
of these concessions which any one company may acquire is 
limited to 300,000 hectares, or 1158.3 square miles. Such con- 
cessions run for forty years. After that, even though oil has been 
produced on them, they revert to the government. A period of 
three years is allowed for exploration work, with an additional 
time, up to four and a half years, by special permission. At the 
end of the period of exploration the entire acreage must be 
divided up into lots of 500 hectares, or 1235 acres, of which the 
company may select half, any half it desires, while the remain- 
ing hali of the lots must revert to the government as national 

[48] 



Venezuela 

reserves. Incidentally, the government may in turn grant con- 
cessions on national reserves* 

Originally the concessionaire had to pay to the government 
ten centimes of a bolivar for each hectare granted it, about a 
cent and a quarter an acre. This has been recently increased to 
an average of about a dollar and twenty cents an acre, subject 
to special agreements. In other words, this tax may be called 
an acquisition tax, or lease tax. Then comes the exploration tax. 
That is, when you begin to explore there is an initial tax which 
must be paid at once of two bolivars per hectare or twenty-five 
cents an acre, indicating, of course, that after you start explora- 
tion the concession is worth more. In addition to this there is a 
surplus tax of fifty-one cents per acre per year for the first three 
years, which is increased to nearly sixty-four cents per acre for 
the next twenty-seven years. For the remaining ten years the 
tax amounts to a little over a dollar per acre per annum. 

The companies are beginning to complain about these par- 
ticular taxes. They say that these charges, when added to the 
export taxes, which will be discussed in a moment, hastens the 
end of profitable production. Moreover, they say that, since the 
companies and the government are really partners, anything 
that shortens the productive period will be harmful to both. 

So far we have discussed only the initial charges on leases or 
concessions, and the taxes levied during the period of explora- 
tion. When the production begins, export tariffs as well as other 
taxes and restrictions are imposed. 

To begin with, oil companies must pay fifteen per cent in cash 
of the commercial value of all oil extracted five per cent more 
than was paid in the days of Gomez. Concessions covered by 
navigable waters get a reduction of twenty-five per cent on 
royalties. These laws have worked to the great advantage of 
the Venezuelan government. When oil was selling for ten cents 
a barrel in the United States, the Venezuelan government was 
getting fifty-nine cents a barrel in royalties. Under certain con- 

[49] 



New Roads to Riches 

ditions, however, the government has the option of taking its 
royalties in kind. 

Oil lands in Venezuela seem to be limitless. So far they have 
scarcely been tapped. There are numbers of scattered wells 
in the Maracaibo Basin but most of them have been drilled 
along the western edge of Lake Maracaibo, within a narrow 
strip of territory forty-three and a half miles long and nine miles 
wide, four of it on the shore and the other five out in the water. 
In this area there are six different fields bearing picturesque 
and delectable names Ambrosio, La Rosa, Punta Benitez, Tia 
Juana, Lagunillas and Bachaquero. As this is written the daily 
average production of the three leading companies is 257,000 
barrels for the Standard, 191,500 for Shell and 57>4-OO for the 
Gulf. 

The wells of the Standard Oil Company are all in the lake, 
the derricks standing forty to fifty feet deep in water. As one 
official puts it, "We are entirely a marine operation, our oil 
upon the waters, so to speak." 

Although the big companies have been transporting their 
crude product to the great refineries on the Dutch Islands of 
Curagao and Aruba, just off the Venezuelan coast, the govern- 
ment is now demanding that a number of refineries be built 
within the country, thus bringing the industry and all its opera- 
tions more and more within the jurisdiction of the Venezuelan 
government. All of which indicates that the lot of the foreign 
oil operator in Venezuela is not exactly a bed of roses. He makes 
money if prices are good, but if prices are bad, he at least makes 
less money. 

The old charge about "exploitation of the workers" cannot 
be aimed too directly at the oil industry, or any other large 
foreign enterprise, in Venezuela. Venezuela's social and labor 
laws are already among the most advanced in the entire hemi- 
sphere. They provide for minimum wages, an eight-hour day, 
and collective bargaining. The duration of work for both labor- 

[50] 



Venezuela 

ers and salaried workers is forty-eight hours a week for both 
sexes. For office employees this period is only forty-four hours 
a week. The lowliest unskilled worker in the oil fields must 
receive not less than the equivalent of $2.50 in American 
money, for eight hours 3 work. The average actually is paid over 
$3 a day, while the pay for skilled white-collar and all other 
workers ranges still higher. Compare these wages with the aver- 
age pay of government employees. For instance, a laborer on 
the highways receives an average of $1.60 per day. The daily 
wage of a bus driver is around $3.50, while a policeman gets 
only a little over $3 a day plus his uniform. 

At least seventy-five per cent of all salaried employees and 
laborers must be Venezuelan citizens, while the positions of 
superintendents and all employees in immediate contact with 
the workers must be filled by natives. Besides, if a man has 
worked with the same concern for a year, he cannot be dis- 
charged without being given a month's notice in advance. 

New provisions of the laws provide for compulsory profit- 
sharing by employers with employees "in the proportion," so 
the statute reads, "to be established by the Federal executive, 
or the President, after consultation with commissions which are 
to be created for .this purpose." 

It can be said for the oil companies that they not only live 
up to all the provisions of the laws now in force, but in addition 
provide the workman with many other advantages. They fur- 
nish him with free housing, free water, free electric lights, 
medical and dental care and all the health improvements with 
which the company can surround him. They also provide free 
schools and teachers for his children, as well as churches. In 
some cases they even pay the padres so that weddings, funerals 
and other church benefits cost him nothing. Last year one 
American company spent more than three million dollars in 
welfare work alone. 

Unlike Mexico, Venezuela is comparatively free of power- 

[51] 



New Roads to Riches 

ful political or labor agitators. The government, although un- 
usually democratic in inclination and operation, has been able to 
secure the passage of national safety laws, under which it is 
legally possible to restrict agitators. Nevertheless, like any other 
political organization, it is sensitive to the wishes and tendencies 
of labor. And, although I have pointed out that the oil com- 
panies pay the best wages in the country and have spent mil- 
lions to provide their workmen with the best living conditions 
that exist in the republic, labor leaders are not to be satisfied. 
They will continue to ask for more and more concessions. 

Some oil men in the country are already becoming jittery. 
In view of the expropriation or confiscation, as they call it, of 
the entire oil industry by the government of Mexico, every one 
is asking himself, "Is Venezuela next?" Indeed, an entirely 
new set of laws., all more drastic than those in effect, are in the 



There is no doubt in my mind that as the years roll by 
foreigners will meet with increasing restrictions. In fact, I am 
fully confident that eventually the present happy arrangement 
will be only a memory. Because, as everywhere else on the 
continent, nationalism is growing by leaps and bounds and any 
government, no matter how conservatively inclined, will be 
compelled to squeeze big business, especially if it is foreign big 
business, or take the lonely road to political limbo. If I owned 
a large mining or metallurgical industry in any country south 
of the Rio Grande, I would think of ways and means either to 
dispose of it profitably or to put at least part of it into the 
hands of natives within the next ten years. 

However, many believe that there is no likelihood of the 
present government of General Eleazar Lopez Contreras fol- 
lowing in the footsteps of Mexico. They feel that his long 
association with Gomez and his intimate familiarity with the oil 
industry, its beginnings and development, as well as his appre- 
ciation of the value to the country of businesslike operations, 

[52] 



Venezuela 

are all a guarantee that lie will continue to favor private opera- 
tion in preference to government operation. 

And the President is a man of outstanding ability and ex- 
perience. He began as an old-time revolutionist, having come 
down from the state of Tachira in the Andes near the Colom- 
bian border thirty years ago as an associate of Cipriano Castro 
and Juan Vicente Gomez. A hard worker, he took advantage 
of every opportunity to fit himself for public duty. And unlike 
most of the other Gomez lieutenants, he even went to school 
in his spare time. Having applied himself in the schools of 
Caracas, "the General" sent him to the Military Academy in 
Paris. History is one of his hobbies, and in the course of a busy 
life, he has found time to write several volumes dealing with 
Venezuelan events and personalities. 

He shared military responsibility in the long rule of Gomez, 
having risen from private to general and minister of war. 
According to many influential Venezuelans he was actually the 
choice of the old dictator to carry on after the latter's death. 
Anyway, he was the only man able to control the situation once 
Gomez had breathed his last. 

He looks every inch a quiet college professor. When I met 
him I could not believe that a man with his thin, sharp features, 
his dark eyes with the completely detached look in them, could 
be a soldier and strong man. He is tall and slim, so slirn that 
he actually seems frail and anemic. But a man who has lived 
the strenuous life he has lived, and still lives, has to have iron 
nerves and an unbreakable constitution, 

In spite of his long military career, he is the most democratic 
of men, simple and unassuming. Contrary to Spanish-American 
custom he doesn't surround himself with a phalanx of officers 
in gold braid and shiny swords. Four policemen guard the 
gates of his home in Paraiso, and a couple of aides sit on the 
front porch. Inside, he usually greets his callers himself, and 
invites them into a small library to talk. 

[53] 



New Roads to Riches 

He has not abolished all the Gomez ideas, but he has de- 
parted radically from the Gomez methods. The Congress is no 
puppet congress, and although he does not kowtow to it in the 
slightest, he does not encroach upon its prerogatives. The legis- 
lative and judicial branches of the government at the present 
time act with complete independence, but the executive depart- 
ment keeps a firm hand on all the agencies of law and order. 
Today there is probably more democracy in Venezuela than has 
existed for fifty years. 

"We have accomplished something already," he told me 
recently. "What we have accomplished so far has been prin- 
cipally in the betterment of the morale of the people. As citizens 
we now understand better our relationships one with another, 
as well as our public duty. On the government's side officials 
today are administering their offices for the public and not for 
the private good." 

Replying to a direct question about the status of foreign 
capital and the effects of Mexico's recent actions, he said, "I 
believe we have the right idea about nationalism. That is, 
we appreciate that proper guarantees ought to be accorded 
foreign capital and investments, as long as those who administer 
them think not only of their own welfare but the welfare of 
the country as well. There have been some small difficulties 
with the oil companies, mainly in the improper procedure and 
formalities respecting regulation. However, the government 
wants to have only a moderate equity for its rights. In other 
words, where properties in the past have been procured or 
administered improperly, if the companies and the government 
cannot arrive at a mutual understanding, then the government 
will insist that the matter be handled through the regular legal 
processes. 

"Those extreme situations," he went on, "that have come 
about in other countries have been due quite often, I believe, 
to improper manipulations between the officers of the com- 
panies and the officers of the government. We are proceeding 

[54] 



Venezuela 

carefully and meticulously so that there will be no excuse for 
such situations arising in this country." 

On the subject of alien influences Fascism or Communism 
President Contreras believes "There is little possibility of ex- 
treme radicalism or other foreign ideologies taking root here. 
We have lived a long time without any consideration of such 
doctrines, and consequently the people do not take any interest 
in them. The people here really believe in the Bolivarian idea 
of democracy, and we are going to promote this idea. From 
the richest to the poorest there are no foreign ideas about politics. 
When there have been demonstrations against government in 
this country they have merely been against local governors 
and were not due to foreign influences behind them. 

"We have the best intentions," he concluded, "to promote 
sound ideas in the nation." 

But Contreras is not content with properly administering 
the present laws of the land and keeping the social structure 
of the nation on an even keel. He insists upon moving forward. 
In fact, he has already embarked upon a great program of 
improvements, "a three-year plan." The program calls for an 
increase in production, especially foods and other necessities of 
life, so as to reduce the cost of living. To do this, agriculture 
and stock-raising are being encouraged, more funds made avail- 
able through the labor and industrial banks to help people build 
homes, buy land and become farmers. Even bounties are to be 
paid on increased production of certain products. So far no 
plans have been made for the lowering of tariffs, which would 
contribute to cutting down prices. In the matter of imports 
the United States has a reciprocal trade agreement with Vene- 
zuela which has worked to our advantage. 

Since the country is underpopulated, so that there is a 
shortage of labor, as well as a shortage of production, new 
immigration and colonization laws are being planned, but with 
safeguards against the influx of "undesirables, extremists and 
trouble-makers." Only people who are willing to go on the 

[55] 



New Roads to Riches 

land will find a hearty welcome* Even the newcomer must be 
able to support himself for a time after his arrival in the 
country. Today no country in the hemisphere is more difficult 
to get into, whether you are an immigrant intending to make 
it your home, a business man trying to sell goods, or a mere 
tourist- travelling alone. 

Under the general heading of health, education and popu- 
lation are many specific projects. Syphilitics who are warned 
by the signs on the La Guaira-Caracas road, to "cure them- 
selves" will not be left without facilities for the purpose. Health 
centers and dispensaries for the treatment of all diseases are 
being established throughout the nation. General and maternity 
hospitals are to be erected and maintained at strategic centers, 
especially in the larger cities. But more attention is being given 
those conditions and improvements which will prevent the 
spreading of disease and ill health, such as sewage disposal 
plants and modern water works in the cities, towns and villages. 

Three hundred modern new public schools are already being 
constructed in populous centers, while in the future others are 
to be provided for the remoter communities. Meanwhile, school 
trailers are to visit the out-of-the-way places and provide lim- 
ited instruction until more ample facilities can be provided. 
Hydro-electric expansion is provided for as well as an increase 
in the postal, telephone and air communications. Highway con- 
struction is to continue at full speed. Besides the completion of 
the port works at La Guaira and Puerto Cabello, the sandbar 
at the mouth of Lake Maracaibo is to be dredged and a port 
constructed so that regular ocean liners may call at South 
America's richest oil metropolis. 

"In other words," say Venezuelan business men, "if the oil 
wells continue to flow and the money holds out, we will become 
in the near future the most modernized and up-to-date nation 
on the continent." 



[56] 



V 

Record of the Rehabilitator 



JL HAVE made continual reference to General Gomez. And 
this is as it should be. The story of modern Venezuela up to 
the present moment is the story of the old Dictator, who, 
until July 17, 1937, was absolute ruler, not to say owner of 
the country. Whatever progress there was in the past quarter 
of a century was due solely to his will and efforts, because he 
was the Government and the Law. Nothing was done without 
his consent, and everything done was the result of his initiative. 

Gomez was the most interesting personality I have ever 
met in South America. I saw him the last time in 1932. It was 
high noon, and as usual he was in the front yard at Las 
Delidas, a favorite little farmhouse just outside of Maracay, 
transacting government and private business in the most in- 
formal manner. Dressed in the khaki uniform of a general, 
high shiny boots and Panama hat, he was seated in a large 
wicker chair, with his old companion and secretary, Doctor 
Rafael Requena, master of ceremonies. 

Diplomatic protocol played very little part at these meet- 
ings, which were usually very brief. In rapid succession cabinet 
ministers, the representatives of foreign governments and other 
officials came up, spoke briefly and retired. The affairs of state 
concluded, private individuals, foreigners and natives, were 

received. r n 

[57] 



New Roads to Riches 

On this occasion one of the Yankees having business with 
the General was H, T. Harden, connected with a New York 
firm with large interests in Venezuela. When Harden was 
presented he addressed the General in fluent Spanish, which 
not only won him immediate favor but inspired a characteristic 
gesture upon the part of the old Dictator. In response to a nod 
from Doctor Requena, a soldier led up a somewhat non- 
descript mule. At the same time an officer advanced and began 
recounting the animaPs qualities and virtues. In true Latin 
fashion he told of the origin and pedigree of the lazy, indif- 
ferent creature, which he had evidently been commissioned to 
purchase. 

Gomez listened patiently and when the speaker had finished, 
turned to his guest and said, "What think you, Senor, of this 
mule?" 

Somewhat surprised at the question, but quite sure of his 
ground, Harden replied, "Well, I should say the mule seems 
to be underweight. It is not suitable for heavy work, and 
certainly not to be ridden," 

"Do you hear what the gentleman says?" the Dictator asked 
the officer, indicating that he was impressed by the visitor's 
remarks. 

"But, sir," argued the officer, attempting to defend his 
position, "the gentleman is not acquainted with the mules of 
our country. He is comparing this one with the large, heavy 
mules of the United States!" 

"I lived for many years in Spain and Argentina," countered 
Harden, "as an engineer and road builder. I used to buy and 
sell mules in Mexico. And I am thinking of the mules I have 
bought in those countries." 

Recognizing the weight of expert opinion, the Dictator 
impatiently motioned the officer and soldier away with their 
charge. Such was the manner in which Gomez blended public 
and private business. He would have agreed with that classic 

[58] 



Venezuela 

Coolidge phrase, "the business of government is business. 33 
Literally and figuratively he brought it right down to earth, too. 
In fact, the earth was a controlling factor in his life. Although 
a soldier and the powerful head of a nation, he kept himself 
and politics close to the soil. For he was first and foremost a 
rancher and farmer, in his time one of the richest ranchers and 
farmers in the world. It is quite probable he himself did not 
know the extent of his own private wealth and properties. 
Among his personal possessions were a dozen farms, plantations 
and ranches, and 600,000 head of cattle, 10,000 of them milk 
cows. He produced coffee, cotton, corn, wheat, sugar cane and 
many other products, all on a big scale. And on his various 
estates and properties 20,000 people were employed. 

In Caracas, the doors of the old presidential palace of Mira- 
flores were seldom opened. In fact he spent very little time in 
Caracas. In order to be close to nature and the great outdoors, 
he lived in Maracay, in a two-hundred-year-old one-story 
Spanish colonial house with a leaky roof which still stands 
undisturbed on the plaza diagonally across the street from the 
old village church. 

In addition to all his public responsibilities he personally 
directed all his own properties and activities. He actually 
worked and worked hard, at the business of farming. He even 
found poetry in the thought of cultivating the soil. For on a 
bulletin board at Las Delicias I read this favorite Gomez 
maxim: "The earth weeps when it is left idle, but rewards in 
gold the sweat of the brow. 33 

At the age of seventy-six he put in more hours of work 
every day than most men of half that age. This I learned on 
my first visit to Maracay. Besides I learned it very early on 
the first morning. I was sleeping soundly in the Hotel Jardm, 
when a bugle split the quiet morning air. I leaped out of bed. 
Just then another blared in the distance, quickly followed by 
a third which seemed to be right in the building. Light began 

[59] 



New Roads to Riches 

bursting out of windows in every direction. There was the 
sound of tramping feet on the pavement. The local brigade of 
the national army was hurrying to reveille. It was five o'clock 
and the day began in the valley of Valencia at five. 

Gomez himself not only rose at five every morning, but, 
after a cup of steaming black coffee, he and Doctor Requena 
went over important mail and state papers. At seven-thirty 
they went out for an automobile ride. After three quarters of 
an hour, their lungs full of fresh morning air, they returned 
to a simple, frugal breakfast and another two solid hours of 
work. By ten-thirty, they were off to the country again to 
spend another hour or so inspecting some farm or dairy before 
beginning the accustomed midday reception of officials and 
visitors under the trees at Las Delicias. 

At two o'clock he was back in Maracay ready for the daily 
siesta from two to four. Then another two hours' work, a drive 
into the country, to one of his farms or ranches, or to the 
Maracay Club to sit for an hour or so with his family, officials 
and visitors, in the shade of a giant tree which stands in the 
front yard. Dinner was at seven, and the movies at eight. He 
attended the movies almost every night and insisted that all the 
official household and their families go along with him. But 
at ten o'clock all was quiet in the square around Casa Gomez. 
By that time the General was already deep in slumber. 

Si^ch was the routine day in and day out. And as lived the 
General, so lived the nation. Regularity, efficiency, thorough- 
ness. He tolerated no idleness, no slovenly activity among 
those around him. 

Gomez was never outside of Venezuela, yet his own business 
enterprises and the affairs of the nation were conducted accord- 
ing to the most modern methods. He sent scouts all over the 
world to study the latest developments in agriculture, engi- 
neering and industry, and bring him their reactions. Visitors 
like H. T. Harden who came to see him on business were 

[60] 



. Venezuela 

usually plied with questions on all sorts of subjects. Those 
who came to interview him always found themselves being 
interviewed. He was as likely to ask a total stranger his opinion 
on Venezuelan road building or sheep-shearing, as he was his 
own experts in charge of these jobs. 

Gomez was a mestizo, Indian and Spanish half-breed, born 
in the Andes. His beginnings were not only humble but hard. 
His family was poor, and at a very early age he was shouldered 
with the responsibility of taking care of brothers, sisters, aunts 
and uncles. Gomez himself never went to school and had al- 
ready reached middle life before he learned to write his own 
name. These facts he never allowed himself to forget, and that 
others might know them he erected along that tree-shaded 
road on the way to Las Delicias, an exact replica of Quinta La 
Mulera, the old house in which he was born thatched roof, 
home-made furniture and all. He passed by it every day in the 
week and often dropped in unannounced. 

Early in life he joined the local militia, and became asso- 
ciated with the notorious old revolutionist, Cipriano Castro, 
who eventually gained power and proved to be one of the 
worst tyrants in Venezuelan history. He repudiated the foreign 
debts, causing other nations to make demands and threats of 
blockades. President Theodore Roosevelt once had to warn 
Germany that the United States would not permit any such 
tactics. Finally Gomez deported Castro, sent him out of the 
country and himself took the government in hand. 

He turned the nation into a feudal estate. His government 
was entirely personal. No official or important businessman of 
the nation ever left the country on business or pleasure without 
reporting personally to him before leaving and upon his return. 
Every official of the government not only had to run the 
nation's business with meticulous efficiency but had to take care 
of his family, his wife, his children, or his woman and their 
offspring. 

[61] 



New Roads to Riches 

There was the case of Victoria, mistress of one of Gomez's 
old friends, the Jefe Civil, in his old home town. The two had 
lived together for forty years* Victoria had slaved for him, 
borne a dozen children, grown fat and wrinkled* The Jefe 
Civil had become rich, the ruler of his community, and so he 
decided to marry an eighteen-year-old girl. Victoria went to see 
Gomez, told him the situation. Gomez advised her to leave the 
matter to him. She went away, and the General waited for his 
old friend to come and announce his plans. He finally came* 
"Benemerito," said the Jefe, "I have come to announce that I 
am going to get married." 

"Fine," said the General, "I congratulate you. You should 
have done so before now. Victoria has been faithful to you and 
deserves this final recognition from you. I shall come to the 
wedding myself and be best man." 

Gomez himself was never married, but he made the nation 
acknowledge his women and their children. Although there 
are many rumors to the contrary, he lived openly with only two 
women during his long rule of Venezuela. The first was a 
French woman who, when their children were grown up, be- 
came too domineering and bossy to suit the Dictator. So he gave 
her money and sent her back to France. He made one of their 
sons Vice-President but the offspring proved to be a public 
nuisance, and Gomez expelled him from the country. 

The other woman bore him a large family and remained 
by his side until his death. That he had scores of children by 
other women has been rumored, and no doubt it was true. But 
he would not have thought this immoral. For he was personally 
unmoral, not immoral. Yet no man ever treated more gallantly 
and circumspectly the wives, daughters and womenfolk of his 
hundreds of officials and associates. Any one who ever met the 
wife and charming daughters of Doctor Requena, who oc- 
cupied the house joining that of Gomez in Maracay, would 
know that. 

[62] 



Venezuela 

Gomez had hordes of enemies. Many of them tried to over- 
throw him, but they never got to first base in their efforts. In 
his early days he jailed such people or shot them. In his later 
years he deported them. Toward the last he was capable of 
clever, not to say humorous treatment of those who attempted 
to displace him. 

Two hundred men, under the leadership of an old revolu- 
tionist by the name of Rafael Simon Urbina, set sail one dark 
night from Willemstad on the Caribbean Island of Curagao 
for the Venezuelan coast. Most of the rank and file, as well as 
all the officers, were Mexicans of long experience in the great 
game of revolution. Several of them had fled from Mexico 
following the failure of a revolutionary plot against their own 
government. Months had been spent in planning the expedi- 
tion. Immediately upon landing, thousands of Venezuelans were 
to rise in revolt against the Gomez dictatorship. 

As the ship approached the village of La Vela on a sparsely 
inhabited section of the coast near Coro, on the eastern side 
of the Paraguana Peninsula, lights were sighted on shore in- 
dicating that the friendly forces were on hand to meet them. 
But no sooner had the bulk of the expedition reached land than 
they were surrounded by Gomez troops and taken into custody. 
Instead of negotiating with friends in Willemstad the leader 
of the expedition had unsuspectingly negotiated with Gomez 
spies. 

The cautious Urbina, however, had not gone along with the 
vanguard of his forces, so that upon learning the sad news he 
easily escaped. The unfortunate Mexicans were immediately 
taken to jail to await trial and execution. While they languished 
in prison they contemplated with horror the punishment which 
would eventually be meted out to them. Finally, a day came 
when they were told to make ready for a long trip, which they 
felt sure would be a trip to some other horrible prison or before 
a Gomez firing squad. Early in the morning they were called, 

[6 3 ] 



New Roads to Riches 

loaded into large buses and driven into the countryside. The 
polite officers informed them that before the final disposition 
of their case the government wished them to see something of 
the orderliness and beauty of Venezuelan rural life, the fine 
roads, the splendid farms and haciendas. All of which they 
realized was just another form of cruelty designed to make 
them suffer mentally as well as physically. At noontime they 
reached the city of Caracas, and were taken to the magnificent 
Moorish Pabellon (the famous Paraiso restaurant) where a band 
was playing and a sumptuous banquet had been arranged. They 
were told to seat themselves at the long tables and make ready 
for the feast. One more evidence, they realized, of the tan- 
talizing terror of the Dictator. 

Presently a group of official cars drove up bringing high 
government and military officials. In one of the cars was none 
other than Gomez himself , the official party proceeded to the 
head of the main table and sat down. Word was passed along 
that every one should proceed with his meal. But scarcely one 
of the unfortunate men had any appetite. As they gazed upon 
the man who was to pronounce their doom, their hearts sank 
within them. They were sure that the cynical smile on his face 
suggested a sadistic cruelty and enjoyment of the sufferings 
of others. 

The meal over, an orator representing Gomez arose and 
began to speak, "Gentlemen," he said, "you have committed a 
grave offense. You have invaded a peaceful country with the 
intention of creating disturbance. We marvel, however, at your 
being so simple and trusting as to follow the leadership of a 
professional trouble maker. So what could you expect of us 
under the circumstances? Naturally you must have expected to 
be punished for such a grave offense. 

"You are now about to begin a long journey," he told them. 
"But before you begin that journey we want you to see with 
your own eyes the actual conditions of the country whose 




On the Road to Maracay 



Venezuela 

misery and unhappiness your leader no doubt so vividly de- 
scribed to you. Therefore, we have taken you on a tour of the 
countryside this morning. And here we have served you with 
a sumptuous meal which we hope you have enjoyed. This 
afternoon you are to be taken on a tour of our historic capital 
city. You will be shown our treasured monuments, our fine build- 
ings, and public institutions, our schools. You will be taken on 
a visit to the Pantheon, the burial place of Venezuela's noble 
dead, and the tomb of the great Liberator Simon Bolivar." 

Their heartstrings strained to the breaking point, they con- 
templated with increasing horror the terrible fate which they 
must meet. They were almost unconscious with terror. And 
then the orator finished his speech. "At the close of the day," 
he said, in what seemed to the unfortunate victims a gloating 
manner, "you are to be taken down to the coast where your 
ship, the same ship on which you arrived, is waiting to take 
you back across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to your 
native land, where we hope you will be happy." 

In the quarter of a century he was ruler of Venezuela, 
Gomez transformed the nation socially and industrially, if not 
politically. Through careful experiments and crossbreeding, 
he developed an entirely new type of cattle that thrives in the 
torrid climate of this tropical country. Many people think 
that the hot, damp tropics are not suitable for the raising of 
good milk cows and especially first-class beef cattle. I have 
heard such opinions expressed by people in our own south- 
eastern states Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Although 
Venezuela lies in the very heart of the tropics, Gomez proved 
that climate is no obstacle to successful scientific cattle raising. 
Two decades of intensive experimenting on his estates produced 
a type of animal that not only stands the heat perfectly, but 
furnishes a quality of beef second to none and produces milk 
on a scale equal to the best milk cows in the United States. 

First, he imported cattle from England, Holland, and the 

[65] 



New Roads to Riches 

United StatesHeref ords, Holsteins, Jerseys, and many others. 
After a time it was found that, although the Herefords were 
among the finest of beef cattle they did not stand the heat. 
The Holsteins were milk producers but they did not thrive 
in the terrible tropic sunshine. Then he conceived the idea of 
crossing the Holstein with the East Indian zebu, the sacred 
cow of the Hindus. 

The Holsteins being good milk producers and the zebu not 
only a native of the Far Eastern tropics, and therefore accus- 
tomed to the hottest climate in the world, but a good meat 
producer as well, the combination produced splendid results. 

But first the feeding problem had to be solved. Native 
grasses were found to be very poor for grazing purposes. And 
it was necessary to experiment with grasses and grains that 
would not only be suitable for the new breed of cattle, but that 
could be produced easily in the country. He imported dozens 
of varieties of plants from everywhere. Some grew well and 
others did not. Among the plants that did thrive were alfalfa 
and soya beans from the United States, Sudan grass from Cen- 
tral America, and Para grass from Brazil. Thus the feeding 
problem was solved. 

Henry Ford once advanced the theory that agriculture and 
industry ought to be more closely allied, that farms ought to 
surround factories, thus carrying diversification to its ultimate 
conclusion. Gomez put this idea into practice in Venezuela 
nearly twenty years ago. He turned most of the raw materials 
produced on his own plantations into finished products on the 
ground in his own small factories and plants. He had his own 
slaughterhouses and dairies with facilities for distribution of 
meats, butter, and milk products in the cities. He had cotton 
mills that converted the native cotton that grows around Lake 
Valencia into everything from towels to fancy dress goods. 

While Gomez carried on all these activities as strictly busi- 
ness propositions he was not unmindful of their importance as 

[66] 



Venezuela 

examples to the nation. Why shouldn't his own people know 
how to do all these things at home? Why shouldn't the labor- 
ing class become accustomed to modern methods of industry? 

When he built his first cotton mill he had to import textile 
workers, for Venezuelans knew nothing whatever about ma- 
chinery. So, he went to Catalonia, the textile center of Spain, 
for his laborers, because they spoke Spanish and his own people 
could understand them. But beside every Catalonian he put a 
Venezuelan to learn how to handle the spindles and looms* 
Eventually Venezuelans ran the entire plant. 

He did the same in agriculture. At first he brought in ex- 
perts from abroadthe United States, Germany, and other 
countries, not only to direct experiments and oversee plantations 
but to instruct the natives. Meantime he sent scores of young 
Venezuelans to school in the United States and Europe, and 
when they returned they took charge of the various prop- 
erties. 

By instituting on his own farms a system of daily wages, 
and an eight-hour day, Gomez went a long way toward break- 
ing down the old medicmeiro system of farm labor. The average 
daily wage paid by Gomez equivalent in Venezuela to about 
a dollar a day may not have been comparable to that paid for 
similar work in the United States, but it was certainly a far 
cry from the medianeiro plan, and, according to Venezuelan 
standards at the time, rather high. 

Land ownership was another step in the constructive social 
development of Venezuela. Farm workers were encouraged 
to become property owners. And since agriculture is the basic 
industry of the nation, they were urged to invest in farm 
property, to remain on the land and become self-sustaining. 
It was he who fashioned the present tax laws of Venezuela. 
Imagine a farmer in New York or Mississippi or Iowa or Cali- 
fornia having to pay no land taxes! Yet the farmer, small or 
large, in Venezuela under Gomez was free of this burden. The 

[6 7 ] 



New Roads to Riches 

royalties on oil provided most of the government revenue, as 
I have pointed out. 

He was responsible for the simple and reasonable tax laws 
governing the property of the city dweller, also the Industrial 
Labor Bank which lately constructed the workingmen's houses 
at Bella Vista in Caracas. Besides he started a plan by which 
the government would lend the farmer money to maintain 
and improve his property. A mortgage bank was established 
for the special purpose of making loans to small farmers. A 
farmer might borrow up to fifty per cent of the value of his 
farm for a period of twenty years, at eight per cent interest. 
Actually he paid only three per cent interest, for five per cent 
was applied to the reduction of his loan. Furthermore, he was 
not asked to buy stock in the bank in order to get a loan, as has 
been the case with agricultural land banks in some other coun- 
tries. The result was that at the time of Gomez's death there 
was a waiting list at the bank, and still is. 

He provided several of the cities with excellent sanitation, 
water, and cheap electrical power. Even foreign power com- 
panies were rigidly regulated so that light and power might 
be within the reach of all. He was a devout believer in con- 
servation of natural resources, not only of oil and mineral 
lands, but of everything else. If his plan of forest preservation 
lives there will never be a timber famine in Venezuela. Tree 
culture and care became a sort of religion with him. In fact, 
no tree could be cut anywhere in the country without the 
formal consent of his government. Paraphrasing Joyce Kilmer, 
of whom he probably never heard, he said, "Trees are the 
handiwork of God, and man cannot replace them." 

That is the reason the highway from Caracas to Maracay is 
lined with trees. No tree was ever cut down to make way for 
a road. If one stood in the way, instead of allowing it to be cut 
down the road was built around it* For trees injured in a storm 
or dwarfed in their youth, a tree surgeon was provided. Those 

[68] 



Venezuela 

bent over on the ground were provided with supports, blocks 
of cement or posts, like crutches for crippled old people. 

He frowned upon Venezuelans living abroad on the income 
from their properties in the homeland. He invested every cent 
of his own fortune at home and believed other people should 
do likewise. Some members of his family apparently did not 
adhere to the old man's practice. Although by no means un- 
friendly to foreign capital or industry, he didn't like to see 
farms and agricultural land fall into the hands of outsiders. 

He once paid five million dollars for the great Trompillo 
coffee plantation near Valencia to keep foreigners from buying 
it. This plantation in the hills above Lake Valencia produced 
two million pounds of coffee beans a year, and originally be- 
longed to a wealthy old Venezuelan who had grown old and 
decrepit and was unable to look after it himself. An English syn- 
dicate had already agreed to the price required. Gomez heard 
about it and immediately offered more. 

The day after he came into possession of the place he erected 
a flagpole on a high hill some distance up the road from the 
main entrance, from which the flag of the republic always flut- 
tered in the tropical breeze as a reminder to all and sundry that 
.Trompillo was still in Venezuelan hands. 

From a purely business standpoint, Gomez was the most 
remarkable and successful of South American dictators, at least 
in modern times. He ruled twenty-seven years absolutely and 
with an iron hand, and yet died peacefully in bed with officials 
and friends standing by. He took a backward, bankrupt, cha- 
otic country and made it a marvel of financial integrity and 
order. He transformed a country of mountain trails into a na- 
tion with some of the finest highways in the entire hemisphere 
outside of the United States. He insisted that the government 
live within its income in good times and bad. All through the 
world depression it was prosperous and debtless. It owes nobody 
anything, about the only important country in all the world, 

[6 9 ] 



New Roads to Riches 

except the United States, which has no bonds or loans abroad. 
In 1930 the one hundredth anniversary of independence from 
Spain was celebrated by discharging every penny of external 
obligation. 

The lasting influence of these policies and practices is already 
evident. Recently the Contreras government planned to raise 
several million dollars by means of foreign loans to carry out 
its "three-year plan." But such opposition arose that the loan 
was finally postponed, if not abandoned altogether. According 
to one of the leading bankers of Caracas, "the prospects for 
a foreign loan have disappeared. Public opinion in Venezuela 
is completely hostile to the idea of borrowing money in the 
outside world. Here is a curious psychological phenomenon, 
based upon reasons of a sentimental nature, which always pre- 
dominate in our Hispano-American countries. The blockade to 
which we were subjected in 1902 by England, Germany and 
Italy, and the subsequent humiliating arrangements for the 
payment of our international debts is still keenly alive in the 
imagination of all the thinking people of this country. 

"It has been the style among us recently to revile Juan 
Vicente Gomez and his regime in all keys and apropos all 
problems. But when the question of a loan came up voices were 
raised all over the country and even in the halls of Congress 
in praise of what many call the rehabilitating work of the old 
Dictator in paying off the external debt. This unanimous trend 
of opinion compelled the government to postpone the proposi- 
tion indefinitely." 

To all Venezuelans Bolivar was the liberator from Old 
World domination. To his friends and an increasing number of 
people familiar with his record, Gomez was the rehabilitator. 
He liked to think of himself as having begun where Bolivar 
left off, as a sort of successor to the Liberator. He was born on 
the same day of the month as Bolivar. He believed he pos- 
sessed the same powers, at least he pretended to possess them, 

[70] 



Venezuela 

until the pretense finally became an obsession. Even on his 
deathbed his faith in his own powers was tremendous. On the 
1 5th of July, two days before his actual death, he went into a 
coma and even the doctors thought it was all over. They tied 
a cloth under his chin and around his head to hold his mouth 
closed. After a few minutes he reached up, took the cloth away 
and whispered, a No, today is not the day not until the lyth." 
And he died on the iyth, the same day of the same month 
that saw the passing of the liberator. 

Already he is a legend among many of the peasants and 
even the simpler-minded foreigners. An old peon near Mara- 
cay who had worked all his life on a Gomez farm found him- 
self in difficult circumstancesno job, no food, and his family 
ill. He declares that Gomez appeared to him in a dream, told 
him to go to a certain party at a certain place and ask for 
help. He immediately went and received money and a job. 

An Italian barber an amateur sculptor made the Gomez 
death mask. Today he insists that hair is growing on the mask. 
Probably some of the skin and hairs were pulled off with the 
plaster, and, of course, hair will continue to grow under such 
circumstances. But to the artist the death mask of the old 
General is taking on life. 

Whatever hatred toward Gomez existed upon the part of 
many of the people living in Venezuela, both citizens and for- 
eigners, was directed more toward his grafting relatives and 
overbearing officials than toward himself. As a prominent Ven- 
ezuelan in no way connected with Gomez told me the other 
day, "If upon his death Gomez had been embalmed, mounted 
on a pedestal and set up in the government house, he would 
still be ruler of Venezuela." 

For two months during his illness, part of which time he 
was unconscious, there was never one effort upon the part of 
his enemies to cause any disturbance. And they might have 
revolted then as easily as they did later. His funeral was a 

[7*1 



New Roads to Riches 

reverent occasion. Thousands and thousands of peasants and 
others passed by his casket while he lay in state. He was buried 
in the public cemetery at Maracay with all of the honors due 
a ruler, and his grave remains unviolated. 



[72] 



LOMBI A 



I 

Gibraltar of the Spanish Main 



COLUMBUS discovered a large portion of the earth's surface 
which turned out to be two tremendous continents surrounded 
by more than 2000 islands, large and small. For his pains he 
suffered disgrace and died in despair. Today these continents 
and their numerous brood are divided into twenty-one in- 
dependent nations and several dominions, as well as dozens 
of colonies and possessions, most of which belong to Great 
Britain, France, and Holland. Yet when names were being 
passed around the old Italo-Spanish sailor was practically for- 
gotten. In all of Spanish-speaking America few cities, towns 
or villages, except the Canal Zone community of Cristobal, 
and its Siamese twin, the Panamanian city of Colon, remem- 
bered him. Of the nations only one, the republic of Colombia, 
has honored itself with his name. Even that was an after- 
thought, because for two hundred and eighty years it was 
known as New Granada. 

For that matter, the territory of New Granada itself was 
practically an afterthought. That is to say, for nearly three 
centuries after the first settlement the Spaniards were so oc- 
cupied with looting Mexico and Peru that they gave little 
thought to the possibilities of the vast region which was destined 
to become one of the richest pieces of territory in the world. 

[75] 



New Roads to Riches 

Finally when they did give it any importance it was for mili- 
tary and not economic reasons. 

I like to think of the incident which occurred one bright 
summer morning in 1735. The audience hall in the Royal 
Palace of his Castillian Majesty was jammed with nobles and 
high officials-dukes and admirals, counts and courtiers of the 
Spanish court, all resplendent in flashy uniforms and shiny 
accouterments. Above the chattering and the rattling of swords 
as the imposing company awaited the pleasure of King Ferdi- 
nand VI, 'one of the waiting gentlemen was heard to say, "I 
understand that his Majesty is to receive reports from the 
Viceroy of Peru this morning." 

"No," said another, "I think it is a report from New Gra- 
nada, another one of those Indies." 

Just then the double doors at the end of the great hall swung 
open, and a page shouted, "His Majesty, the King!" 

The royal party entered and the King took his seat and in- 
quired in a low and indifferent voice, heard distinctly only by 
those nearest to the throne, what business there was to report. 

"His Majesty," the Court Chamberlain announced, "may 
be pleased to learn that the forts and fortifications of Cartagena 
are now completed.' 7 

"You mean to say," the King spoke up with a show of sur- 
prise, "that the work on the north coast of New Granada, begun 
a hundred years ago, is at last completed?" 

"That is the business we have to report to his Majesty 
today," the Chamberlain answered. "The work is completed 
and Captain Navarro arrived only yesterday bringing the final 
reports." 

"Oh, then," said the King, "we will hear Captain Navarro 
himself. Let him tell us what has been done at Cartagena." 

The Captain, in a brilliant new uniform, stepped forward and 
bowed, his face flushed with pride in this sudden honor which 
had come to him. He had*not even expected to be presented 

[76] 



Colombia 

to his Majesty, much less become the orator of the occasion. 

"While Cartagena guards the jewels of a vast and fabulous 
region of his Majesty's empire," the Captain began, "it oc- 
cupies the most strategic point on the coast of the Caribbean 
Sea. It is not only a door which permits us to enter and exploit 
the resources, the gold and precious stones of New Granada, 
but it is a sentinel guarding the path to Panama, and therefore 
to Peru and the other vast outposts throughout the Indies. In 
the past two hundred years the city has suffered attack after 
attack from notorious English and French pirates, such as 
John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake, and others. In all, his Maj- 
esty may recall, we have already been attacked seven different 
times and captured twice." 

"Yes," the King interrupted, "we are still mindful of the 
ransoms exacted by Drake and the French, five hundred thou- 
sand dollars by Drake and even more by the French. Proceed, 
Captain." 

"But his Majesty will be pleased to know," the Captain 
reassured him, "we shall never again suffer such losses and in- 
dignities. Today Cartagena is impregnable." 

"Impregnable?" the King broke in, casting a skeptical eye 
over the assemblage. 

"Yes, we can assure his Majesty," the Captain repeated 
with great finality, "Impregnable." 

And laying an ornate map before the royal eyes, which by 
now showed less indifference than when the audience began, 
he went on. "Here, on this map, your Majesty may see for 
himself. The entire city is surrounded by a great wall, forty 
feet high and from fifty to sixty feet thick, which is lined with 
powerful guns. This wall can be entered only through six gates, 
each of which is guarded by its own fortress. Out here two miles 
from the city, are the two narrow entrances to the bay and 
harbor. One we have dosed permanently, with underwater 
obstructions known only to us. An enemy attempting to nego- 

[77] 



New Roads to Riches 

tiate it would surely come to grief. On either side of Boca 
Chica, the other and even narrower entrance, are fortresses in 
which we have installed the most powerful guns of the age. 
Farther inland along the shores of the bay is still another 
group of forts with guns of the same caliber. 5 ' 

"Here," the King again interrupted, as he leaned eagerly 
forward and pointed to the words "San Felipe" in the very 
center of the map. "What is that?" 

"That," the Captain replied, "is the largest of all the forts, 
San Felipe, the crowning glory of Cartagena. San Felipe stands 
on the brow of a high hill overlooking the entire harbor and 
city. We have dug down five hundred feet into the hill and 
constructed great underground chambers, large enough to ac- 
commodate several companies of soldiers. What is more inter- 
esting still, these great underground chambers are scientifically 
ventilated and equipped with their own water supply." 

By which time every one present had moved forward full 
of interest and curiosity. The orator, warming to his task, con- 
tinued, "There is not a fort in all of Europe so equipped. More- 
over, this and all the other widely separated forts and forti- 
fications on either side of the bay and throughout the city are 
connected by secret underground passages. One great tunnel 
extends from Fort San Felipe all the way under the bay to 
the cathedral a quarter of a mile down in the city. This en- 
ables his Majesty's officers and soldiers on. duty at the fort to 
attend secret mass every morning without even the people of 
the city observing them." 

"But now tell us," the King suddenly broke in, "what is the 
cost of all this?" 

Captain Navarro, sensing the royal concern for what he 
realized only too well was a fabulous outlay of money, was 
glad enough to yield the floor to some one else. "The cost 
sheets," said he, "have been delivered to his Excellency, the 
Royal Treasurer." 

[78] 



Colombia 

The grim and grizzled old official stepped forward, mind- 
ful that, in contrast to all the other American transactions, this 
one was a problem o outlay rather than income. 

"Read me the main items," commanded the King. 

"First of all/ 3 he began a little haltingly, "the main fort of 
San Felipe -let's see San Felipe costs eleven million dollars." 

"What!" exclaimed the King. "One fort alone costs eleven 
eleven million dollars?" He paused in deep reflection, as if 
contemplating every remaining coin in the royal coffers, while 
a stony silence fell over the assemblage. Finally he looked up 
and commanded the treasurer to proceed with the baffling 
figures. 

"The cost of the remaining forts and fortifications fifty-nine 
million dollars." 

Again the King broke in, mumbling more to himself than 
to the others, "Fifty-nine million plus eleven million nearly 
seventy million dollars. One hundred years to build them and 
seventy million dollars!" 

He arose, crossed the room and stood before the great ter- 
race window facing westward. Again he was heard to murmur 
to himself, "Seventy million dollars seventy million there, 
in that direction, across the Atlantic." He turned and an- 
nounced in a firm voice, "I don't see them." 

For an entire minute no one spoke. Even the Court Cham- 
berlain wondered what strange condition had taken hold of 
the royal mind, 

"I can't see them!" the King repeated. 

The Chamberlain, seeking to relieve what was rapidly be- 
coming an embarrassing situation, made out to inquire. "What 
is it what is it his Majesty cannot see?" 

"The walls and forts at Cartagena," said the King. "One 
hundred years to build them, at a cost of seventy million dol- 
lars! I should be able to see them from here!" 

Of course the King was amazed at the staggering cost of 

[79] 



New Roads to Riches 

the project. Three and a half centuries ago, seventy million 
dollars was more than a king's ransom. 

But there it stands today, on the north coast of Colombia, 
just where the blue waters of the Caribbean swirl northward, 
one of the oldest and perhaps the most unique of all the cities 
of the Southern continent. The first stones of its foundations 
were laid three quarters of a century before the first settle- 
ment in this country. In 1933 Cartagena celebrated its four 
hundredth anniversary, celebrated not only its age as a city, 
but its history as the Gibraltar of the Spanish Main. 

The grim old walls and forts of Cartagena are not only 
symbols of ancient power, as well as of ancient fear and sus- 
picion, but silent reminders of present-day exclusiveness. The 
stranger or foreigner in Cartagena even today is not received 
with much cordiality, unless he travels in a tourist party and 
is carefully herded from ship to shore and back again. In the 
present year of our Lord when a ship drops anchor in that 
historic port, a bevy of white uniformed officials go on guard 
captains, lieutenants, sergeants, and privates of the armies of 
immigration and customs. And when it ties up to the modern 
new docks they oversee every transaction, watch every piece 
of freight that is loaded or unloaded and scrutinize every pas- 
senger along with the goods. 

Not only must every article imported into the country pay 
an almost unheard-of duty, but the law says that a ship's can- 
teen or shop must not sell a citizen or resident of Colombia 
any article whatsoever, not even a tube of toothpaste or a 
package of Lifesavers. Which seems to make such shops an 
open sesame for the customs and immigration officials they 
usually go ashore with their pockets bulging, while the lonely 
private citizen looks on with resignation and contempt. ! 

"One of the political inequalities from which my noble 
country suffers," said my old friend Rafael when I arrived in 
Cartagena recently. Rafael himself had come on board that 

[so] 



Colombia 

morning with hopes and designs to smuggle ashore on his 
person, or perhaps on the person of his "dear Yankee friend/ 5 
a supply of silk hosiery to be divided between his Senora, that 
is to say his wife, and "perhaps some lady friends." About one 
of these lady friends I was to hear more and startling things 
in the days to come. 

Even as we talked an official emerged from the corridor 
leading to the barber shop, the barber in this case being also 
the shopkeeper, stuffing silk stockings into his inside tunic 
pocket. Rafael touched my arm and said, "You have observ-ed?" 
(The last syllable of all words ending in "ed" receive special 
attention from Rafael. Otherwise he speaks flawless English.) 

"That, Senor, is what I mean by political inequalities. Be- 
cause of his position he may purchase expensive articles which 
the citizen may not. He then presents them to his family, or 
to his mistress. The mistress shows her gifts to her friends, 
which in turn makes it difficult for us. You understand, Senor?" 
Of course I did. 

"You see, Senor," he went on, a little wistfully. "Silk stock- 
ings are particularly desir-ed by one's mistress in Cartagena. 
And one must be patient with the wishes of his mistress. Be- 
cause of the terrible duty the government is pleas-ed to impose 
upon silk stockings the price in Cartagena is, how you say, 
prohibit-ed." 

And I confess it was in this noble cause of political equality 
that I found myself going ashore in the ancient city of Car- 
tagena with a pair of ladies' silk stockings in each pants and 
coat pocket. 

Having baked in the blistering tropic sun these four cen- 
turies, the quaint old town resembles a page from a book of 
faded etchings. The battered buildings with their great open 
ftatiosy time-worn churches and cathedrals, along with the 
crumbling forts and fortifications, make it one of the most 
colorful cities in South America. And the life of Cartagena is 

[81] 



New Roads to Riches 

no less colorful than its historic buildings. In the late afternoon 
the little squares and plazas are full of chattering people, like 
characters in a historical pageant seemingly unmindful of the 
glamor of their past. Donkey carts, burros with bundles and 
packs piled high on their swaying backs, and automobiles with 
ear-piercing horns vie with one another for room to pass. 

Riding at sunset with Rafael along one of these narrow 
streets where the humbler among the white people live, he 
reminded me that most of them were direct descendants of the 
soldiers and sailors of colonial days, poor but prouder of their 
family heritage than anything else in the world. We had to 
creep along to keep from taking toll of dozens of screaming, 
playing children. Though appalling poverty was the lot of 
many of them, the freedom of propagation has suffered no 
embarrassment. Big families are the rule, and the love of 
family an ancient right. Latticed and grilled windows, just like 
those we read about in the story books, open right out onto 
the streets. And there was hardly one without a barefooted 
lad on the outside and a dark-eyed seiiorita on the inside, each 
looking longingly at the other. 

"Love," said Rafael, "is being made just as it was centuries 
ago in old Castile." 

At least life offered them some reward, some compensation. 
But romance among their betters is subject to broad applica- 
tion. Rafael styles himself a licenciado, which, subjected to 
plain English, means merely a member of a profession. A 
muchly schooled and travelled gentleman, Rafael has studied 
in the Universities of Cartagena and Bogota, and also in the 
old University of Salamanca. He has travelled frequently to 
New York and Philadelphia. Yet, in spite of his apparent cos- 
mopolitanism, he still treasures the ancient customs, especially 
in regard to his social habits and relations. 

"You see, Sefior," he frankly confided, and Spanish Ameri- 
cans are nothing if not frank in such matters, "your ways are 

[82] 



Colombia 

not for us. We not only inherit the traditions of the Latin and 
the Spaniard, but also of the Moor. Besides, the climate, the 
tropics, how you say, dictate the more frequent resort to the 
physical pleasures. I myself am devoted to my family, my 
senora and my seven children. But I am also devoted to my 
mistresses, Madeleine and Olga. Senor, Olga! She is Russian. 
She is stately, blonde ah, it is the unrecorded law of man." 

But I soon found that the system was not wholly ideal, and 
certainly not without occasional unpleasant consequence. For, 
the very next day, after assuring me of his devotion to both 
of them, it seemed that Olga, not having been previously aware 
of Madeleine, and having just learned of such competition, 
had raised violent objection to such divided attentions. And 
even before he unbosomed himself, figuratively and literally, 
it was evident that there had been physical violence. A long 
scar traversed one entire side of his countenance. 

"Senor," he told me, with extraordinary emphasis and 
appropriate gesticulations, "it is unbelievable that my actions 
should be question-ed. I am a man, and I but exercise a man's 
rights. No woman, and more especially a mistress, has the 
right to inquire into a man's romantic activities. Yet, Senor, 
last evening, when I call-ed at her casita she greeted me with 
abusive language. When I objected, she thrust one fist into 
my stomach and the other into my face. And when I attempted 
to choke her into submission, she disfigur-ed my face, as you 
can plainly see." 

Then, unbuttoning his shirt and pointing to a ten-inch gash 
across his chest, he shouted, "This, Senor! This she did to me. 
How ungrateful. I give her my devotion. I provide her with 
a luxurious casita. I present her with presents, and now I am 
humiliat-ed! I am outrag-ed! I am scratch-ed!" 

And then, after a moment's reflection, he added, "But, 
Senor, what is one to expect when the national government 
permits the influx of aliens into our beloved country?" 

[8 3 ] 



New Roads to Riches 

In spite of such unfortunate alien penetration Cartagena is 
still the apotheosis of Spanish tradition. Its population is al- 
most wholly of Spanish or African descent, except for the not 
inconsiderable number who share both Spanish and African 
antecedents. They maintain inviolate the long siesta period in 
the middle of the day, as well as their inalienable right not 
o interfere with the refuse and smells that have accumulated 
through the years in some of the back alleys and side streets. 

The national government has engaged North American en- 
gineers to build some of the finest docks and warehouses, and 
the most modern of derricks and marine equipment to go with 
them, all of which it meticulously maintains. But by the time 
you travel one block away you realize that much is to be 
desired insofar as sanitation is concerned. 

The venerable University, whose chief prerogative is con- 
ferring degrees of engineering and doctorates of this and that 
upon gentlemen who complete the equivalent of a junior course 
in law, medicine or the mechanical arts, consists of a two-story 
building, surrounding a large patio or quadrangle whose state 
of repair, the last time I visited it, remained much as it was 
when the last Spanish Governor departed for the homeland. 

Old families still figure prominently in the native business 
of the city. The Velez family is perhaps the leading as well 
as the richest. Their most conspicuous enterprise is typically 
Spanish. They raise bulls for the ring, having been given special 
permission by the government to import breeding cows from 
the old country for this purpose. Yet, in spite of their efforts, 
bull fighting in Cartagena is a rather tame affair compared 
with bull fighting in Venezuela under Gomez. According to 
my friend Rafael, the original Senores Velez attained their fi- 
nancial standing in the community in a rather ingenious manner. 

"Years ago, 13 he told me, "the government decided to tear 
(down the old city wall and build a new one. One of the Velez 
brothers was awarded the contract for tearing down the wall, 

[8 4 ] 



Colombia 

while another secured the contract to build the new one. The 
first brother transferred to the second all the material from 
the old wall, out of which he erected the new one. Thus, Senor," 
Rafael concluded, "as you Yankees would wish to say it, the 
family profited from both ends of the wall, no?" 

The capital of the coastal state of Bolivar, Cartagena's con- 
tacts with the national government and civilization of the in- 
terior, before the coming of airplanes, was by rail across coun- 
try to the Magdalena River, and then by river boat to Bogota. 
In fact it was long the chief seaport on the Caribbean. Until 
comparatively recent times there were no port facilities at 
Barranquilla to take care of ocean-going steamers, so that the 
coffee of Medellfn and Antioquia was transferred from river 
boats at the port of Calamar, brought to Cartagena by rail, 
and shipped out to the world from there. 

Today new riches flow through its gates. A pipe line brings 
oil from the fields which Canadians and Americans have de- 
veloped along the jungle-lined Magdalena, four hundred miles 
in the interior, and pours it into tanks and ships to be sent 
out over the world. This oil in turn brings millions of dollars, 
pounds, guilders, lira, and marks to Cartagena and Colombia. 

The principal signs of renovation and improvement in Carta- 
gena today, with the notable exception of the government- 
owned and operated docks, are the new water works and sewer- 
age system, both of which are presenting tremendous problems 
since most of the city is below sea level. There are few new 
buildings except the more or less imposing edifice which the oil 
company has erected in the heart of the commercial section, a 
section distinguished by stuffy narrow streets and the stifling 
aroma of roasting coffee beans. 

In spite of the excessive heat, coffee-stands vie with soda 
fountains at Cartagena. Coffee is drunk by every one every 
few minutes during the day. Incidentally, the foreigner soon 
learns that a cup of coffee in the hot tropics is more refreshing 

[85] 



New Roads to Riches 

than iced drinks. The narrow sidewalks are occupied by Syrian 
and Jewish merchants, who display their wares so profusely 
that the pedestrian must' take his chances out in the middle of 
the streets along with the donkey carts and automobiles, and 
the army of hawkers who carry on their heads trays the size of 
small canoes, laden with everything from ice-cream and cookies 
to miniature furniture stores. 

In the streets and tiny plazas surrounding the cathedral, a 
building distinguished by its nightmarish, half -sculptured, half- 
painted frescoes, the great old Moorish houses are not to be 
passed up. Occasionally, through the grilled doorways, your 
gaze may be rewarded with a fleeting glimpse of a buxom 
senorita. 

The father of my old friend Rafael occupies one of the most 
antique of these houses. Here at five o'clock, when coffee is 
served for the dozenth time during the day, I observed the 
devotion of Cartagena's family life which Rafael so often and 
so eloquently proclaimed. For the rambling old structure houses 
not only the unmarried daughters but practically all the sons, 
their wives and their children, as well as the grandmother and 
all the "Afro-Colombian" servants and their numerous progeny. 

Incidentally, the contrast between the gracious and demo- 
cratic deference the grown-ups, both servants and served, show 
to one another, and the barbaric behavior of the gosling male 
children was something to be remembered. The hilarity and 
abandon of the latter could be compared only to that of a gang 
of New York street urchins engaged in laying siege to a peanut- 
stand except that eventually a cop would subdue, or at least 
scatter, the Gotham vandals. This probably accounts for, or at 
least explains, Rafael's philosophy of the "inalienable right of 
the male," and the horror which floods his soul when the world, 
or his woman, leaves him a bruis-ed" and a scratch-ed." 

But then when I permit myself such unfair reflection, I am 
reminded of the unselfish, unrelenting labors of some of Carta- 

[86] 



Colombia 

gena's early citizens. There was the immortal old priest, Pedro 
Claver, who built the first of its churches close by the main 
gates of the old city walls. His long life of unrelenting labors 
in behalf of the poor African slaves, more than half a million 
of whom were imported for the purpose of building the historic 
battlements of the city, remains one of the most engaging 
characters in the early annals of Cartagena, Only a Livingston 
at large among the teeming tribes of darkest Africa craved and 
claimed the souls of more black men than Pedro Claver. 

He is credited by some historians with having baptized more 
than three hundred thousand of those immigrants from Africa. 
In fact, a special niche in the great wall leads from the landing 
wharf through a side door to the baptismal font in his church 
so that their souls were always saved from Purgatory in the 
Hereafter before they were forced to sacrifice their bodies in 
piling bricks and stones on the walls and forts of the city. 
Whether by accident or design, if one single African was al- 
lowed to escape this routine, Pedro Claver never permitted 
himself a moment's rest until such an accident had been re- 
paired. He would arise in the dead of night and march the 
creature mercilessly through the heavy rain back to salvation 
lest in sin he should fall a victim of yellow fever or be crushed 
by a caving wall the next morning. 

One old darky managed to escape the ministrations of Claver 
for twenty-five years. In fact, in the household of a spiritually 
careless officer he had served faithfully and devotedly all this 
time. He had learned to read and write to the extent that he 
had become quite a scholar and philosopher, with deep moral 
convictions of his own. Finally he fell fatally ill and already 
waited patiently the grim messenger of time, when news of his 
impending demise reached the ears of Claver. 

Although himself aged and failing, the old Padre rose from 
his bed, trudged several miles through a driving rain to rescue 
the spirit of the departing slave. All night long he wrestled 

[8 7 3 



New Roads to Riches 

with the stubborn old man, who even in his weakened and half- 
delirious condition parried every one of the Padre's arguments, 
almost up to the very last. Finally, just before dawn, the priest 
himself limp and exhausted, the determined old sinner was 
convinced, or had become too weak to hold out longer. History 
is not altogether clear on this point. Anyway, he murmured 
submission and received the last ministrations, thus assuring 
the priest a perfect score. 

In any case, the mortal remains of Pedro Claver now sleep 
in a glass coffin close by the altar of the church of his name, 
just inside the main gate of historic Cartagena. 



[88] 



II 

Life on the Colombian Nile 



I 



SAILED from Cartagena for Santa Marta on a hot, almost 
stifling August night. The moon spread a silver sheen over the 
bay as the little old British freighter pulled away from the dock. 
But once beyond Boca Chica we turned eastward into the teeth 
of the trade winds that churn the Caribbean most of the year. 
I stood on the forward deck watching the waves as they broke 
into gossamer sheets of spray against the nose of the ship. Two 
garrulous old sailors took their stand near by. After relieving 
their minds about the heat and the treatment they had received 
at the hands of "mercenary sinoritis" during their four days in 
the Indent city, they became entangled in the meshes of history. 

But then it is impossible to resist history in these parts. In 
fact, it was for this reason that I shipped for Santa Marta instead 
of Barranquilla. Cartagena and Santa Marta are Colombia's 
most venerable cities. Besides, in the early days of independ- 
ence, when Simon Bolivar gave up the fight against the poli- 
ticians and came down from Bogota only to have the puny 
patriots of Cartagena desert him coldly, he went aboard a small 
boat and sailed away to Santa Marta. 

"It's a shime, I sez," grumbled one of the Britons, "that Sir 
Francis Draike took a ransom instead of blowing up the blahsted 
plaice. Some of the smells in that 'arbor 'ave been there ever 

since 'e left." r ft ^ 

[89] 



New Roads to Riches 

"Ay," said the other, "but ye've more nose than eyes. W'y 
cahn't ye see a bit o' the 'ist'ry them cahstles and anchient 
walls. We've not much in England to beat 'em, rially, ye 
know." 

"Can 1 'elp it, if me nose rebels at w'at me eyes see?" 

He was unconscious of the smells of the old tub on which 
we were travelling, proving that nature has been kind in the 
matter of certain of the senses, making it easier to smell the 
other fellow's odors than our own. Anyway, the argument 
continued. 

"I laike the plaice," insisted the more optimistic one. "I 
don't forget that part of its 'ist'ry was made by the British, 
not only by Draike, but there was Admiral Vernon. Mind ye, 
the Yankees shouldn't overlook the fact that the Admiral was 
the uncle of George Washington. Washington thought a lot of 
the old adm'ral too, enough to name 'is estaite on the Petomic 
after 'im." 

Marvellous how an Englishman never forgets the glories of 
his race. But then the entire Caribbean might have had a dif- 
ferent history had it not been for the daring and deviltry of 
the Drakes, the Vernons and the Morgans. Anyway, as I lay 
in my bunk that night I took sides with the Englishman who 
could think of the history and glamor of Cartagena in spite 
of the ancient odors that still surround it. 

Next day, when we oozed over the horizon and sailed into 
the mountain-circled bay at Santa Marta, I at first refused to 
be impressed by the trim white fruit steamers flying the Stars 
and Stripes, and the fact that the banana fields of Santa Marta 
are among the largest and busiest in Latin America. Instead, I 
immediately engaged a dilapidated old taxi and hurried away 
to San Pedro Alejandrino, that tiny white Spanish colonial 
house where Bolivar spent those last tragic days, the house 
which all Colombians and Venezuelans approach uncovered, as 
they would a holy place. I am not very sentimental, yet I con- 

[90] 



Colombia 

fess that when I go to San Pedro, as when I go to Mount 
Vernon, I am filled with a certain quiet emotion. The towering 
peaks of the Sierra Nevada, like hatless white-haired giants 
. looking silently down upon the place, the tropical breezes that 
whisper reverently through the trees, suggest that something 
called unearthly peace. 

Although founded in 1525, eight years before Cartagena, 
and for more than two centuries overshadowed by the martial 
pomp and colonial importance of the latter, today Santa Marta 
is not only the mecca of Latin-American patriots, but it probably 
touches the pocketbooks of more Colombians than its classic 
sister. By day it is as quiet as a deserted village. There is no 
activity. The steamers hug the wharves from mid-morning 
throughout the day, with scarcely a soul above deck. The 
wooden shutters of the old one-story houses are drawn for it is 
a law of the tropics, if not the prophets, that no person in his 
right mind, except perhaps the Yankee tourist, would be at 
large in the middle of the day. 

But when the long hot day is over and the evening breezes 
begin to blow, the waterfront twinkles with thousands of lights, 
laborers swarm over the docks and the ships. Trains in from the 
banana fields puff up and down and soon long lines of workers 
are moving in rhythmic cadence from train to ship where great 
mechanical conveyors gently lower millions of bunches of the 
pale green fruit down into the holds. 

Curiously enough, the first banana plantation at Santa Marta 
was established by a Paris syndicate in that fabulous period 
when Frenchmen had completed the Suez Canal and had al- 
ready embarked on a plan to sever the North and South Ameri- 
can continents at Panama. The company furnished plenty of 
money to a group of engineering dilettantes, not to say idling 
ne'er-do-wells who built a palatial chateau, planted trees and 
trusted to fate to tend and make them bear fruit. Meanwhile, 
succumbing to the enervating climate, they spent more and 

[91] 



New Roads to Riches 

more time in the shade drinking wines imported from the home- 
land until the stockholders in Paris stopped sending cash. 

Today only the crumbling walls of the chateau remain as a 
monument to French inability to discriminate between the vir- 
tues of labor and the love of life. For many miles inland well- 
tended plantations spread out over the soggy coastal lands. 
Although developed by Americans, most of these plantations 
today are owned by Colombians who learned the business from 
the Yankees and then went into producing for themselves, the 
Yankees buying the fruit in the field. Last year only twenty 
per cent of the 7,295,488 stems of bananas exported from 
Santa Marta were grown by the foreign companies. The balance 
of eighty per cent came from the farms of natives. 

"You have here," one of the native plantation owners told 
me, "a splendid example of how Yankee industry can best func- 
tion in South America. Only a few years ago the North Ameri- 
can company controlled production in this entire area. And, 
although it paid good wages, provided workers with houses, 
hospitals, medical care and all manner of conveniences they 
never enjoyed before, yet it experienced endless labor troubles, 
even strikes and riots. Periodically the government saddled it 
with new taxes and regulations. It was a constant target for 
politicians until anti-American sentiment was rampant, and busi- 
ness was bad for both the company and the country. 

"Look at the contrast today," he said. "The company not 
only buys its bananas from us, but assists us in every way to 
produce the very best of fruit. It furnishes experts in agriculture 
and agricultural engineering who analyze our soil, tell us how 
to treat it, drain it properly, keep down plant diseases and so on. 
The result? We make money. We take pride in the industry, 
because it is really ours. There is little labor trouble. We under- 
stand how to deal with our own people. There are fewer gov- 
ernment restrictions. It is to their and the country's advantage 
for the politicians to treat us right. 

[92] 



Colombia 

"This is an advantage to the American company, too," he 
went on. "It gets its fruit regularly, and with little or no inter- 
ference. It is put to less expense here, so that it has more money 
to spend at home, to advertise, to promote a larger market, 
which means the employment of more of your own people. It 
doesn't have to fight our laborers, the politicians or the govern- 
ment, so that there is more good will on both sides, to the 
mutual benefit of all concerned. And, what may be more in- 
teresting to you, it makes a better market here for American 
goods. We have more money to buy things from you. Your 
ships have cargo both ways. They bring down your machinery, 
cloth and luxury goods, and take back fruit." 

Carrying water for large Yankee enterprises in the Other 
America is not among my specialties. But some of the profes- 
sional anti-imperialists who insist that every phase and activity 
of every Yankee business in the countries beyond the Rio 
Grande is a menace, administered purely for the purpose of 
enslaving the lowly Latin, could display a great deal more 
logic. There have been outright crooks and selfish and designing 
characters who have fleeced and bullied the more trusting and 
dumber among the people of the Caribbean countries, but more, 
often they have had the able assistance of designing characters 
among native officials. 

A few hours on the wharves among the workers and local 
officials, and in the fields along the Santa Marta railroad, served 
to shed an interesting light upon the imperialism of one of our 
large companies in Colombia. For instance, Colombian labor 
has little room for complaint against the banana industry. The 
wages received by Colombian banana laborers are higher than 
those paid in any other Latin-American republic- For here 
labor is rigidly organized, and its interests are scrupulously 
protected by the national government. 

The average man engaged in loading bananas at the dock 
in Santa Marta makes from $5 to $6 a ship. Even in the de- 

[93] 



New Roads to Riches 

pression there were three and four ships every week. Translated 
into local living costs he is three to four times better off than 
those who unload the same fruit at New York or New Orleans. 

Also those Colombian politicians who during the presidency 
of Alfonso Lopez, from 1934 to 1938, hounded big business, 
especially foreign big business, with even more fervor than the 
most rabid New Dealer during the same period hounded the 
great corporations in this country, may be reminded that their 
government levies an export tax of one and three-quarters 
cents on every bunch of bananas that leaves Colombian ports. 
This export tax the North American consumer must pay. They 
might also be reminded that the companies made the American 
people banana conscious by spending countless millions of dollars 
in advertising and promotion, and that they maintain, at tremen- 
dous expense, gigantic organizations for the sale and distribution 
of the golden yellow fruit. In other words, Colombians can pro- 
duce and sell their fruit only because Yankee ingenuity and 
money have created a market and demand for it. 

Even if the Yankees themselves produce only a fifth of the 
bananas in Colombia, they have to buy, lease, or rent the lands 
from Colombians for which they pay whatever is demanded. 
They give employment with good wages and salaries to thous- 
ands of Colombian citizens. They pay taxes of all classes within 
the country. 

Ever since that day in 1866 when Carl August Franc, at the 
time employed as a steward on one of the vessels of the Pacific 
Mail Steamship Company, brought some wild bananas to New 
York and peddled them along the Battery, hundreds of mil- 
lions of dollars have been spent in scientific research. Specialists 
in all the ramifications of science have been and are still busy 
searching for new ways of cultivating and ripening the fruit 
so that it may have increasing appeal to the public's palate. 

In the Santa Marta lowlands there are soil experts, students 
of climate and rainfall and drainage engineers whose studies 

[94] 



Colombia 

determine the effect of the marshy soil of one field, or the sandy 
soil of another, and the amount of moisture and sunshine, the 
sugar and chemical content, which in turn determines the time 
required for ripening, and thus the flavor and grade when it 
reaches the fruit stand at Detroit or St. Louis. The experts have 
to know the amount of chlorophyl, that is the green, in the 
fruit in one field as compared to that from another field. It 
always varies, and it is vital because the amount of this deter- 
mines the length of time required for it to turn yellow, or ripen. 

But before I become so hopelessly involved in the science 
and culture of bananas that I cannot find my way out, I am 
going to rush on to Barranquilla, the most important of Colom- 
bia's three Caribbean cities. Located at the mouth of the Mag- 
dalena and about midway between Santa Marta and Cartagena, 
Barranquilla is the Cairo of the Colombian Nile. It is the 
principal seaport the gateway to the interior. Yet until 1939 
ocean-going steamers had never been able to reach it. The river 
which for four hundred years has served as the chief highway 
for Colombian commerce and travellers was still cut off from 
the sea insofar as ships from the outside world were concerned. 
Through the ages the internals of the continent, mud and sand, 
had flowed down from the mountains and accumulated at the 
river's mouth, making it impossible for a ship or a sailboat to 
enter. The volume flowing down at all times had been so great 
that any attempt at dredging was about as effective as trying 
to dip up water with a horseshoe. 

The British, who are not only the world's most prodigious 
accumulators of concessions, but for a hundred years were the 
principal port and dock builders of South America, finally and 
at great profit to themselves provided something of a remedy 
for the situation. They signed the Colombians to a long-term 
agreement, built a mile-long pier right out into the sea seven- 
teen miles west of the city. For the concessionaires this was, of 
course, a convenient distance from the community they expected 

[95] 



New Roads to Riches 

to serve. For then they were able to build a narrow-gauge 
railway from the port to the city and charge such exorbitant 
tariffs on freight and passengers that if the stockholders didn't 
receive unusually satisfactory returns on their investments they 
should be considered pikers. If they didn't do so there will be 
no opportunity in the future, for the concession has reverted to 
the Colombian government. 

Meantime, through the initiative of man, coupled with the 
intervention of Providence, the mouth of the Magdalena has 
at last been cleared of its age-old accumulations, and ships are 
sailing directly into the Magdalena and tieing up at the new 
and imposing docks which have been built on the mosquito- 
ridden marshes several miles inland. 

Two years ago Yankee contractors and engineers surveyed 
the watery scene at the river's mouth and, for a not inconsider- 
able sum, took on the task of building jetties and dredging a 
narrow channel across the bar. By the time they had completed 
the jetties, nature took a hand, and with a vengeance. It seems 
that the obstruction had piled itself up right on the brink of a 
bottomless undersea chasm. Suddenly one night the entire area 
washed overboard, taking one of the jetties with it, but leaving 
a hundred feet of water, and making Barranquilla one of the 
most desirable seaports on the north coast of South America. 

Barranquilla was already a modern metropolis, full of for- 
eigners, gringo factories, shops and modern homes. Its red 
and green traffic signals somehow prevent the careless occu- 
pants of donkey carts and high-powered automobiles from 
ending up in masses of wreckage. More than any of the other 
cities of Colombia, it has experienced the inroads of foreign 
business. There are cotton mills like those in the Carolinas that 
turn semiwild Colombian tree cotton into ready-to-wear, snow- 
white suits for three dollars and fifty cents. Because of the in- 
crease in the production of this cotton, the French have just 
erected a rayon plant and announcement has been made that 

[96] 




I 

3 

r2 

"o 


<u 

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bJD 



PQ 



Colombia 

four or five more are being moved from England. There are 
German beer-brewing establishments that might have been 
transplanted from the Rhine. A German colony, an Italian 
colony, an English and American colony, each maintains its 
own clubhouse, tennis court or golf links. 

Still to be seen among the foreign establishments of the city 
is a memorial to Ivar Kreuger. The tentacles of the late match 
manufacturer even reached down into Colombia. Citizens of 
the lower Magdalena will tell you that significantly enough the 
mill closed and Kreuger's representative in Barranquilla sailed 
secretly away to France only two weeks before the financial 
Fu Manchu blew out his light in Paris. 

No stranger is permitted to leave Barranquilla without visit- 
ing the Acueducto, the modern water works which might have 
been transplanted from Kokomo or Kalamazoo. It was built 
and is operated for the municipality by a burly and blustery 
Westerner by the name of Hollipeter, whose name has become 
synonymous with his product. Even barkeepers in Barranquilla 
will inquire whether you wish agua mineral, or agua Hollipeter 
with your Scotch. The Acueducto was made possible by the per- 
sistency of a Chicago banker back in the Coolidge era. It has 
been from the first a most profitable enterprise, which until 
recently had meant little to the American bondholders* Every 
month the city government set aside the money to pay the 
bonds, but exchange restrictions made it impossible to send it 
out of the country. So Hollipeter reinvested it. He built a mag- 
nificent athletic stadium in the new part of the city, which is 
evidently yielding splendid returns, since football is a most 
popular sport. Now the growth of the city has made necessary 
an expansion of the Acueducto itself. 

A characteristic story is told about the building of the original 
plant. In spite of the great campaign for its establishment, one 
of the most prominent, if not the most patriotic, of the city's 
medicos almost defeated the project. He warned the unsuspect- 

[97] 



New Roads to Riches 

ing citizens of the metropolis that the drinking of this water 
would result in dire and devilish disaster. "Senores," he warned 
in effect, "the devastating chemicals used in the so-called purifi- 
cation processes will but render the procreative organs impotent. 
Therefore, it will bring to our beloved community a diminution 
of population, marital unhappiness and an unholy social state." 

The three Obregon brothers, Rafael, Pedro and Evaristo, 
are the most prominent and influential among the old Spanish 
families. Unlike most Colombians, the members of this family 
have never broken their ties with Spain. They have maintained 
estates at Barcelona and Seville, each taking his turn in the 
administration of their Barranquilla enterprises. However, the 
Spanish War has caused them to alter the practice somewhat, 
and they are all taking a more active part both in their posses- 
sions and in Colombian public affairs. The stalwart Martinez 
brothers, Jheaded by Carlos Martinez Aparicio, manage to put 
out one of the two best daily papers in all of Colombia, a paper 
printed in both Spanish and English. I should say the English 
edition is even better than the Spanish. But then the North 
American and British colony constitute a potent if small element 
in the life of the town. Carl Parrish, a North American, fathered 
the first modern real-estate development in the country. On 
the outskirts of old Barranquilla he built California bungalows, 
golf clubs and the Del Prado, architecturally the most imposing 
Spanish-American hotel on the continent. But Elios Muvdi, 
a Syrian Jew, is today the real-estate wizard of the city. He 
has surrounded the Parrish section with a half dozen new sub- 
divisions and has accumulated such a fortune that he has become 
the most lavish contributor to social and patriotic causes in the 
country. 

P. P. Von Bauer, a tall gray-eyed Austrian gentleman, is re- 
sponsible for starting another modern movement with head- 
quarters in Barranquilla. He came to Colombia as a very young 
man long before the Big Parade began sweeping -across Europe 

[98] 



Colombia 

in 1914. Trained as an engineer and scientist, he learned to 
speak a half dozen languages, including Spanish. Then, ful- 
filling a strange ambition, he came to Colombia and went ex- 
ploring in the hinterlands of the republic. For a long spell 
he lived among the untamed red men of the Amazonian regions, 
hundreds of miles from civilization. He studied them, learned 
their dialects, meantime observed the riches of naturetrees, 
plants and soils. Then he took up residence in first one city 
and then another, in order to learn the customs and the culture 
of New Granada. 

Meantime he had forgotten to take out citizenship papers 
before going on a visit to his family in Vienna. While there 
the Archduke fell a victim of an assassin's bullet in Sarajevo. 
Austria descended upon Serbia. The Kaiser's legions went goose- 
stepping into Belgium and, having been an officer in the army 
of Franz Joseph, Von Bauer suddenly found himself in 3, 
uniform and marching at the head of a column of soldiers. Far 
four years he dodged the bullets of the Allies until the lull in 
1918, when he hurriedly set sail once again for the New World. 

Back in Colombia he got hold of a second-hand airplane, 
and in a desultory manner started flying between towns. Thus 
was born the idea for the first and oldest commercial air trans- 
portation system in all South America, in fact, in all the 
hemisphere, a project that wiped out the barriers of distance, 
inconvenience and time, and brought the most remote inland 
cities of Colombia into intimate touch with the rest of the 
world. 

Before Von Bauer arrived upon the scene, Colombia's largest 
cities, even the capital of the republic, were so far off the beaten 
track of travel, that the outside world had known nothing about 
them. Even today there is not a single railroad or highway 
extending from the sea to Bogota. To reach the capital city 
from the Pacific port of Buenaventura, it is necessary to travel 
in three stages. 

[99] 



New Roads to Riches 

Leaving Buenaventura in the morning, the first stage is 
by train over the coastal mountains to the important city of 
Cali on the western side of the Cauca River, then across and 
down the valley to the railhead at Armenia, some four thousand 
feet up the Quindio Mountains. Here you spend the night. 
Next morning by automobile you climb over the io,OOO~foot 
spine of the mountains and down to Ibague and another rail- 
head. At Ibague you take a train on a -road that twists, turns 
and switches back and forth the rest of the day, across the 
Magdalena Valley, reaching Bogota late in the evening. That 
is, if there have been no landslides or washouts, and there 
usually are. Sometimes during the rainy season traffic over this 
route is held up for weeks. 

The distance from the Caribbean to Bogota is 700 miles. 
Flat-bottomed old river boats struggle up the lazy snakelike 
river in fifteen to twenty days. Small, more modern ones occa- 
sionally make it in seven if the rain god has been at all generous. 
Even this must be made in three stages. Deep-draft boats ply 
from Barranquilla to the rapids at La Dorada, where you must 
take a train for forty some miles where boats of shallow draft 
make the trip on to Girardot. 

Towns and communities not located directly on the river are 
reached by every known method from canoe and muleback to 
cable way. From the port of Gamarra one of these ingenious 
contraptions, with basket cars, each with a capacity of 500 
pounds strung a hundred feet apart, swings passengers and 
freight from the, river up to the town of Ocaiia on the top of the 
mountains. Farther up another cable way connects the city of 
Manizales, way over in the Cauca Valley, with the railroad 
which extends on down to the ports of Honda and La Dorada. 
This one actually swings cars in successive stages up and over 
an intervening mountain range a distance of seventy kilometers, 
or a little over forty-three miles. 

The local planes of the Von Bauer lines take you from 

EIOO] 



Colombia 

Barranquilla to the foot of the Andean shelf in four hours and 
on over the gooofoot parapet in thirty minutes. Express planes 
now make the trip non-stop in two hours. By air Bogota is now 
less than two days and nights from Broadway. You may take 
the night plane to Miami, then next morning fly in a forty- 
passenger clipper ship straight across the Spanish Main to Ba- 
rranquilla and have lunch the following noon in Bogota. 

The Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transportes Aereos, to 
unfurl it completely, is no longer an infant. And though it now 
affiliates with the giant Pan-American system it still clings 
to the treasured ways of the builders, whose reputation for 
carefulness has become a tradition in the republic of Colombia. 

The other day I took the air from Barranquilla within a 
split second of 6:30 A.M. Ten minutes later we were deep in 
the heart of the Continent. The brown muddy river oozed 
through the ageless jungle beneath us. Pale puffballs of clouds 
played hide and seek over and under the ship, now and then 
spraying us with a shower of rain. On either side only a few 
miles away, billowy green mountains lifted their heads high 
above us. 

Now and then we swept down upon some quiet town of 
mud huts to exchange mail and give the natives a chance to 
gather on the river bank and enjoy the chief excitement of their 
lives. Barranca Bermeja was one port of call. It is from here 
that the Tropical Oil Company's pipe line begins its 40O-mile 
journey down to Cartagena. For three and a half hours the 
process continued, until we reached Girardot at the foot of the 
Andean wall. Then the plane lifted its nose and prepared to go 
over the top. From the valley of the Magdalena we rose for 
13,000 feet above the soupy mist that even shrouded the tops 
of the Cordilleras. Within a few minutes we dropped down 
blindly through the clouds and presently came out on the windy 
Sabana of Bogota. 

As I sat comfortably in the plane that day watching the 

[101] 



New Roads to Riches 

strange mysteries of this jungle world sweep along beneath me, 
I remembered the story of the epic journey of Gonzalo Jimenez 
de Quesada and his 150 Conquistadores who negotiated the 
first trip from north to south through these regions. Four 
hundred years ago doing the impossible had already become 
an old Spanish custom. But this trip of Quesada's remains until 
this day one of the most amazing of all Spanish accomplish- 
ments. 

Rumors had come down the river of a rich civilization in 
the interior of gold and precious stones and the fabled story 
of Eldorado, rumors that had some foundation. Anyway, down 
in Santa Marta the ambitious old Spaniard rounded up a party 
of hardy adventurers like himself. He told them the story of 
the mysterious civilization in the interior, of its fabulous riches. 
His eloquence must have known no limits, for he thrilled 
them with the prospects. Without delay they drank to the 
King of Castile and began the journey. From Santa Marta 
they sailed in five small ships, with horses, stores and equip- 
ment, entered the Magdalena and made their way as far as the 
rapids. From there they took to land, or what in the sodden 
jungle would pass for land. Plunging into this endless stretch 
of green hell, they followed as best they could the watery 
tentacles of the river, its countless branches, tributaries, slues 
and lagoons. Every step of their way was a superhuman battle. 
Disease and pestilence travelled with them mocking their every 
movement. There was the heat, killing heat, myriads of varieties 
of death-dealing insects, hungry crocodiles, all the slimy crea- 
tures in the category of reptiles, and horrible fever and disease 
germs in every drop of water, not to mention unfriendly and 
primitive Indians at every clearing. Day after day dragged by. 
Every day their numbers diminished. Every day they left Pedro 
or Carlos or Luis behind, a hostage to the pestilential wilds. 

Finally, one late afternoon in 1538, thirteen years after the 
founding of Santa Marta, 166 ragged, fever-racked members 

[102] 



Colombia 

of the once glorious party, together with fifty-nine of their 
horses, straggled up over the Andean ridge and out onto the 
Sabana of Bogota. But imagine their astonishment when they 
found that a group of Germans, from a colony which had set- 
tled near Lake Maracaibo, had made their way southward, 
while fellow countrymen of theirs had gone by way of the 
Pacific and arrived just ahead of them. 



[103] 



Ill 

The Capital of Liberalism 



JLT WAS the "Dia de la Raza," the I2th of October, "The 
Day of the Race." As one Colombian puts it, "Didn't the im- 
mortal Admiral discover the New World on October 12, 
thus founding the American race?" Anyway, like all the other 
Spanish-speaking nations of the New World, Colombia cele- 
brates Columbus Day with reverence and gaiety, with Te 
Deums in the churches and fiestas in the streets. But if the 
Bogotanos, on the occasion in question, celebrated with poetic 
gaiety, the city itself greeted me in a very prosaic manner. 
Immediately upon my arrival at the Hotel Granada, I was 
advised to report with as little delay as possible to the Police 
Department. 

The travelling stranger in Colombia is seldom free from 
the dizzying process of trying to conform to the laws and 
regulations of the republic. But, although the laws seem almost 
as silly as some of our own, the officials themselves meet 
courtesy with courtesy, no matter how slow and thorough they 
may be. 

"Si, El Senor is expected," said a young officer at the door 
of the department, and took me immediately in tow. I followed 
him across a patio, up a winding stairway, through numerous 
hallways filled with nondescript characters, around the patio 
balcony, through back halls, and rooms half filled with palaver- 

[104] 



Colombia 

ing officials and attaches. Finally, somewhere in the remote 
recesses of the yawning old building, a pleasant gentleman 
asked for my passport, and sat down to inform himself of all 
of its details. Although it was not my first visit to Colombia, 
and I was only a transient and my credentials revealed that I 
had complied explicitly with every regulation before and upon 
entering the country, it became necessary for me then and there 
to be fully investigated and once again put on record with the 
national forces of law and order. 

"But, first of all," he said, "you must supply us with a set 
of six photographs of yourself, three profiles and three front 



views." 



Much to his surprise I was able to produce the required 
number. Whereupon, to the enthusiastic interest of those stand- 
ing around, I was weighed, measured and fingerprinted not 
once, but in duplicate. My health was attested to, the color of 
my skin, hair and eyes and my physical idiosyncrasies were 
minutely described in the bold and ornate script of a clerk 
who contemplated his handiwork letter by letter. At this stage 
of the ceremonies I was permitted to sit while the same delib- 
erate servant of the state recorded in an individual six-page 
booklet the complete details of a lengthy inquiry into my whole 
life's history, my mental and social traits and habits, as well as 
my future plans and aspirations. 

In return for all this I was presented with a tiny brochure, 
or cedula, to be carried on my person at all times. Any one 
would think that a document resulting from such endless in- 
vestigation, and effort would admit its bearer to any place, insti- 
tution or official at any time, day or night. But I soon found it 
would only allow me to present myself for approval to the 
police in any and every city and town I might visit. It would 
qualify me, when about to take leave of Colombian territory, 
to call upon the Minister of Finance or his agents for the pur- 
pose of undergoing an investigation into my income while in 

[105] 



New Roads to Riches 

the country, as well as an examination of the amount and 
character of whatever funds I might be taking out with me. 
And finally it would only permit me to request of the police 
headquarters at the port of departure a written, signed, stamped 
and sealed permission to depart. 

Such rigid supervision over travellers is necessary, so I was 
told, in these troubled and perilous times. "There are so many 
destructive doctrines and ideologies abroad in the world," it 
was explained, "that the government must take all precautions 
to protect its institutions." 

Considering the difficulties of reaching Bogota, even if you 
have money to pay for a river passage from the North, or over- 
land transportation from the Pacific Coast, not to mention the 
more pretentious air service, I should think enemies of the 
republic would be slow to attempt an invasion of the capital 
when so many other fields are easy of access. However, Bogo- 
tanos may be excused their suspicions, since the old Conquista- 
dores themselves appeared to have been such a suspicious lot. 

For the most part the metropolitan centers and capitals of 
other South American countries are either on the seacoasts or 
in the heart of their most populous districts. Bogota, on the 
other hand, is really the outpost of Colombian civilization in the 
interior. Beyond it to the south and east lies the vast, wild, most 
of it unexplored, hinterland of Amazonia, two thirds of the 
land area of the republic. Like a lighthouse on a promontory 
it stands on a balcony of the Andes, looking south, west and 
north, with practically all of its developed resources on the 
hillsides and in the valleys of its two great rivers the Mag- 
dalena and the Cauca. The plateau of Bogota is really a high 
shelf, 2000 square miles in area and a mile and a half high, 
while the shelf itself is surrounded by a steep ledge, or higher 
wall of mountains some 1500 to 2000 feet in altitude. Bogo- 
tanos refer to this plateau as "the Sabana country," and to the 
lowlands, as "the hot country." 

[106] 



Colombia 

Climate in Colombia is not a matter of north and south, 
but a matter of up and down. Since all the republic lies within 
the tropics, winter and summer are designated by the rainy 
and dry season respectively. Generally speaking, rain falls 
from March to May and from September to November. In 
December, January and February, in June, July and August, 
grassy lawns and shrubbery turn brown from the lack of mois- 
ture and the long hours of scorching heat and sunshine. On 
the Sabana the thermometer ranges around fifty degrees 
throughout the year. Much of the time the sky is gray. At 
night and in the morning it is cold and damp and as a friend 
of mine put it, "The skin of the foreigner is always covered 
with goose pimples." 

You cannot know Colombia, "the hot country," or the 
Sabana> until you have met the man who recreates them on 
canvas their scenery, their people, their life, their moods. He 
is Don Ricardo Gomez Campuzano. An afternoon in his old 
house is a pictorial tour of all the republic. Seek out a certain 
number in a drab, narrow street. Dangle the knocker of an 
ancient battered door, and wait. Presently the door creaks and 
swings slowly open. A sheepish little maid, speaking the lisping 
Spanish of the Old World, invites you to enter. You follow 
her down a narrow corridor and out into a broad open fatio, 
filled with the hardy plants and shrubbery of the highlands. 
Then you climb a winding stairway to the second floor and 
walk into a great drawing room. 

At first it is a room, then suddenly it becomes a countryside 
inhabited by all manner of people and creatures. There is a 
typical Spanish colonial house with a vast rolling field stretch- 
ing away behind it. The field is crowded with cattle, sheep, 
donkeys and what not. The house and its old pink-tiled roof 
are bathed in tropical sunshine. Sunbeams fairly dance on the 
bougainvillea blossoms that hang in cascades along the dilapi- 
dated adobe wall or fence. Over there crowds are leaving a 

[107] 



New Roads to Riches 

village church. And here is a marketplace with hundreds of 
people milling about. These are the pictures of the "hot 
country." 

In an adjoining room the mood is different. The pictures 
are less cheerful Most of them make you want to turn up 
your coat collar. They depict the highland country around 
Bogota. There are few bright flowers. Trees are hard-bitten 
with leathery foliage and little of that except for the Eucalyptus 
trees, which, of course, have been imported. Here and there on 
the Sabana, rows of these have been planted, and, as in the 
valleys of Utah, Colorado and other mountainous regions they 
seem to thrive in spite of cold winds. 

Gomez Campuzano is one of Colombia's institutions. He 
paints for the joy of painting. He even likes his own pictures 
and frequently buys back canvases he has already sold. A 
friend bought a life-sized painting of a lone cow. She was out 
on the cold dreary Sabana. Storm clouds rolled toward her. 
The scrubby trees were bent low in the wind. She had evidently 
lost her calf and was frantic. She called appealingly to it, but 
it never came. 

Some years afterward Don Ricardo saw the painting in the 
house of his friend who now spent a part of each year abroad, 
so that the great house was closed and the shutters drawn for 
months at a time. He got to thinking of the unhappy cow, shut 
up in a dark, deserted house, so he bought her back and hung 
her in one of his large cheery rooms so she would not be alone. 

Next to the Colombian scene, his wife and daughter are his 
favorite subjects. He is always beginning new paintings of 
them, for Don Ricardo is both an artist and a Latin, desperately, 
hopelessly in love. 

The most remote of Colombian cities, Bogota has a popula- 
tion of more than three quarters of a million people. When you 
look at its imposing buildings, at the cathedrals and churches, 
the great colonial capital, fronted by the sunken gardens and 

[108] 



Colombia 

fountains of the central plaza, the sprawling stone structures 
on Fifteenth Street, the banks and other modern buildings, 
you marvel how all the materials that went into their con- 
struction and equipment, as well as the fixtures and facilities for 
maintaining them, were ever brought to a spot so far from the 
world's highways. And again you are compelled to admire the 
daring and resourcefulness of the Spanish race, meantime over- 
looking the cruelty of its past and deploring the tragedy so 
recently heaped upon it in its original home. 

So little has been the cultural, or perhaps better the social, 
influence of the outside world that next to the people of Medel- 
1m, in the valley of Antioquia, the inhabitants of Bogota, aris- 
tocrats and peasants, probably speak the purest Castillian in the 
world. Many of them speak it with the same accent and 
inflection, the same lisping lilt, so characteristic of the old 
aristocracy of the motherland. Of course, Bogotanos of the 
servant classes are not Spanish. In their veins is the blood of the 
Chibchas, who are descendants of the ancient Incas. 

One of the Incas, or emperors of Peru, sent missionaries to 
convert the wild tribes of red men in the far north. One of these 
missionaries finally reached the Sabana of Bogota and estab- 
lished himself in the vicinity of the present capital. He made 
friends with the primitive people, taught them agriculture 
and other industries, even art and music. As the centuries passed 
his descendants grew into a numerous tribe. Anyway, when 
the Spaniards arrived these people dominated the surrounding 
country. Like the aborigines of every other section of the New 
World invaded by Europeans, whether by Anglo-Saxons or 
Latins, the Chibchas soon found themselves in the tyrannical 
clutches of the newcomers. Something may be said for Quesada 
personally. He seems to have been an exception among the old 
conquerors in that he was about the least cruel of all of his 
cohorts. He even named the city he founded after "Bacata," one 
of the chiefs of the region. 

[109] 



New Roads to Riches 

I have no doubt that poetic as well as practical reasons 
prompted Quesada and his compatriots to settle in such an 
inhospitable climate. There was already the nucleus of a civili- 
zation. Then, too, if the heathen had settled there undoubtedly 
rich treasures existed thereabouts. Besides, it was the authentic 
bailiwick of one of the cleverest Indian chiefs who ever lived, 
and whose exploits whetted and excited the imaginations of 
more menrulers, soldiers, traders, explorers, adventurers- 
than any other character in New World history. No American 
since his time has displayed more publicity genius. The title, 
or appellation which he chose for himself inspired and thrilled 
the men of all Europe to go out and hunt for and conquer 
new worlds. If Mussolini and Hitler had pondered the story 
of this denizen of the Andes, they might have been wiser in 
the selection of their titles, their various conquests might have 
proven more popular. The terms "II Duce" and "Der Fuehrer" 
excite awe and fear instead of admiration and envy. 

To attract attention to himself, to sell himself to his people 
the Chibcha chief of Guatabita did not resort to military demon- 
strations or the warlike displays of a bully. He did not sur- 
round himself with fierce braves fitted out with the largest 
bows and the longest, sharpest arrows "ever made." He sent 
out no armies on forays against the weak to prove his prowess. 
Nothing so cheap as that. He made sacrifices instead of con- 
quests, sacrifices to his gods, but not human sacrifices. He 
didn't even follow the practice of many of his contemporaries 
and throw beautiful girls into deep wells. History, according to 
Doctor Philip Ainsworth Means, has it that he demonstrated 
his sacrificial nature by throwing material riches gold, silver 
and precious stones into a lake. An act which no doubt would 
have sickened the heart of any civilized paleface, but which to 
my way of thinking proved him a lily-white sacrificer, as well 
as demonstrating a strength of will that has not been equalled 
since. 

[no] 



Colombia 

At night, as a final act to his performance, he rubbed a sticky 
substance over his skin, then had himself sprinkled with pow- 
dered gold, and all-glowing and glittering in the dim flickering 
lights of the camp-fire, he did a rousing and, I have no doubt, 
sexy dance. After having disported himself sufficiently, he 
climaxed the occasion by himself leaping into the lake and 
allowing the gold, but not his fame, to be washed away. For 
the story of the Chibcha chief, El Dorado, "the man of gold," 
has endured through the centuries, yet, sad to say, his descend- 
ants still do the drudgery for Quesada's progeny. 

In spite of the preponderance of Chibcha blood among the 
Bogota peasants few traces of the ancient customs of their 
forebears remain. As in each of the South American countries, 
the customs and folk habits of Colombia are entirely her own. 
Remoteness and climate as well as racial antecedents give the 
people of the Colombian highlands characteristics not found in 
any of the other South American nations. In every Spanish 
country on the continent men of the peasant or peon class wear 
some form of foncho^ a great piece of heavy cloth with a slit 
in the middle through which the head is extended. This piece 
of cloth is known by a different name in practically every 
country. The Colombian peon calls it a ru<ma> and the damp, 
chilling winds of the Sabana make it his closest earthly com- 
panion. He may be without shoes, his pants, which reach only 
a little below the knees, may be in shreds, but his ruana is 
always in good condition. And what the ruana is to the man the 
great black shawl, or manta, is to the woman. 

However, there are very distinct class lines among these 
peasants, lines that are seldom crossed. Day laborers, such as 
janitors in public buildings, look down upon laborers, say in 
the building trades, and vice-versa, while the second cook in 
a legation, or home of an official, high-hats the first cook in 
'the home of a prominent merchant or banker. Maids and butlers 
in diplomatic households have even begun to discard the ruana 

Em] 



New Roads to Riches 

and the mania and do not associate with the other servants of 
the same household, such as gardeners, scrubwomen and dish- 
washers. 

If class distinctions exist among the peasants, or the servant 
and working classes, it is natural to expect unusually rigid social 
distinctions among their self-styled betters. More than any other 
capital of the Andean country, more even than the Peruvian 
city of Lima, historic capital of the Viceroys, Bogota is socially 
the city of the colonial Spaniard. Although the foreigner who 
takes up residence in Bogota must do a period of probation, 
eventually he will be invited to formal affairs and finally, upon 
occasion, be admitted to the family circle of intimate acquaint- 
ances, but he will still be a foreigner. To certain exclusive clubs 
he will seldom be admitted, except on sufferance. Until the 
world depression few foreigners, except those in the diplomatic 
service, might become members of the Bogota Country Club. 
Economic disaster, however, sometimes serves as an outward 
social leveller, and so to help pay expenses and maintain the 
establishment, the financially better-to-do among Los Gringos 
were accepted. Today a Yankee or a European may lunch, or 
chase the little white ball from green to green in a friendly 
atmosphere. 

In spite of the purity of language and the preponderance of 
white people in Bogota, Colombia has its marked racial dis- 
tinctions, even in the populated centers of the interior. Con- 
servative Colombian estimates place the population of the 
country at 7,000,000, thirty-five per cent of whom are white, 
and five per cent Negro, the latter located principally in the 
hot coastal regions. The Indian population, about two per cent 
of the whole, is concentrated largely in the Amazonian hinter- 
land, and the regions east of the Magdalena, all the way from 
Bogota to the tip end of the Goajira Peninsula, between Santa 
Marta and Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. The remaining fifty- 
eight per cent are of various mixtures, white, Negro and Indian. 



Colombia 

Among the whites there is, even among the oldest families, 
a very large element of Jewish blood. Some of the earliest 
Spanish colonial settlements were made by Spanish Jews flee- 
ing the Inquisition and other oppressive conditions in the Old 
World. In addition to these descendants of the Sephardic Jews, 
who came over from Spain in early colonial times, many Syrian 
and Near Eastern Jews have settled in Colombia more recently. 
Previously I have mentioned Elios Muvdi, the merchant and 
real-estate philanthropist of Barranquilla. Then there is the 
eminent Doctor Gabriel Turbay, outstanding political leader, 
and perhaps the Liberal Party's candidate for president in the 
next elections, who is of Syrian-Jewish descent. 

As nowhere else in the world perhaps, the Jews of Colombia, 
that is the old settlers, have become thoroughly assimilated and 
merged with the people of Spanish blood. Invariably the only 
remaining suggestions of their ancestry are their Semitic fea- 
tures. Interestingly enough, most of them, although Jews by 
race, are Catholics by religion. 

Incidentally hundreds of Jewish immigrants from Germany 
and Austria have entered Colombia within the past two years. 
Unfortunately so many have settled in the one city of Cali and 
the surrounding rich Cauca Valley that local protests are going 
up, not because the newcomers are Jews, but because there 
are so many of them they have glutted the labor market, sur- 
feited the community with small shops and overcrowded certain 
of the professions. 

The not inconsiderable contingent of German and Austrian, 
as well as Italian, settlers should not be overlooked. In spite of 
the Bogotafios 5 aloofness toward the foreigners of today, these 
Europeans are rapidly becoming assimilated. Representatives of 
banks and trading companies in Hitler's realm, as well as the 
agents for German steamship lines plying the Colombian coasts, 
may outwardly assume a Nazi mien, click their heels and beer 
mugs and jheil Hitler in their dubs, but many of them are 

[113] 



New Roads to Riches 

quietly putting their money into Colombian land and property, 
signifying their intention to remain in the New World. Many 
of the older settlers have already taken out Colombian citizen- 
ship and broken ties with the Old World forever. As one old- 
time German settler put it, "the climate as well as the easy 
freedom of democracy in Colombia tends to undermine the 
sense of strict discipline and regimentation instilled into us in 
the old country. It is not easy to be strict and strenuous in the 
tropics and especially in a country so rich as well as politically 
democratic." 

So far as Colombians themselves are concerned, Fascist doc- 
trines, whether of the Italian or German stripe, are not popu- 
lar. There is a tiny so-called Fascist group in the country, but 
it bears no relation whatsoever to European Fascism. It is 
exclusively native. Its leaders and followers are the extreme 
conservatives, some leaders in the Catholic Church who cannot 
abide the works of the Liberal Party which replaced the old 
Catholic conservative government eight years ago. They in- 
sist that the party's liberalism is so extreme it approaches Com- 
munism. 

"As a matter of fact," a former conservative cabinet member 
told me, "so far as I am concerned, the four-year administration 
of President Alfonso Lopez was almost as radical in its action 
toward foreign enterprise and business in general as the Car- 
denas government in Mexico." 

I thought that the conservative Republicans and Democrats 
in this country entertained strong opinions regarding the poli- 
tics of Franklin D. Roosevelt. But a few minutes in the com- 
pany of groups of old-time business men in Colombia gave 
me a better idea of the exact meaning of "strong opinions." 
They expressed themselves in the most eloquent words, punc- 
tuated with all the picturesque profanity peculiar to the Span- 
ish language, concerning "our former Communist president." 

In spite of their anger and protests, the Liberal Party over- 



Colombia 

whelmed the conservatives, in the last elections and another 
Liberal president was inaugurated on August 6, 1938. 

The attitude of Colombians in the Spanish civil war must 
have proved a disappointment to any pro-Fascists or pro-Nazis 
with ambitions in Colombia. In practically all the other South 
American nations the majority of the people who were at all 
opinionated on the subject were pro-Franco. In Colombia, 
except for the more conservative elements and the Church 
leaders the great majority of people were pro-Loyalists. When 
the new Franco ambassador dared to criticize a Bogota news- 
paper for its uncomplimentary remarks about his chief there 
was a mass condemnation and demand for the recall of his 
Fascist Excellency. 

Government in Colombia is democratic in practice. The 
country has enjoyed orderly political procedure and change of 
administrations by ballot, instead of by revolution, for some 
forty years. Today there is a universal opinion against all au- 
thoritarianism or government by dictatorship. Some observers 
even call Colombia the only genuine democracy on the 
continent and one has dubbed Bogota "The Capital of 
Liberalism." 

What one old conservative calls "the present orgy in Colom- 
bian liberalism" began August 7, 1932, when, due to a split in 
the old Conservative Party, the liberals elected Doctor Enrique 
Olaya Herrera, to the presidency. Before he became presi- 
dent Doctor Olaya was for years Colombian Minister in Wash- 
ington, where he was popular and highly regarded. He was 
a scholar and a statesman of the first order, worthy to rank 
with any, living or dead. To him politics was a science. He 
captured the imaginations not only of liberals but of con- 
servatives as well. It was his personality as well as his cultured 
statesmanship and sound common sense that made him out- 
standing. The hold which the Liberal Party has on the country 
today is due to the lasting imprint which he left on the people 

[115] 



New Roads to Riches 

of the nation. He was one of the notable examples of the mix- 
ture of Spanish and Chibcha blood. El Dorado, if a little 
poetic license be permitted, was among Olaya's ancestors. He 
looked the part. He was tall, with the torso of a Dempsey or a 
Tunney. His enormous head rested squarely upon powerful 
shoulders. He had high cheek-bones, a firm chin and a mouth 
filled with glistening white teeth. In conversation he spoke 
deliberately in several languages, including English, and he 
looked squarely at you through sparkling black eyes. 

Olaya was a remarkable orator, but not of the typical Latin 
type. He spoke with profound dignity and his voice was like 
the rich low tones of a great organ. It rose and fell in rhythmic 
cadences. 

I knew him as Minister in Washington and I visited him 
several times in Bogota while he was President. The last time 
I saw him we sat in his private study in the old presidential 
palace at Bogota, and he chatted freely about his long resi- 
dence in the United States. Although passionately Colombian 
he liked the people of North America, made no bones about 
patterning many of his works after theirs. He invited Ameri- 
can capital to the country and, as long as he was in office, 
accorded it liberal treatment. Although ready to check the head 
of any foreign business enterprise who overstepped the limits 
of Colombian laws and customs, he was generous in his efforts 
to see that the enterprise was protected. He floated bonds in 
this country to finance public works and scrupulously paid the 
interest on them. He began the work of building modern ports 
at Buenaventura and at Cartagena, as well as roads to the 
interior, .but without becoming lavish in his plans or his spend- 
ing. He encouraged the development of the oil industry and 
many other business enterprises. 

The constitution of Colombia does not permit a president 
to succeed himself, although he may again run for the office 
after an intervening four years. And Olaya was no man to alter 

[116] 



Colombia 

the constitution for his own convenience. So when his four- 
year term was up he passed on the administration to the ultra- 
liberal-radical Alfonso Lopez, and, if death had not claimed 
him in the meantime, overwhelming public demand would 
have led him back to power once again after the unpopular 
four years of his successor, who liked to refer to himself as the 
Colombian "New Dealer," and whose son once reminded me, 
"Don't you realize that my father's is an Anti-Conservative 
Left Wing Government?" 

It may be said that if the Alfonso Lopez government was 
Left Wing and Anti-Conservative, it was also superrestrictive 
and antif oreign, insofar as business was concerned. The features 
of the New Deal which seemed to appeal to him mostly were 
its regulations of big business. He wanted to apply all the 
Rooseveltian ideas to business in a country where practically 
none of the circumstances surrounding business in the United 
States prevailed. 

A liberal-minded old Colombian professor expressed it this 
way: "Lopez seemed to think that what Mr. Roosevelt did to 
utilities, the oil industry, and to manufacturers in a country 
where all these things have long been developed could be 
applied with equal vigor in Colombia, where such things are 
only now getting under way. He wanted to stifle all of them 
with taxes, regulations, and prohibitions before they even got 
into production. 

"But," he went on, "that has been a falling of most of our 
so-called liberals. Back of their political liberalism is economic 
and cultural reactionaryism, for it is reactionaryism not to let 
business progress by itself. Our liberals have usually wanted to 
pass laws protecting us from competition before we develop 
anything ourselves, or before we are even prepared to develop 
them ourselves. They have usually restricted foreign business 
so that it couldn't demonstrate to us how to develop our in- 
dustries. They have protected us from foreign professionals, 

[117] 



New Roads to Riches 

before we developed a professional class of our own. It is 
nearly as easy to throw an elephant over the Andes as for a 
foreign doctor to pass a medical examination and get a license 
to practice in this country. Yet if a person with enough money 
to get out of the country has to have an operation, he rushes to 
the hospitals in Panama, to the Mayos in Minnesota, or to 
Europe, 

"Lopez," he concluded, "practiced this philosophy. With 
one hand he tried to drench the people with the broth of radical 
liberalism. The other he applied to snuffing out forward-look- 
ing enterprise by surrounding it with imposing legal handi- 
caps." 

However, Eduardo Santos, the democratic, high-minded, 
scholarly, clever newspaper editor who succeeded Lopez, has 
returned the government to something of the Olaya equilibrium 
liberal administration without fireworks, a human approach 
to the problems confronting him, without violent upset to 
the institutions of the country. He believes the nation should 
progress, but without sudden revolutionary changes. He thinks 
government should give aid to the common man and the people 
who work, that business should be regulated but not persecuted. 
He is a businessman himself and sees no incompatibility be- 
tween liberal politics and wisely operated business. Although 
not a rich man, he built up, owns, and runs El Tiem^o, the 
leading newspaper of the country, runs it so successfully that 
its net profits average a quarter of a million pesos a year about 
a hundred and forty-five thousand dollars. He not only preaches 
liberal democracy, but practices it. For a hundred years presi- 
dents have lived in the old government palace, which signifi- 
cantly enough is next door to an army barracks. Santos lives 
in his own private residence on the outskirts of the city with a 
single policeman at the gate. He goes to and from his office 
and strolls in the streets unaccompanied. He returns his salary 
to the State and pays all of his own expenses and those of the 

[118] 



Colombia 

presidential office. But in his newspaper he preaches a doctrine 
that most observers will agree is good for Colombia, a country 
in which politics is the most advanced o the sciences. His words 
and actions make it unmistakably apparent that he agrees with 
the old Colombian professor who said Lopez was politically 
liberal but economically reactionary. Even before he became 
President Santos pointed out in an editorial in his paper, "That 
Colombia was a nation of great politicians and poor admin- 
istrators. 

"There is no doubt," said the editorial, "that our capacity as 
politicians surpasses that of many countries that are already old 
in the concert of nations. Colombia has plenty of poets and 
orators but a dearth of people who can run business and indus- 
try. We suggest the formula of less politics and better admin- 
istration. We have the necessary talent for maximum planning. 
The one thing that we lack is the will to make plans effective. 
We have not exercised intelligence in financial matters, but 
only in the noble use of words." 

While politics is the most advanced of the sciences, "the 
noble use of words" is the most highly developed of the arts. 
Music, dancing, and even painting find few devotees. Gomez 
Campuzano is the only outstanding painter living, but no coun- 
try in the world has produced more poets to the dozen of its 
population, especially among the upper classes. A popular 
poet who can read his poetry in public can still fill the largest 
hall in Bogota at so much per. In the old conservative days 
the ability to reel off verse was a splendid recommendation for 
a presidential candidate. Even such a statesman as Olaya was 
known to indulge in such pursuits now and then. 

"It used to be impossible," one old traveller has pointed 
out, "to stroll through a plaza in Bogota without encountering 
clusters of poets trying out their verse on one another." 

Times have changed little. Stroll through one of the plazas 
around the university, upon those none-too-frequent occasions 

[119] 



New Roads to Riches 

when the sun shows its face, and you will find plenty of evi- 
dence of the poetic urge today. 

Surprisingly enough women poets are and have been quite 
as numerous as men. But then, curiously enough, there are more 
women in Colombia than men, which suggests a skeleton in 
the closet. In spite of its peaceful practices of today, and its 
devotion to democracy, Colombia was, until comparatively re- 
cently, one of the most war-ridden of the South American 
nations, having experienced some thirty-five or forty real revo- 
lutions, anyway enough revolutions to decimate the male por- 
tion of the population. 

As recently as ten years ago there were three women to every 
man in some towns of the country. With little prospect of 
ever acquiring a man whom she could call her very own, the 
woman either resigned herself to fate, or took to poetry in 
self-defense. Dona Silvera Espinosa de Rendon sang of the 
cross and the Virgin Mary, and the beauties of friendship, all 
of which is highly suggestive of a melancholy longing for male 
companionship. 

Yet, curiously enough, not to say flattering to the male, the 
outstanding ones among Colombia's feminine versifiers were 
usually married women. Perhaps the good fortune of getting 
a man filled them with such ecstasy that it was impossible to 
restrain lyrical outpourings. Dona Mercedes Alvarez de Florez 
showered her poetic fancy on her husband, and the joys of 
kissing. When he fell ill, and was expected to die, she urged 
him to fight death "by drawing strength from my kisses." Even 
Hollywood might have learned something from her. 



[120] 



IV 

The New El Dorado 



I 



F YOU have to take an early plane out of Bogota on Sunday 
morning, it is not necessary to leave a call. Bogota is a city 
of churches, churches whose priests have acquired something in 
the nature of ecclesiastical perpetual motion, for they seem 
to ply their calling without ceasing day and night. Mass is 
early on the first day of the week. And no late rising is permis- 
sible or even possible in this devout metropolis. 

I left Bogota the last time on Sunday morning. Long be- 
fore five o'clock I came to consciousness with the peal of a bell, 
a peal as staccato and piercing as the report of a machine gun. 
One in the distance answered it back, then a third, a half 
dozen, twenty-fivea million, until the morning air was rent 
with bells. I arose and looked down into the plaza below my 
window. In the dim morning light it was thronged with hurry- 
ing peons in ruanas and mantas y as well as somberly clad aris- 
tocrats. Gradually the bells died away, and presently there 
were only a few stragglers. Twenty minutes later when the 
streets were empty and silent, another bell, miles away it 
seemed, began ringing franticallysome good padre had slept 
late and rushed to the church lest some of his flock forget and 
fail to put in an appearance. 

An Englishman, E. H. Riley, was also flying that morning. 
Although bearing a name of Irish origin, there was no doubt 



New Roads to Riches 

that Riley was a devoted subject of King George, the way he 
reeled off remarks about "His Majesty's Government," "His 
Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught," and other British 
royalty. Anyway, he was going for his biennial vacation in 
dear old London. We rode together to the flying field, which 
is miles from the city, in one of the most open of all open spaces 
on the Sabana y where the damp chilling winds have perfect 
access to your ankles. But then I could not tell whether the 
sudden siege of shivers was due to the climate or to the pros- 
pect of flying the mountains in bad weather. The sky was over- 
cast on the high Andean wall, while bilious-looking clouds were 
getting ready to roll down the outside and deluge the tropical 
lowlands. 

Herr Klotz, our smiling, blond German pilot, looked his tin 
bird over with the eye of an eagle contemplating a hypnotized 
sparrow. Sure of his machine, he next scanned the heavens in 
the direction of where the horizon should have been, but wasn't. 
Then shouted, "Vee go." 

Riley and I looked at each other, but said nothing. Somehow 
you never question or hesitate when a pilot tells you to get 
into a plane. Another fellow, with face as white as a sheet, and 
hands trembling, appeared from somewhere and climbed in 
beside us. He proved to be a tenderfoot making his first flight. 
What a day he had selected for his initiation! 

Herr Klotz "gave her the gun," and she rolled across the 
wind-swept Sabana and ascended into the soup. Up, up, up, 
and then nothing. The world below was only a memory. Riley 
and I glanced knowingly at each other. That is to say, we knew 
we were in a flying machine that had parted company with terra 
firma. Our companion sat like an ancient mummy, his coun- 
tenance frozen with fear. 

The motor roared and purredroared as it climbed, and 
purred as it kept on an even keel. For twenty minutes hours 
it seemed we floated in the milky firmament. Finally there 

[122] 



Colombia 

was a glimpse of Mother Earth and life became less tense. We 
zoomed down, only to discover we had returned to our start- 
ing place. 

Thirty minutes later came the crisp command, a Vee go." As 
meekly as lambs we responded, climbed into the machine to 
repeat the process, and twenty minutes later sat down again 
on the same windy field. 

For an hour and a half this time we watched the surging 
of the clouds. Finally a few more gallons of gasoline were 
added, and we were off once more. But minus our companion. 
He had taken thought, or taken flight, or both. 

This time there was no search for an aperture in the clouds. 
It was up and up 14,000 feet above sea level and out into the 
early morning sunshine. Below us was an ocean of clouds. In 
the distance a single snowy peak of the'Andes stood like a lone 
sentinel in a fantastic universe. 

We flew straight westward for fifteen minutes, to clear the 
mountains, then plunged into the boiling foam, with the hope 
of finding something in the lowlands of the Magdalena River. 
Fortunately we found it a narrow, crooked valley with a 
canopy of clouds suspended between the two high ridges. And 
if we had thought of the peaks we had missed getting down, 
we would not have had time to think of the perils now be- 
fore us. It was necessary to follow, like a fly in a water-pipe, 
down this valley to Girardot on the banks of the river, flying 
so low that the fronds of the palm trees flapped frantically in 
the wake of the plane. 

To say that it was a relief to be seated in the airport cafe 
with a couple of bottles of good German beer under my belt 
is to tax the word conservative. Nor is my admiration for the 
skill of Herr Klotz and his associates any the less, if I say that 
on my next trip to Bogota I shall leave the plane at Girardot 
and make my way leisurely by train or automobile the remain- 
ing 112 miles from "the hot country" to the Sab ana. In fact, 



New Roads to Riches 

I shall make the trip by automobile over the new modern high- 
way which is one important link in the projected Bogota- 
Medellfn road northward across the republic to the Gulf of 
Darien. 

A Colombian friend in Barranquilla once explained that 
when visiting Colombia "the only reason for travelling to 
Bogota is to see our monastic or secluded government which, 
geographically at least, is not of the country but quite apart 
from it. The President, the Congress, and the high courts, as 
well as the foreign diplomats, sit in their official box high on 
the mountains and look down upon us. Surrounded by a con- 
siderable portion, though by no means all of our social and 
cultural aristocracy, they wait for us of the lowlands to do 
the work of the nation, run its business and industry, develop 
its resources, and furnish the money to maintain them." 

Anyway, having observed the government, the high officials 
and the political world apart, I had, thanks to Herr Klotz, come 
down rather breathtakingly to "the hot country" to appraise, 
if not to see personally, all of Colombia's principal industries 
and riches, industries and riches enough to transform the land 
of the golden man into a new El Dorado. 

Colombia is the fourth largest of the ten South American 
countries, ranking after Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. It 
stretches nearly two thousand miles north and south at its great- 
est length, and at one place it is thirteen hundred miles wide. 
You could put our two prize states of Texas and California 
into it and have more than enough space left over for New 
Hampshire, New Jersey, and Delaware. For political pur- 
poses, it is divided up into fourteen states, intendendas and 
seven commissariats. The latter need suggest no Russian sig- 
nificance, since commissariats, or territorial divisions, existed 
in Colombia long before there were Soviets in Russia. 

Its lowland civilization lies principally between the three 
mountain ranges that traverse it and in the valleys of its two 



Colombia 

great rivers, the Magdalena and the Cauca, both of which rise 
in the far south, at the base of the 14,550-foot Mt. Sotara, 
near the old town of Popayan. The Cauca finally joins the 
Magdalena in the far north just before the latter reaches the 
sea at Barranquilla. The most highly developed region of 
Colombia lies principally in the Cauca Valley. Here are lo- 
cated the majority of its cities, Popayan and Cali in the far 
south, Manizales and Medellm in the central region. It is the 
home of the greater portion of the stock-raising, agricultural 
and mining developments, and others. The bulk of Colombian 
coffee comes from the states of Manizales and Medellm. 

On the other hand, except for the regions along the Carib- 
bean coast, the Magdalena Valley is virgin territory, not to 
say virgin jungle. At the same time it is the scene of what may 
be called Colombia's virgin industry. The middle stretches of 
the valley, like the lower basin of the Orinoco, are bubbling 
with oil. Just below Girardot around Honda, and La Dorada, 
the Shell Oil Company has been feverishly active in explora- 
tion work, with every indication that oil may be found in pay- 
ing quantities. 

However, the proven fields are farther north, the oldest 
around Barranca Bermeja, four hundred miles from the Carib- 
bean coast, where the Tropical Oil Company, the first company 
actually to produce oil in the republic, has already invested 
over sixty million dollars in wells, refineries, and pipe lines. It 
has opened up an industry in and for the country which did not 
exist before. This it did with United States capital and brains, 
and against odds which existed practically nowhere else in the 
world. Engineers, scientists and mechanics of this company 
went out into the heart of the sodden, steamy no-man's land, 
drilled wells, and built towns where no Colombian had ven- 
tured his money or his effort. They built a pipe line from these 
wells three hundred and thirty-five miles through the marshy 
jungle to the city of Cartagena on the coast. 



New Roads to Riches 

Once again an appreciation of the difficulties of getting Co- 
lombia's vast riches to the world's markets due to the lack of 
transportation and the absence of railroads or highways may 
be gained from the experience of this company in laying an 
eight-inch pipe line between Cartagena and its fields. Supplies, 
tools, living quarters and, most important of all, field hospitals 
had to be carried up the river on rafts the entire distance. When 
the cost was counted it figured more than $25,000,000. Even 
today, in spite of this tremendous investment, no other way 
exists by which officials or workmen may reach the Barranca 
Bermeja fields and refineries except by airplane or slow river 
steamer. 

Colombia insists that its people patronize native industry, 
and here again lack of transportation imposes excessive hard- 
ships. At present the only oil refinery in the country which, 
incidentally, makes Essolube and Ethylene, is the one at Ba- 
rranca Bermeja, about halfway between Bogota and Barran- 
quilla. In order for automobile owners in Cali, in southern 
Colombia, to get these products, they must be transported by 
barge four hundred miles to Barranquilla or Cartagena, shipped 
by way of the Panama Canal to the Pacific port of Buenaven- 
tura and by rail to Cali. By this time the cost is so great that 
it is like burning liquid gold in a machine which, also because 
of poor transportation into the interior, not to mention high 
tariffs, becomes a luxury so expensive that few but the wealthy 
can afford one. 

So far, considering the restrictions which the government 
has placed upon other foreign enterprise, the oil companies 
have been allowed to operate with comparative freedom, al- 
though neither the government nor the nation in general suf- 
fers from the bargain. Ten per cent of every drop of oil that 
comes out of the ground is handed over to the government. 
This she receives without spending a $eso or turning a hand. 
At the present rate of production this amounts to around 
5000 barrels a day. In addition to this she is given the use of 

[126] 



Colombia 

the pipe line, free of charge, for so many hours a day, to pump 
her own oil to market. Besides this the company and all its 
employees pay the government an income tax of eight per cent. 
At the same time it provides employment at high wages for 
about 4500 Colombians. 

Nor does the Colombian Government permit any exploita- 
tion of labor either by the oil or any other foreign companies. 
Some of the features of Colombian labor laws are even more 
unusual than those prevailing in Venezuela. In 1934-35, Con- 
gress passed what is called a the Private Employees Contract." 
A private employee is described as any employee not in of- 
ficial service and not a manual worker, but who performs work 
for some one else for a fixed remuneration, a participation in 
the profits, or any other form of compensation. The law re- 
quires that there must be a written contract between every 
such employee and his employer, that "the contract must be 
written on plain, unstamped paper in duplicate, and that both 
the employee and the employer must have copies." The con- 
tract must specify the exact kind of work the employee agrees 
to perform, the amount of remuneration he is to receive, and 
the manner in which it is to be paid and the time. It must set 
forth the exact duration of the contract and the causes under 
which it can be terminated. The contract must be accompanied 
by a health certificate signed by a doctor whom the employer 
selects and pays. In case any dispute arises between the con- 
tracting parties the contract itself becomes "complete evidence" 
of the various obligations. 

In cases where no contract has been written and signed, as 
provided by the law, the court "presumes that one has been 
executed in accordance with the law." The law goes on to point 
out that any foreign company operating within the country 
cannot and must not attempt to grant greater guarantees or 
advantages to foreign employees than it grants to Colombian 
employees under similar circumstances. 

However, apparently there is no fear upon the part of the 

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New Roads to Riches 

big companies that Colombia will be directly influenced by 
Mexico in its treatment of the oil industry. Additional millions 
are being poured into the development of new fields., refineries 
and pipe lines. Two new fields are already in production at 
Petrolea and Rio de Oro, over in that eastern strip of territory 
along the Venezuelan frontier. Geographically, of course, these 
new fields do not lie in the valley of the Magdalena. But, 
since patriotism and practical politics must be served, Colom- 
bian oil cannot be permitted to flow out to the world through 
alien territory, although it would be comparatively simple to 
lay a pipe line or even build a railroad and highway eastward 
down the mountains to Lake Maracaibo. Therefore, the product 
must be syphoned westward across the high Andean Cordillera 
down into the Magdalena lowlands and to the sea. 

Before going into all that, these new developments revive 
once again the stormy saga of one of the most famous of all 
oil concessions in Latin America. Way back in 1 900, after Co- 
lombia's last revolution, General Virgilio Barco, victor and 
hero in the conflict, returned to his native town of Cucuta, 
capital of the eastern state of Santander, now the frontier city 
on the new Bolfvar highway between Bogota and Caracas, 
Venezuela. Interested in cattle raising, which until then had 
been the principal industry in this eastern region^ the General 
set about to develop new markets. The northern cities of Ba- 
rranquilla and Cartagena of course constituted one of the largest 
meat markets in the country. But at the same time there had 
been no way of transporting or even driving cattle to them 
from Cucuta. With help from the government and the co- 
operation of the local cattlemen he began hacking a cattle 
trail through the jungle-covered mountains to the Magdalena 
River, down which they could be shipped by steamer. 

Work progressed and the General's enthusiasm grew. New 
markets and new wealth loomed before him, when suddenly 
the picture changed. He ran on to mysterious seepings along 



Colombia 

the headwaters of a river that flows northeastward toward the 
basin of Lake Maracaibo. Ah, oil and gas for the lamps of 
Colombia, not to mention the pockets of the General. He 
rushed to Bogota, where his prestige as saviour of the country 
was still strong enough to win for him a vast concession cov- 
ering the area of his discovery. Next he began a long pil- 
grimage to North America and that citadel of light and lubri- 
cation among the minarets of steel and concrete on Lower 
Manhattan Island. To be specific, he was bound for the holy 
of holies, on an upper floor at 26 Broadway, where he would 
be greeted by none other than John D. Rockefeller himself. 

Alas, nobody at 26 Broadway knew him or had ever heard 
of the Ulysses S. Grant of Colombia, South America. Besides, 
as one attache of the citadel has since said, "He was the fun- 
niest-looking old codger I ever saw. He wore a strange comic 
opera outfit, and, though he acted as if Mr. Rockefeller himself 
should have met him on the sidewalk below, he couldn't even 
talk English so we could understand him. Naturally we had 
to throw him out." 

This act later caused misgivings upon the part of many a 
Standard Oil mogul, for General Barco soon found a welcome 
among other groups. No one with oil on his fingers, no matter 
how funny his dress or attitude, could long escape the clutches 
of the smart gentlemen of Wall Street. They wined him, dined 
him and dickered with him, no doubt until his brain was addled 
and his constitution undermined from the excitement. Anyway, 
at last he sold three quarters of his concession for what was to 
them a song, but fortunately to him a sufficiency, and made 
his way back to his homeland to live and die in peace. 

Then began the usual orgy of speculation, a succession of 
sales and transfers that would confuse the mind of a card 
shark. The boys who frisked the old man so successfully formed 
an operating company, that is, a company to operate in Wall 
Street, which it did with considerable success. They sold three 



New Roads to Riches 

quarters of their three quarters of the General's concession to 
the Cities Service Company. The Cities Service Company in 
turn formed the Colombian Petroleum Company, which sold 
the contract to Andrew Mellon's South American Gulf Oil 
Company. In 1926, to the consternation of all, from the Gen- 
eral to Andrew Mellon, the Colombian Government cancelled 
the whole concession. This act was followed by a long period 
of wrangling, name-calling, and negotiations, until the reti- 
cent magnate of Pittsburgh, already a mighty force in Wash- 
ington, and, according to conservative Republicans, "the great- 
est Secretary of the Treasury since Hamilton," brought his 
ingenuity, not to say pressure, to bear on Colombian diplomats. 
Finally a new agreement under a new name was effected, and 
ratified by the Colombian Congress. 

If the transactions that preceded the cancellation of the con- 
cession constituted a trading orgy, what followed the ratifica- 
tion of the new contract was a trafficking nightmare. Mr. 
Mellon's Gulf Oil Corporation immediately sold its interest 
in the South American Gulf Oil Company, which held seventy- 
nine per cent interest in the Colombian Petroleum Company, 
to the Texas Corporation and Socony- Vacuum for the tidy sum 
of $12,500,000. "The profit from this," says one observer of 
the proceedings, "in a way compensated Mr. Mellon for his 
personal handling of the matter and left to him a little pin 
money with which to salve his conscience by building art gal- 
leries and memorials in his declining years." 

After taking over the Mellon interest, the Socony- Vacuum 
and Texas Corporation then went foraging for the holdings of 
General Barco's original benefactors which they found in the 
portfolios of the Colombian Petroleum Company, and suc- 
ceeded in acquiring for $2,500,000. All of which about cancels 
the horrible blunders of the attaches of 26 Broadway who 
in a manner of speaking "threw the funny old codger from 
the jungles of South America out on his ear." 



Colombia 

The concession is to run for fifty years from the date it was 
ratified by the Colombian Congress. After that it reverts to 
the nation. Royalties and other conditions of the contract are 
similar to those governing the operations of the Tropical Com- 
pany. 

If by now any one is still interested, the trading having gone 
on long enough for a large army of bankers, high-powered 
economists, lawyers, counsellors and fixers to grease their 
pockets, not to mention explorers, experts and engineers who 
furnished the facts and probably received a pittance, the famed 
Barco concession at last is a liquid reality, and a booming 
bonanza. 

By May of 1939 thirty-odd wells with an eventual capacity 
of 70,000 barrels a day were already in operation in the Pe- 
trolea field. At Rio de Oro, thirty-five miles away, there were 
half a dozen producing 10,000 barrels a day. A $12,000,000 
twelve-inch pipe line, two hundred and sixty miles long, was 
practically completed. It is estimated that $40,000,000 were 
spent before a single barrel of oil found its way into a market. 

The physical problems and difficulties encountered in de- 
veloping these new fields approach the historic feat of old 
Quesada himself. The oil fields themselves are not only lo- 
cated in one of the most inaccessible spots of the South American 
jungle, to which the drilling machinery, equipment, and sup- 
plies had to be transported by airplane, but it is a region in- 
fested by the fierce Motilones, the wildest and most unfriendly 
Indians left on the Continent. 

Since the earliest Spaniards invaded New Granada the Mo- 
tilones have taken toll of every party of palefaces that has 
attempted to contact them or invade their secluded homeland. 
In fact, few white men have ever actually contacted them or 
even seen them except from airplanes. The first evidence of 
their presence is usually made known by a shower of arrows 
with poison darts Dropelled by powerful bows, or shot from 

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New Roads to Riches 

six- to ten-foot blow-guns, or long hollow reeds. About all 
that any one knows, who has looked down upon them from 
the air, is that they live in great palm-thatched communal 
houses that stand in small clearings here and there. The aerial 
observers estimate that some of these houses will accommodate 
as many as one hundred men, women, and children. 

To fly into the middle of nowhere, establish a camp and 
surround it with protection is one thing, but to venture afield 
on exploration trips with safety is another. No less than a dozen 
explorers, prospectors, and engineers have been known to lose 
their lives since white men became interested in the oil de- 
posits of this region. 

I have mentioned the difficulties that confronted the Trop- 
ical Oil Company in the laying of its pipe line from Barranca 
Bermeja to Cartagena. That was a simple matter compared 
with laying this new pipe line from Petrolea to the sea. The 
Tropical line follows more or less north and south along the 
Magdalena River. The new one has been laid entirely over- 
land from east to west across the Sierra de Peri j a, the northern 
backbone of the Andes. The lowest pass in this range reaches 
an altitude of more than 5000 feet. To force the oil from the 
field and over the top, three powerful pumping stations are 
required in a distance of seventy miles. From there it plunges 
the remaining one hundred and ninety miles right down the 
mountains across the valleys of the Magdalena and the Cauca 
to Puerto Covenas, on the Gulf of Morrosquillo. The terminus 
is near the Port of Tolu, from which comes the famed balsam 
of Tolu. To eclipse the feat of laying the pipe line, the com- 
panies, to comply with another provision of the concession, 
must next begin constructing a parallel highway from Petrolea 
to the Magdalena Valley. 

Thus in spite of engineering difficulties and expense, in 
spite of wild men and arrows with poison darts that have baffled 
white men for four hundred years, the relentless machinery and 



Colombia 

genius of twentieth-century industrialism is pushing back the 
jungle, scaling the mountains, and bringing the riches of Co- 
lombia to the markets of the world. The bankers, economists, 
and oil experts predict that within five years oil production 
will become the chief industry of Colombia, and make it the 
third oil-producing nation of the entire hemisphere. 

Oil is. the only major industry in Colombia which has been 
developed entirely under foreign leadership and direction as 
well as by foreign capital. Going to the opposite extreme, 
emerald mining in Colombia constitutes a government monop- 
oly entirely under government operation. Significantly enough, 
in the opinion of many natives this industry presents a shining 
example of the lack of native administrative ability. It justifies 
the suggestions made in President Santos's paper, El T tempo, 
that what Colombia most needs "is fewer politicians and more 
people trained to operate business and industry." In fact, two 
years ago it was pointed out in an editorial in El Ti&mpo 
that "In ten years the Muzo and Coscuez emerald mines cost 
the government 1,640,000 persos while they produced only 
283,000 pesos' worth of emeralds." 

Although foreigners have not been excluded from them, 
private Colombian capital and Colombian citizens have usually 
dominated the live stock, agricultural, platinum and gold-min- 
ing activities. However, these activities belong principally to 
another valley and therefore to another chapter. 



V 

The Gold Trees of Antioquia 



BOGOTA is the seat of national government planted high 
and remote on the Andes above the Magdalena. Medellm is 
the capital of the State of Antioquia, the secluded metropolis 
of business and industry nestling peacefully in a green valley 
a little way from the Cauca. Bogota is a land of perpetual 
autumn where fever germs and the winged pests of the tropics 
find life overly strenuous, a land full of health and buoyant 
airs where you sleep under blankets. In Medellm spring is 
eternal. There may be cool nights but there are always warm 
and sometimes hot days. A man can sweat, and get thirsty. In 
Bogota there are politicians and poets, both actors, who like 
the parts they play, but who take life and themselves very 
seriously. Medellafios work, not too hard, but they work, drive 
a bargain upon occasion, laugh at the world and even them- 
selves. I vote Medellm. 

Although Medellm is the second city in size, by land it is 
even more remote from the world than Bogota. To reach it 
comfortably, it is necessary to fly there from Bogota, from 
Barranquilla, or directly from Panama. That is, you may fly 
from east, west or north until you are directly above it. Then 
you must spiral down to it, since it is completely surrounded 
by mountains. If you insist upon the hard way, you can go by 
boat from up or down the Magdalena to Puerto Berrio. There 

[134] 



Colombia 

you take a train that worms its way by hairpin curves, tunnels, 
and switchbacks one hundred and fourteen miles over the 
mountain range that separates the Magdalena and the Cauca 
valleys. In the dry season you can be fairly certain of getting 
there within a day. In the wet season you only hope. Some 
portion of a mountain may go sliding down into the depths 
below just ahead of you. 

Anyway, after following the oil story up and down the Mag- 
dalena, I found it just as convenient to go by steamer from 
Barranquilla to Cristobal and the Canal Zone, then fly di- 
rectly in two hours by the Pan-American short line. It was 
just as convenient, but I confess that one of the chief reasons 
for taking this route was the certainty of finding Don Gonzalo 
Mejia at the airport* 

Don Gonzalo is a promoter of business enterprises, of com- 
munications, friendships, and good will not merely for himself, 
but for his friends, his city, and his country. He is the Grover 
Whalen of Antioquia. And the airline from Panama and Cris- 
tobal to the Antioquian capital is one of his promotions. He 
journeyed all the way to New York to convince Pan-American 
officials that even if they did have lines operating clear around 
the continent and along the Colombian coast, they couldn't 
afford to neglect the most unique city in South America. They 
could not have resisted his arguments even if they had wanted 
to. So in record time the "Umca," his fellow townsmen dubbed 
it, was shuttling back and forth. Week in and week out, whether 
the skies are clear or pouring down torrential sheets of rain, 
Don Gonzalo will be on hand to greet passengers and crew. 

Nor can you miss him even if you never have seen him 
before. Officials and friends in Cristobal will have told you 
about him, described him in detail, his six feet three inches 
and 220 pounds of soldierly erectness, his command of Yankee 
English and slang, his fabulous sense of humor, the smile that 
rivals a sunrise over a dewy meadow in its effects on the people 

[135] 



New Roads to Riches 

and atmosphere around him, as well as his unbridled hos- 
pitality. 

Clerks in the Washington Hotel at Cristobal will have re- 
lated with chuckles the story of Gonzalo's first visit to Mexico 
of how he fell in love with the very first Chihuahua he met, 
and the tender solicitude of the Colombian giant for the tiniest 
of all species of the canine world. After being flown in one day 
from its io,ooo-foot Mexico City habitat down to sea level, 
the poor creature was prostrated from the Panamanian heat 
and humidity. Fortunately the prostration was not fatal, or 
the course of Don Gonzalo's life might have been altered. It 
is still a favored and privileged member of the Mejia house- 
hold in Medellm. 

From the plane we went directly to the Union Club, an 
ancient two-story structure on a narrow street with a high iron 
fence in front, a courtyard paved with priceless old Spanish 
tiles, and a succession of dining rooms and banquet halls 
stretching backward from the entrance. "We are lunching here 
today," he told me, "so that you may taste without delay 
Filet Antioqueno and what all Yankees insist is the poorest 
coffee in the world." And the filet was something to record in 
historytender, juicy, with a flavor that has lingered. Even 
now I can smell its aroma and my palate is tingling. But the 
coffee: after that first cup it was never difficult to choose be- 
tween the beverages suggested by the respective electric signs 
on the two cafes across the street from my hotel. "Bueno Hasta 
La Ultima Gota," good to the last drop, flashed one. "Cervaza 
Pilsen," winked the other. I choose Pilsen. 

"You see, our filets," Don Gonzalo suggested as we left the 
table, "are like the best of wines, of ancient vintage. In this 
valley the cattle are of the very first stock, the Orijinerros. 
They were brought over by the earliest settlers over two hun- 
dred and fifty years ago, and have been kept absolutely pure. 
Since then not a single cow of another breed has been brought 

[136] 



Colombia 

into the valley. Besides., the succulent grasses are highly flavored 
by the unusually salty volcanic soil, peculiar to this region, not 
to mention the pure rain waters that trickle down from the 
high mountain tops. But the coffee growers, you see, after the 
fashion of the orange growers of Florida and California, send 
their best coffee beans abroad." 

And then, according to ancient custom we went our separate 
ways, he to his house and I to my hotel for the daily siesta. 
I had hardly dozed when a clamor in the streets below caused 
me to rush to the window to see what I felt sure must be the 
latest revolution, but which turned out to be thousands of 
students demonstrating against new decrees from the Federal 
Department of Education, adding an extra year to the courses 
of the local schools. Without the completion of this extra year, 
said the decree, no one could enter the National Universities. 
To the proud boys and girls of Medellin this was not only a 
cruel imposition, but one more affront, not to say indignity, 
from "those common hombres on the other side of the river," 
meaning the people as well as the officials of Bogota. The 
rivalry between the Medellanos and Bogotanos, or I should 
say the contempt of the former for the latter, begins to develop 
in the cradle. 

After youth had marched on I returned to bed and to sleep, 
only to be brought suddenly to consciousness once again by 
loud voices from the bar at the end of the hall. A tall, black- 
haired Texan lad, on vacation from the Shell Oil Company 
prospecting gang down at Honda, on the Magdalena, "aged 
twenty-three and no woman hater," he said, was arguing with 
the barkeeper about the "foolish customs of the country," 
aided and abetted by a bottle of Scotch which was gradually 
gaining the upper hand. 

"Why I should have signed up for three years and come 
down here to this country I don't know," he exclaimed. "I 
wouldn't mind it so much if I could go out with the girls here 

[137] 



New Roads to Riches 

just like any other human being, and they are gorgeous, mind 
you. But, think of it, if you take one to the movies you have 
got to have the whole family along. What a hell of a custom!" 

But customs in these matters are strict. They are old Span- 
ish. Medellfn is old Spanish America, the only genuine Spanish 
America on the Continent. From the aristocrat to the lowliest 
peons of the countryside all are white. No Indians or Negroes 
have penetrated this valley. The people, like the cattle, are 
the original stock, mostly from the ancient Basque country. 
Even those not of the Spanish race are Spanish in character, 
custom and religion. All are devout Catholics, especially the 
Spanish Jews. Medellfn, it is said, is not only a Spanish but 
a Jewish city. Yet only an anthropologist would be convinced. 
With rare exceptions, even the names offer no clue. 

San Pedro at Medellfn is the finest, most aristocratic and 
exclusive Catholic cemetery in the republic. It is a great cam- 
panile, with snow-white columns where natives and aristocrats 
sleep tier upon tier around the circle. In the center a few 
families maintain their own mausoleums or tombs. The most 
imposing is that of the Catadavids, an aristocratic Jewish family, 
long prominent and influential in both Bogota and Medellfn. 

But the most striking gravestone marks the last resting place 
of one of the Colombian immortals, Jorge Isaacs. Although 
born and raised on a hacienda near the city of Call, in the upper 
Cauca Valley, his last request was that he be buried at Medellfn. 
Of all the poets and authors of Latin America the name Jorge 
Isaacs is the most famous. At least, he wrote the greatest 
Colombian novel, Maria, the best-selling book ever published 
in all the region between the Rio Grande and Cape Horn. 
Maria is a superb picture of devout Catholic-Jewish home life 
in Colombia. As a best seller, Gone With the Wind was in the 
small-time class. More than eight million copies of the Colom- 
bian novel have been sold in Spanish America alone, while it 
has been translated into dozens of foreign languages. Yet the 

[138] 



Colombia 

artist who chiselled Jorge's likeness on the headstone of his 
tomb relieved him of every Semitic feature. In stone he has 
taken on the facial features and mustache of that classic and 
noble old Scotsman, the late Arthur Balfour. 

Custom and the Catholic faith make big families and indus- 
triousness popular even among the intellectuals of Medellm. 
Seventy-year-old Don Juan de La Posada, patriarch and elderly 
statesman of the valley, is a graduate of the University of 
California. He and his charming wife find supreme happiness 
in their seventeen living children, all of whom are married, 
prosperous and prominent in the business and professional life 
of the city. 

Having founded and built up several of the large industries 
of Antioquia, including the enormous factory of the Colombian 
Tobacco Company, makers of Pilrojas, the Chesterfields of 
Colombia, and other Colombian cigarettes, Doctor Posada has 
long since retired from strenuous activity. Today he merely 
spends three days a week in the saddle at his cattle ranch 
along the Cauca, and two more days lecturing at the University, 
where serious young men, loafers and dandies alike crowd his 
classes and hang on his words. Another day he spends looking 
after his business affairs, preparing his lectures and writing on 
philosophical, financial, social, political and other subjects. Sun- 
day he spends going to church and visiting with his children. 
Simple, unassuming, sincere, convincing, he is overflowing 
with good humor, seasoned wisdom and a gracious philosophy. 
He typifies the substantial citizen of this remote Colombian city. 

If you forget the surroundings, the houses, the furniture, 
the pictures on the walls, the bric-a-brac on the tables and 
shelves, the churches and the family customs, Medellm might 
be Boston, Baltimore or San Francisco. In business, conversa- 
tion, and intellectual interest the people are thoroughly cos- 
mopolitan. But the atmosphere and the environment in which 
they live is that of old Spain. As an example, there is Andalucia, 



New Roads to Riches 

the home of Don Gonzalo's sister, Sefiora Amalia Mejia de 
Botero, in an old country village down the valley from Medel- 
1m. Stop your car before great wooden doors in a high white- 
washed adobe wall on the main street, push the bell and wait, 
Eventually the doors swing slowly open, and you gaze down a 
long avenue of giant trees, an avenue that leads through several 
acres of orchards, carpeted with brilliant flowers in every color 
of the rainbow* At the end of the avenue is a low Moorish arch 
with a cross above it, like the entrance to an old Spanish mission. 
Pass under this and you are in the outer courtyard of a dream 
house, a house that remains just as it was when built over two 
hundred years ago. Modern conveniences of every description 
have been installed but they have been carefully camouflaged. 

To the right of the entrance is the drawing-room 5 chairs, 
chests and tables of exquisitely carved hardwoods, candelabra 
of hand-beaten silver and priceless paintings by old Spanish 
masters. On the left and quite separate from the remainder of 
the house, is a large room with a giant canopied four-poster 
bed, boggy, thick carpets and every masculine fixture and 
trinket, the bedroom of the master of the house. His women- 
folk, in the manner of ancient Spanish households, occupy 
smaller rooms across the patio. 

In this house it seems strange to find every one talking 
English, the ladies smoking cigarettes, and the men drinking 
regular Scotch highballs from enormous old silver goblets, and 
discussing Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, the recent offerings from 
Hollywood and the New York and London stock quotations. 
One seiiorita insisted upon giving me her reactions to many of 
our latest, as well as some of our raciest novels. She liked the 
historical ones best. 

Medellanos travelto Europe and North America. Whether 
they study abroad or at home they learn other languages, and 
especially English. "English," volunteered Don Gonzalo, "is 
our second language. Anyway, it is the commercial language. 



Colombia 

Twenty years from now most people in Latin America will 
speak English and I should think many of your people would 
speak Spanish." 

Wherever I have gone I found them, young and old, able 
to converse in my own tongue, much better than I could con- 
verse in theirs. 

Leading business and professional men commute by air be- 
tween Medellfn and Manhattan. Meeting them for lunch at the 
Country Club is like meeting the leading business and profes- 
sional men of Omaha, Tulsa or Denver at the Country Club. 
They talk about cattle raising, coffee growing, oil production 
and mining. I have listened to Luciano Restrepo and Mejia 
discuss the relative importance of oil and coffee to Colombian 
economy, while Daniel Pelaes, proprietor of the famous San 
Andres Gold Mine, was outlining to Ingeniero Alberto Jara- 
millo Sanchez the latest developments in the gold-mining in- 
dustry. And, if I had closed my eyes, it would have been hard 
to believe I was in Colombia instead of the United States. 

Along with oil and coffee, one of the three major native 
industries in Colombia is gold mining. Antioquia is the largest 
gold-mining center in South America. If gold figures are in 
order, between 1932 and 1937 Antioquia's 500 mines produced 
exactly 1,138,746 fine ounces of the yellow metal, more than 
fifty-five per cent of the total Colombian production. It may be 
added that fifty-seven per cent of this output was financed by 
foreign capital. Other leading production centers are in the 
departments, or states of Caldes and Cauca, both in the Cauca 
Valley south of Antioquia, and the territory of Choco which 
lies along the Pacific. 

When I expressed to Don Gonzalo a desire to see some of 
this gold, he said: 

"We will just go over to the mint." 

We crossed a shady plaza, turned down a side street and 
entered the arched doorway of an old Spanish colonial building. 

[HI] 



New Roads to Riches 

"No, we don't need any guards," he explained, when I ex- 
pressed surprise that the great door stood wide open to the 
public. "Gold is a very common object here, and besides, it 
would be difficult for any one to get over the mountains and out 
of the country with any considerable amount." 

In a large room opening on a grassy patio two men sat 
at desks. When our wishes were made known one of them 
motioned us toward an inner room, where gold bars were 
stacked about the floor. One stack contained $1,500,000 worth 
of the newly mined metal. 

"But all Antioquia's gold does not come out of the ground," 
Don Gonzalo reminded me, "It grows on trees as well our 
golden coffee beans." 

"And coffee growing," I assured him, "is what I actually 
came to see." 

So at daybreak one bright morning we set out for La Amalia, 
one of the largest and finest coffee haciendas in the Cauca Valley. 
We travelled via the "Graveyard of Antioquia," the burial 
ground of millions of United States dollars, as well as Colom- 
bian workmen the Ferrocarril de Amaga. This eighty-mile sec- 
tion of the Antioquia railroads, which operates by main strength 
and awkwardnessbetween Medellm and the coffee and 
cattle districts along the river was built by means of money 
raised from bonds sold in the United States and long since 
defaulted. "They spent all the money they could get," says an 
old Yankee resident of Colombia, "as much as $100,000 a 
mile, and then damned the Yankees for lending it to them." 

But it is a friendly railroad. Signs in the locally built pas- 
senger cars, cars with springs and shock absorbers that neither 
spring nor absorb, read: "Sefior Conductor, your duty is to 
serve the passengers. Keep it in mind and see that you do it." 
Whether, as I suspect, it was the presence of Mejia, a person- 
ality in the community, or whether it was the printed injunction, 
our conductor was the soul of courtesy. He always smiled reas- 



Colombia 

suringly when I braced myself and clutched the seat to avoid 
being pitched against the opposite side of the car, or maybe 
through the glass window, as the train suddenly careened around 
a curve at what usually seemed like an angle of forty-five 
degrees, or after speeding down the face of a mountain, stopped 
short with a sudden jerk in the middle of a spindly legged 
trestle over a bottomless cavern. 

At every stop people crowded the station, milled in and 
out of the train, greeting friends and relatives. In these moun- 
tain-locked valleys, every one, especially every peasant, seems 
to be related to every one else. And somewhat contrary to the 
attitude of the Anglo-Saxon, the Latin peasant treasures his 
friends and relatives instead of avoiding them. Even though 
barefooted and their pants a crazy quilt of patches, they all 
smiled, laughed and joked, opened their carrieles and shared 
their cigarettes and knickknacks. The carnele is an institution 
in this region. A little accordion-like satchel, with many com- 
partments, swung by a long strap over the shoulder, it serves 
as a carrier for everything imaginable, tobacco, food, money, 
trinkets and valuables. No peon is ever without one. 

We left the train near Venecia, fifty miles from Medellin, 
and drove back into the hills, to our destination, arriving just 
in time for lunch. Dona Amalia Madrinan de Marquez, the 
aged matriarch of the plantation, greeted us personally. Quiet, 
gentle, shy, Dona Amalia looks the part of the typical Spanish 
grandmother, the sweet old lady who sits in the corner knitting 
while others do the talking. But in her case nothing could be 
more deceptive. Her career proves that one should never 
believe that Spanish-American women are helpless, unable to 
take care of themselves, their families and their properties, if 
it becomes necessary. 

Dona Amalia, a member of one of the old and artistocratic 
families of Medellin, and her young husband came to this 
virgin valley in 1888, cleared the land and established the 



New Roads to Riches 

plantation. Hardly had it begun bearing when he died, leaving 
her a widow with several small children. Instead of returning 
to the home of her family, as is usually the custom, she took 
charge of affairs herself. She put on pants, literally as well as 
figuratively, buckled a revolver around her waist, got astride 
a mule, and rode up on the hillsides and directed the workmen 
herself, making a tremendous success of what her husband had 
so well begun. 

Dona Amalia was very sad the day we arrived. She was 
grief-stricken over the loss of her only son, an eccentric old 
bachelor who left behind him a plantation house of such 
complicated architecture that it could have been designed only 
after a severe nightmare. It consists of Roman arches, Moorish 
windows, Greek columns and Turkish fountains. His bedroom 
was built on stilts, or tall columns, and his bathroom was an 
overhanging balcony with full-length double French windows 
on three sides. The walls were done in deep orange, the tub 
was of robin blue mounted on a raised dais, while the stool 
had a pink lid. On the offside, of course, but to Dona Amalia 
he was the son of a Latin mother, and that means that sane or 
crazy he was next to the gods. 

a lt is so lonely without him," she said as we sat down to the 
table. And if Don Gonzalo, realizing that we might become 
hopelessly involved in a family tragedy, hadn't maneuvered^ 
the conversation so cleverly, I should never have found out 
the ingredients of some of the dishes served us, particularly the 
Masamorra and the Arenas. Human tragedy may be the same, 
whether in Colombia or Hoboken, but Masamorra and Arenas 
are found only in Antioquia. Yet they would be equally at home 
in Georgia or Iowa. Therefore, why not Masamorra and Arenas? 
The base of both these tropical delicacies is corn. The Arenas 
are nothing more than a glorified species of old Southern 
corn dodgers. Sprinkle a portion of salt into extra fine powdery 
ground corn meal, add just enough water to make it stick, knead 



Colombia 

it as you would to make flour biscuits, except more so, say until 
the arm is limp, roll it into tiny round balls, bake them until 
the crust is brown and crisp, serve red hot, with butter, and the 
world immediately takes on new interest. For variation, you 
may mix Parmesan cheese with the meal and you have cheese 
balls, or bunuelos. If you boil the whole grains of fresh corn, 
not on the cob, until thoroughly tender, then serve with a piece 
of $aneU) the native hard, candylike sugar, which in Venezuela 
we called $a$el6n> you would either like Maswnona, or you 
would not. I did! 

Anyway, my muleback tour of the plantation was much easier 
after I had taken on several portions of Masamorra and several 
Arenas. In fact, it requires a heavy diet to stay in the saddle 
as you climb up and down the steep, almost perpendicular 
hillsides. That is, if you are outfitted according to native re- 
quirements, and again custom is law. The saddle must be 
fastened on with grupas, a special harness anchored fore and 
aft to prevent sliding forward or backward according to the 
tilt at which you are climbing or descending. You must wear 
zamorros, full-length leather or heavy padded canvas chaps 
drawn on over your pants. Then hook on a pair of estribos, or 
stirrups made of stiff leather or metal in size more suitable for 
riding an elephant than a mule. If you are barefoot, as all the 
workmen usually are, they prove a bit bunglesome. But booted, 
or barefoot, one doesn't ride forth without estrlbos. 

On the subject of going barefoot, the barefoot workmen at 
La Amalia interested me. For that matter, barefoot workmen 
all over Colombia and Latin America, whether Indians, Ne- 
groes, Mestizos or Sambos, interest me. But the barefoot An- 
tioqueno, with his pure white blood, his rosy fair skin, his brown 
or gray, and sometimes blue eyes, fills me with sadness. His 
rightful heritage entitles him to something better. But how can 
he afford it? Throughout the coffee country of Antioquia he 
receives an average of fifty-five or sixty centavos and a piece 

[145] 



New Roads to Riches 

of fanela for a day's labor. He is usually provided with a 
one-room house for himself and family, and occasional access to 
a doctor of sorts. He is welcome to the plantains and bananas 
on the place and he may have a garden and a few chickens. 
When coffee-gathering time comes he is paid on a different 
scale, about eight centavos for every three-and-a-half-pound 
basketful of coffee beans he picks. And yet he smiles. He even 
takes pride in La Amalia, pride in its fame, the fact that its 
product is at a premium in far-off Estados Unidos. 

La Amalia occupies an ideal terrain, almost a round bowl 
with hills sloping gradually upward on all sides. The bottom 
lands are planted in sugar cane for the making of yanela, while 
the hillsides are a mass of coffee bushes with their protecting 
shrubbery and trees. 

Coffee bushes are kept trimmed and dwarfed so that they 
average four to five feet high. They must not be exposed too 
openly to the hot tropical sun. In fact, the sunlight must be 
diffused so that the cherries or berries, each containing two 
coffee beans, may mature and ripen uniformly. For this reason 
other shrubbery and trees with spreading foliage must grow 
along with them. A variety of plants are used for this purpose, 
according to the location and the viewpoint of the farmer him- 
self. The $inon tree with its umbrella top, something like the 
saman tree of Venezuela, and long a favorite, is now thought 
to be too tall. It allows too much sun to spill through. Cambulo 
trees are used extensively in some sections of the country, but 
not in this particular section. The guamo > lower and more shady 
than the pnon, along with the durazno y which grows more 
quickly than any of the others, are predominant at La Amalia, 
while banana trees are always thrown in for good measure. 

Proper shading, and, therefore, regulation of sunlight is 
but one of the conditions contributing to the flavor and quality 
of coffee. Too much humidity or too little is bad. Colombia's 
alternating dry and rainy seasons, each of about the same dura- 



Colombia 

tion, is a special boon. Proper elevation or altitude is also 
important. Finally, Antioquia's soil, "the salty volcanic ash," 
which we are told lends flavor to the filets, also gives the 
proper tang to the coffee beans. 

When coffee cherries have ripened, shrivelled and been 
picked, they are placed in large concrete vats to soak in water 
until the pulp is soft and easily removed. Then the beans are 
spread out in the sunshine on broad concrete floors until thor- 
oughly dry. After that they are polished and graded by ma- 
chinery, and then regraded by hand, according to size and 
color, and the best grades shipped to the United States. 

"And there you have it," Gonzalo Mejia reminded me, "the 
reason you get better coffee in New York, Boston or Chicago 
than we do in Medellm." 

Whether in reality this is the reason I wouldn't pretend to 
say. I do know that Dona Amalia's coffee tasted no better than 
that served at the Union Club in Medellm. I also know that 
the most delicious coffee I ever drank in the United States 
was made of Colombian beans. 

It was in the dead of winter. I had gone from Boston to a 
small town upstate to spend the week end. Snow was three feet 
deep on the ground and icicles hung from every tree. I got 
the wrong train, missed a connection, but finally, chilled to the 
bone, arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. I went to bed to thaw. 
They sent up a pot of coffee. As I drank it my tongue tingled 
with pure delight. "Still anything would taste like nectar under 
the circumstances," I said to myself. But next day it tasted 
just the same, and the next day. And I spoke to my hostess 
about it. "Ah," she said, "this coffee is bought in the green 
beans just as it comes from Colombia. I put it in small cloth 
sacks (about a pound in each) and hang it up in the pantry to 
dry for a year. At the end of a year I begin to use it. I roast 
the beans slowly, in small quantities, until they are a deep 
brown. Then I pulverize them instead of grinding them. 

[147] 



New Roads to Riches 

(Hark back to Venezuelan Cafe Agwra$ado.) I put the pul- 
verized coffee in a canton flannel bag, which is fastened to a 
metal ring that will fit over the top of a pot. I pour freshly 
boiled water through it and serve at once." 

The coffee industry in Colombia has grown into the highly 
scientific business it is today because United States coffee roasters 
began years ago to use Colombian coffee for blending purposes. 
Seventy-five per cent of all our coffee comes from Brazil. But 
a certain amount of mild coffee from the Colombian highlands 
is usually mixed with larger amounts of stronger Brazilian 
coffee, with the result that today there is hardly a coffee 
distributing company which does not utilize both Brazilian and 
Colombian coffee in the same blends. Because of this Colombia 
finds a ready and regular market in this country for some 
400,000,000 pounds of coffee every twelve months. 

Anyway, coffee growing and the making of good coffee 
constitute serious business, just as serious as the growing, 
shipping and ripening of bananas. Because of the location, con- 
tent of the soil, moisture and amount of sunlight at one plan- 
tation the flavor of the beans may be entirely different from 
those grown on another plantation three miles away, 

We buy one half of all Colombia's coffee output and, as in 
the case of the "bananas we import from the fields of Santa 
Marta, the government charges an export tax, yet it pays no 
entrance fee, no import tax, when it gets to New York, New 
Orleans or San Francisco. Besides coming in free, it sells for 
cash. Much has been said about our high tariffs, about the pro- 
hibitive duties we impose upon the products of other countries. 
On this score Colombia has no room for complaint. But the few 
things which we are able to sell Colombia, and which are be- 
coming fewer all the while, must pay about the highest tariffs 
that you can find this side of a tariff-maker's paradise. Some one 
has said that Colombia's present tariff laws make Messrs. 
Hawley and Smoot look more like free traders than the arch- 
protectionists they were. 



Colombia 

"But you won't find many Antioquenos defending tariffs/' 
according to Gonzalo Mejia. "It is the Bogota government 
and those people on the other side of the river." 

On the way down from La Amalia we met Doctor Posada 
and a friend returning from a visit to the Cauca Valley, and for 
hours I listened to a thrilling discussion of the tariff and other 
related subjects. 

"I come from Cartagena," Doctor Posada's friend remarked. 
"On the coast we have no problems in transportation. But 
because of high tariffs Chesterfield cigarettes sell for thirty 
and thirty-five cents a pack. A tiny cake of Palmolive soap costs 
twenty-five cents 5 Carnation milk for babies thirty cents, and 
imported butter $1.40 a pound, while a small can of peaches 
costs forty cents to fifty cents." 

"Ah," Doctor Posada chimed in, "in Medellfn they would 
cost much more. Anyway, these are luxuries affecting only you 
and me. It is the peons that suffer most because of high tariffs. 
We don't produce enough rice in this country to supply our 
needs, yet imported and native rice is sold for ten cents a 
pound when it should not be more than five cents. Beans sell 
for eight cents a poundj they should be four cents. Corn is 
equally expensive. Lack of proper diet is depleting the vitality 
of our people. Medellanos go barefoot because there are no 
cheap shoes, and there are no cheap shoes because the tariff on 
shoes is prohibitive. Therefore, hookworm and thus human 
deterioration. High tariffs are ruining the country. Thus in the 
end we are in danger of becoming a degenerated race." 

"But here," says Gonzalo Mejia, "you meet the greatest 
problem in this country, the lack of transportation, the need 
for roads." 

No matter what subject or problem is under discussion, Don 
Gonzalo will show you how it could be solved by more roads, 
better transportation and communication. He is Colombia's 
highway apostle. 

"We can't get our products out of the country without per- 

[H9] 



New Roads to Riches 

forming miracles," he went on. "Every bag of coffee leaving 
Antioquia must travel one way. From La Amalia it travels by 
truck or mule to the railroad, which takes it to Medellfn. From 
the station it goes to the agency. Then it is trucked to another 
station on the opposite side of town. By train it is taken over 
the mountains and down to the Magdalena at Puerto Berrio to 
wait for the steamer which will eventually land it at Barran- 
quilla or Calamar, where it must be transferred to a railroad 
or smaller steamer for Cartagena. Then it finally connects up 
with ships for New York." 

"Yes, if we could transport products in and out easily, 3 ' 
Doctor Posada agreed, "we wouldn't have to charge high 
tariffs. Or we could levy high tariffs and still buy things 
reasonably if the physical inconveniences and cost of distribution 
were not akin to those provided in the dark ages." 

"Here we are with a plethora of oil," Don Gonzalo con- 
tinued, "and yet we have no roads to drive automobiles over. 
What is more, an automobile is too expensive for any but the 
rich to buy. The tariff on an automobile is eighty per cent of 
the value at Barranquilla, at the seacoast. The freight and 
charges from Barranquilla to Medellfn is another $150. Be- 
sides, it may be damaged to an extent of one hundred or one 
hundred and fifty more dollars when you get it, 

"This damage," he explained, "may be caused by delay and 
exposure. In the dry season it may take as long as four weeks 
by boat from Barranquilla to Puerto Berrio, where it must wait 
its turn for the train trip over the mountains. Because of lack 
of cars and locomotives, freight is often tied up at the river 
from four to five months. That is why we must finish the road 
from Medellfn to the sea." 

That is why Don Gonzalo is determined to build the road 
from Medellfn to the Caribbean. Don Gonzalo is the reason 
portions of it are already completed. When this road is com- 
pleted the feat of old Quesada will no longer be the chief 

[150] 



Colombia 

epic in Colombian transportation. At the moment the indomi- 
table Mejia is really interested in the road from Medellfn to 
Turbo on the Gulf of Darien, that neck of the Caribbean where 
Panama joins onto Colombia. As he says "so we can get our 
coffee out, so a farmer can take his own crop down to the sea 
by truck." But in Bogota he spreads out elaborate charts and 
maps made at his own expense and shows them how it would 
revolutionize the entire country by laying a ribbon of concrete 
or asphalt, or even grading a highway, from the capital 560 
miles to the sea. 

"What is more," he now tells them, "it is already two-thirds 
completed. Here," he points out on the map, "you have al- 
ready blasted and graded a road from the Sabana of Bogota to 
Girardot and down the Magdalena to La Dorada, 161 miles. 
Then there is a gap of 100 miles to Sonson where the mountain 
is only 8000 feet instead of 1 0,000 as it is between Armenia 
and Ibague on the Cali-Bogota route. And this part is already 
surveyed, mind you. At Sonson you would connect with the 
road to Medellfn, which is already completed. Think of it! 
The two greatest cities and the richest state of the country 
connected up for the first time in history." 

Then he smiles with satisfaction and continues, "Already we 
have completed 125 of the 225 miles of the remaining distance. 
We have scaled the two ranges of mountains and spanned the 
Cauca Valley and are now beginnning the last lap 100 miles- 
to Turbo and the sea. It is already a certainty. It is inevitable. 
We must not fail." 

And without catching his breath, or allowing any one else 
to catch his breath, he moves on to the climax. "This, Senores, 
would mean that the most difficult portion of the Pan-American 
highway would be completed, and Colombia would have made 
its supreme contribution to Pan-American unity." 

Five years ago nobody would have listened to Don Gonzalo. 
They would have pitied him. The very idea of climbing those 



New Roads to Riches 

mountains, mountains that become moving masses of mud 
once you cut the vegetation or break the crust. And after the 
mountains a long stretch of soggy, fever-ridden impenetrable 
jungle, the South American jungle at its worst! 

My friend, A, F. Tschiffely, famed author and engineer, 
who in nine hundred days succeeded in transporting himself 
and two hardy Argentine mustangs from Buenos Aires to 
Washington, found it absolutely impossible to ride, walk or 
crawl from the Colombian highlands over this section of the 
continent to Panama. He had to go from Medellin to Puerto 
Berrio, take a river boat to Calamar, then ride to Cartagena 
and take a steamer to Cristobal. When I asked him the possi- 
bility of laying a paved highway across this no-man's land he 
merely smiled. 

And yet it now seems on the way to becoming a reality. When 
I took the plane from Medellin over the same route to Turbo 
and the Canal Zone the last time, Don Gonzalo's last words to 
the pilot were, "Show my friend the road to the sea. Point out 
to him how it wriggles its way over the mountains, the bridge 
across the Cauca, and then show him the course it will take 
through the jungle." 

"You see," the pilot chuckled later, "Don Gonzalo estab- 
lished the Umca as a means of advertising this road." 

And why not? From the plane when the weather is clear 
it is an inspiring sight, a child's crayon mark scrawled in curves 
and curlicues across a blue-green slate which will eventually 
tie Medellin and the riches of Antioquia to the markets of the 
world! 



[152] 



P AH AM 



I 

Isthmus of Vanity Fair 



FOUR o'clock in the afternoon the clans begin to gather 
about the long tall counter in the back room o the Stranger's 
Club in Cristobal. At four o'clock civilian and military activities 
in the Canal Zone have begun to lag. The army has done its 
daily chores. The heavens are no longer rent with deafening 
zooms and booms. The sky riders have come to earth and put 
their machines away. Offices and banks have closed the front 
doors, though not always the back doors. 

"This one's on me," some one says. 

"No, it's on me," counters another. 

"Not on your life," shouts a third. 

There is only one way to settle it. The bones begin to rattle 
in the cup. They clatter across the counter once, twice, three 
times. There are laughter and banter. Others gather around 
eager to witness the trimming, no matter who loses. Life is 
neither complicated nor strenuous in the Panamanian tropics. 
Small matters are important. Anyway, it is important who pays 
for the drinks today. 

Again the bones rattle and clatter across the counter one, 
two and a third time. It is over. Sam or Bill or John pays. And 
so it goes, until every one in turn has paid. Every one except 
the stranger. This is the Stranger's Club. On his first visit he 
is not allowed to pay 5 that is, if he has been invited to join 

[155] 



New Roads to Riches 

the circle. He is the guest and must drink with every one else 
until he has gone the rounds-if the crowd is not too large, and 

it often is. 

They are a friendly lot, these Yankees who carry on the 
affairs of "the Zone." Some one has called them the friendliest 
in the world. They like each other and they like the stranger, 
especially if he is a Yankee- They want to entertain him, ask 
him questions. 

"How is New York, or how is Chicago, or St. Louis? What 
is business like in the States, who will be the next Governor of 
Missouri, or of New Jersey, or of Calif ornia?" 

Every one of them, whether civilian or soldier, is still rooted 
in the home soil, still loyal to the old home town, still clings to 
the hope of retiring to the land of his birth. He is merely 
doing time on the Isthmus. He will "go back" some day. If 
he is an army officer he will do his turn, go on somewhere else 
and then return to continental United States. Even if he is 
an agent for a steamship line, an insurance company, or an 
automobile concern, whatever he is doing, he expects eventually 
to go back to the home office. 

Old Gerald Bliss settled down at Miami when his thirty 
years in Uncle Sam's postal service were up. As postmaster, first 
at Pedro Miguel and finally at Cristobal, Gerald was on the 
firing line so long he had become one of the monuments along 
the Canal. His office was, and is, one of the busiest and most 
important in all the world. Letters from Tokyo and New York, 
Melbourne and Stockholm, Istanbul and Honolulu, pause in 
Cristobal on their way across the world. It is the transfer point 
for the air mail that flies back and forth between the two ends 
of the hemisphere. 

Upon the slightest provocation Gerald would show you a 
priceless collection of "first flight" stamps. He dispatched air 
mail on thirty or more first flights to Latin-American coun- 
tries, including several of -the Lindbergh flights. He might even 

[156] 



Panama 

allow you a brief look at his joke book, a priceless volume 
containing more than five hundred tall tales and anecdotes 
which he had collected and written down, tales of the sea and 
ships, told him by grizzly old captains from the Mediterranean 
and the Indian Ocean, from the China coast and the Baltic 
Sea. The editor of one well-known magazine offered him a 
thousand dollars for the privilege of printing a dozen selections, 
but the thousand never changed hands. 

One of the most picturesque yarn spinners in captivity, Gerald 
could tell every one of these five hundred stories, and tell them 
better than a professional. He could tell them hour after hour, 
a yarn to fit every occasion. And most of them he told again 
and again in the back room of the Stranger's Club, in late years 
to the great annoyance of some of the local boys, but to the 
genuine delight of the passing stranger. 

Another colorful character, in a community full of colorful 
characters, is Bob Wilcox. Rich in this world's goods, Bob is a 
highly respected and genial gentleman, around whom many 
legends continue to revolve. Some of his friends enjoy telling 
you he got his start by engaging in commerce with the San Bias 
Indians, a tribe of semicivilized red men who inhabit a string of 
islands along the eastern coast of the Isthmus, some ninety 
miles south of the Canal. 

An old-time drummer was stranded in Cristobal, so one story 
has it. He was forced to sell his samples, which consisted of a 
trunk full of English "bowlers" or derby hats. Bob bought 
them for a song, but without any very clear plans for their 
disposal. However, one day he disappeared. It was later learned 
that he went down the San Bias country and indulged in a little 
barter. He swapped them for cocoanuts and bananas, which he 
brought back and peddled to Canal laborers. This deal netted 
an unbelievable profit, for there was a tremendous market for 
fruits in those times. Besides, every son of the San Bias was 
so anxious to own a derby that he was only too happy to pick 

[157] 



New Roads to Riches 

bushels of cocoanuts and dozens of stems of bananas to give in 
exchange. Hurry-up orders had to be sent to New York for 
additional supplies, until the entire male portion of the tribe 
had been completely covered. For years afterward, it is said, 
the bowler hat was the prevailing headgear in the San Bias 

country. 

But the bowlers did not wear out easily and Bob spent months 
in deep thought. He must find a product that required replace- 
ment or renovation, or spare parts, or something. Continued 
sales, replacements, continued service. Twenty-five years ago 
this was already the spirit of modern business. Eventually fate 
sent another salesman to Cristobal with no money and ten 
dozen alarm clocks on his hands. Fortune put him in the path 
of Wilcox, and it was not long until he had parted with his 
entire collection in exchange for enough cash to buy steerage 
passage on a freighter to New Orleans. 

Bob immediately took the noisy, shiny objects to the land 
of the bowler hats for demonstration. They were a hit from 
the very first. Every Indian had to have an alarm clock, not in 
order to keep up with the time, which means less than nothing 
in the life of a San Bias Indian, but because of its beauty and 
the fact that it did such amusing and unexpected things as mak- 
ing music in the middle of the night. 

The new product proved a much better business than the 
bowler hat trade. In fact it made business practically perpetual. 
Naturally the clocks would run down and the ingenious mer- 
chant had kept the only key with which they could be wound. 
This service, of course, necessitated an additional charge each 
time. So every few days the Cristobal merchant made a voyage 
to the San Bias country, wound the clocks, filled his boat with 
cocoanuts and bananas and returned triumphantly to his grow- 
ing fruit market. And so, they tell you, Bob's fortune grew until 
today he owns a goodly portion of the city of Colon and lolls in 
a private yacht on the blue waters of the Spanish Main. 

[158] 



Panama 

After the Stranger's Club in Cristobal, it is proper to call at 
the Tropical Bar in Colon. Cristobal and Colon are two towns 
not easy to separate. Cristobal in the Canal Zone is governed 
exclusively by Uncle Sam. Colon, in the republic of Panama, 
of course is under the jurisdiction of the Panamanian govern- 
ment. Each melts or dovetails into one another at no place in 
particular, so that one is totally unconscious of passing from 
one to the other. 

Nobody takes any notice of where this happens until he 
comes to vote or pay taxes. In Colon a citizen enjoys both these 
privileges. At least he enjoys the franchise and endures the 
taxes. In Cristobal you do neither. For Colon, in fact all Pan- 
ama, is genuinely, dizzily democratic in its social complexion 
as well as politically. Every clan, tribe and nation of the human 
family is represented in its population. By comparison Vanity 
Fair was a homogeneous gathering and the Tower of Babel a 
temple of linguistic silences. 

Bilgray's Tropical Bar, day or night, year in and year out, 
is the lodestone for the oddest assortment of people this side of 
Shanghai 5 sailors, soldiers, Chinese, Japanese, Turks, British, 
Swedes, and Yankees from Maine, Florida and Oregon, each 
with a colorful history. Bilgray himself, once proprietor of a 
pre-prohibition bar in one of New York's old Times Square 
hotels, is not to be overlooked. Always dressed in immaculate 
white, he is one of the most genial and generous of hosts. He 
knows everybody from Turkey to Timbuctoo, and befriends 
every one. His museum of bad checks is a monument to his 
hospitality. . 

Look the old timers over. There are countless specimens of 
the sons of adventure. Some bear the stamp of cruel adversity, 
others are eloquent examples of light and careless living. But 
they are all interesting. I cannot forget Colonel Slater, who 
recently passed on. At eighty he was still a daily visitor, but to 
sip a glass of milk, not to indulge in alcoholic beverages. 

[159] 



New Roads to Riches 

The Colonel had known all the thrills of life romance 
and misfortune, fame and prison, and then all of these over 
again. His title came from having once been a colonel in the 
Chilean Cavalry, the first colonel among the mounties of that 
republic, so he said. Then he was boss of a gang of pneumatic 
drillers who helped to build the great steel gates and locks of 
the CanaL Later he meandered up through Central America 
cutting a wide swath as he proceeded. He was Chief of Police in 
Guatemala City, until a revolution literally flung him out into 
the middle of the public square. Fortunately not without a 
portion of his monetary accumulations. With $18,000 in cash 
on his person, some of it in solid gold, he trudged across the 
mountains to the little seaport of Puerto Barrios on the east 
coast, slipped aboard a tramp steamer and sailed lazily away. 

Next he was in the Black Republic of Haiti, when one day 
a thief in Port-au-Prince stole his wallet, and he wielded a 
hammer with such force and precision as to relieve the unfor- 
tunate creature of all earthly responsibility. This necessitated 
another quick move, another hairbreadth escape. So he went 
over the mountains to the city of Santo Domingo, or as it is 
known today, Trujillo City. In the Dominican Republic all 
went well until news of his Haitian escapade reached the ears 
of the local police. By this time his feet had lost their cunning. 
He was too slow, so to jail he went, although not for long. 
Lady Luck came to him once again, that is, if the lady had any- 
thing to do with the nice handout to the guards. Anyway he 
escaped, went to New York, then back to Panama to acquire 
and operate a string of saloons and cabarets. 

But one day the wheel of fortune turned again, this time in 
reverse, and left him penniless. After this, fate was ungenerous 
for many a year. He lived from hand to mouth. Bilgray gave 
instructions to his employees to look the other way when the 
old man would take on generous portions of free lunch. But 
just when he had completely resigned himself to an ignoble 

[160] 



Panama 

fate, and every one had come to look upon him as a hopeless, 
pathetic figure, a well-to-do niece in New York passed on and 
left him a handsome sum in cold cash. 

And there is Antonio Tagaropulus, a gentleman from the 
Athenian hills, whose father evidently met an Italian signorita 
on his way to America, Antonio started out peddling fruit and 
knickknacks from a pushcart. Today he is the fruit and grocery 
king of the Isthmus. His chief competitor is Lee Chong, an 
industrious Chinese who operates a string of cantinas, one on 
every corner in Colon. And, of course, there are the other 
famed Asiatic merchants who sell everything from teakwood 
figures to silk suits from the Island of Ceylon. 

Front Street in Colon, facing the Panama Railroad tracks, 
is more spectacular than any set in an Oriental movie. Hindu 
shops, Turkish bazaars, Chinese and Japanese stores are filled 
with the most fantastic of wares, a tourist's paradise, where 
bargaining becomes the most exquisite of arts. When the 
cruise ships 1 are in, the "trippers" descend upon Front Street 
until it becomes a nightmare of chattering, shouting Orientals. 
Barkers stand in front of every establishment minutely describ- 
ing the wonders that are within, begging, pleading, for the sake 
of your immortal soul, to come in and view the magic wonders. 
If you only come in, there is no worry about what follows. Any 
but the most iron-willed eventually yield to the cunning and 
skill of psychologists with thousands of years of training be- 
hind them, and come away with arms full of laces and linens, 
perfumes and shawls, jewelry and rugs, which could be bought 
in any store back home for ten per cent of the Colon price. 

The Fawk River Market is worth an hour any morning. 
Coal-black Jamaican expatriates who helped dig the Canal 
and then remained behind to eke out an existence and raise large 
hordes of children, gather along the banks of a lazy stream on 
the edge of the town to swap the wild gifts of Mother Nature 
bananas, green cocoanuts, yucas and yams, plantains and 

[161] 



New Roads to Riches 

papayas. Papaya: fruit of the tropical gods, which in Havana, 
Cuba, you must always refer to as faw $aw, jruta luena or 
something else, unless you are interested in commercialized 
romance. From the outside, the papaya resembles an over- 
grown canteloupe. Inside it looks like a cross between a peach 
and an old-time muskmelon, with a few dashes of yellow 
persimmon added. Saturated with lime juice and served at 
breakfast time it would tame the most profound dyspeptic. 

The Central Market in the heart of the city not only offers 
papayas in quantity but it is a good place to make an inventory 
of all of the fruits and vegetables of the Panamanian tropics. 
It is a spotless place where a fly is considered a visitor from 
another world, and whose presence is made extremely uncom- 
fortable, thanks to the vigilant eyes of Uncle Sam's Sanitary 
Corps on the Isthmus. 

Be sure to stop at one of the market bars and sample estofado 
de $atito cows' heels stewed with bits of potatoes and onions 
and seasoned with such mysterious delicacies as achote seeds, 
and oregano herbs. A pot of estofado is always stewing in every 
native saloon and restaurant. It is strictly a Panamanian dish, 
the Panama of the interior, the villages and small towns. Which 
suggests that it is impossible to know this Isthmus of Vanity 
Fair unless you see the interior of the republic as well as the 
Canal Zone and surrounding communities. 

Maps are sometimes deceiving. Panama itself is not a negli- 
gible piece of territory. In area about the size of the State of 
West Virginia, it is divided up into nine different provinces. 
It is even more mountainous than West Virginia and the geog- 
raphers tell us it has 180 rivers flowing into the Atlantic and 
300 into the Pacific. 

Late in a recent October I flew north from Cristobal to see 
something of the outer world of Panama. One night I stopped 
in the mildewed old town of David or, as the natives call it, 
Daaveed, near the Costa Rican frontier. In what was called a 



Panama 

hotel I succeeded in arranging for accommodation, that is to 
say, shelter, if the word is used in its most literal sense. The 
hotel, which occupied the upstairs or loft portion of the old 
frame building, was divided into stalls, with partitions extend- 
ing only a little way above the head, so that every one might get 
plenty of air and at the same time share freely in every one 
else's slumber. 

I was greeted by the fattest and most ingratiating proprietor 
who ever wore a long tapering mustache and spoke English 
without any suggestion of an accent. In the course of the long 
night I learned that he had been born and reared in the 
environs of San Gabriel, and that he had spent years travelling 
from town to town purveying to the ruralites of southern 
California a certain tropical tonic guaranteed to restore youth 
to the fading spirits of those in whom life had not begun at 
forty. He had wandered southward following some slight dis- 
agreement with those responsible for the enforcement of the 
Yankee Pure Food and Drug Laws. 

The senor greeted me in the manner of an old-time Spanish 
Lord Chamlberlain welcoming a foreign diplomat to the court 
of his Castillian Majesty. "You, Senor, do my humble house 
and myself great honor by pausing, as it were, for the night. 
You shall be my guest at the Fiesta de La Cwnbw, which 
transpires in my ballroom here between the hours of eight and 
twelve." 

The ballroom occupied the entire lower floor of the edifice, 
which in addition served as bar, dance hall and community 
meeting place in general. Anyway, it was here that the Fiesta 
of La Cwnbto "transpired." In spite of one of the hardest, 
wettest tropical downpours I have ever experienced, by eight 
o'clock the entire population of northern Panama, it seemed, 
descended upon the place. First the senores with glazed hair 
and an unusual collection of mustaches, each of whom the Senor 
presented to his "honored guest." Later came the seiioritas, not 

[163] 



New Roads to Riches 

the seiioritas alone, of course, but senoritas with their mamas 
and papas and brothers. Although their pink and blue, red and 
yellow organdy dresses, with cascades of ruffles and flowing 
sashes, were spattered or soaked, they seemed not to mind. 
What with sable hair, brownish red skin and sparkling eyes- 
like black diamonds set in dull copper many of them were not 
difficult to look upon. 

"David," my host explained, with engaging frankness, "is 
Panama, primitive and colonial Panama, Panama of the days 
when the red men first met their conquerors and where the 
ways of those former years are still in vogue. These people, 
Senor, as you will observe, still suggest the time when the noble 
Christians of Castile blended freely with the first Americans. 
This is rural Panama where people still hurry to mass in the 
morning, and as often as occasion comes to pass, to dance La> 
Cumbia in the evening. And, Senor, if you gather the import of 
my words, they dance it with transcendent delicacy, as well as 
abandon. 3 ' 

That night they danced La Cumbia> if not "with transcendent 
delicacy/' certainly "with abandon." Twice too many people 
were gathered in the hotel ballroom. It was filled to suffocation 
with smoke from cigarettes of potent and fearful contents. 
There were the odors of rain-soaked shoes and boots, the fabu- 
lous fragrance of colognes, old-time Hoyts and others that 
never should have been invented, all perfectly blended and 
brought to a slow boil in the heat of the tropical night. But 
this did not deter the gathering in its hilarious pursuit of 
happiness. 

The orchestra was stationed in the center of the hall, a little 
man with a cornet who had evidently blown himself down to 
a skeleton, a couple of portly fellows with drums, another with 
an old-time concertina, and still another with the inevitable 
maracas or pebble-filled gourds. After considerable palaver as 
to what they should play they finally began warming to the 



Panama 

job as they proceeded. And they warmed quickly. Such tooting 
of a cornet, such merciless squeezing of an accordion, such 
beating of drums and shaking of maracas I never heard before 
or since. 

Soon every one was afoot, except those too young or too 
old to stand alone. Taking their places by couples in a circle 
around the orchestra, they stood for a moment, then some one 
began to clap his hands and pat his feet to the music. All the 
men joined in. Then they began to swing and sway, the men 
and women dancing around each other and all moving to the 
right around the musicians. There were laughter and shouting. 
Every step and stamp and hand clap and shout in perfect time 
with the drums. 

Finally, there was an intermission, since the orchestra was 
all but exhausted and perspiration flowed in rivulets down the 
faces of the dancers. But it was only for a moment or two. 
They took their dancing seriously, or if not seriously, certainly 
in a businesslike manner. The music resumed, this time with 
even more vigor, and the dancers rushed to their places. Lights 
were lowered or dimmed. Each man lit a candle and held it 
aloft as if to see the face of his partner. Again they began to 
swing and sway. Each danced around the other, the great circle 
revolving on its musical axis and the candles raised and lowered 
in perfect rhythm with the music. The music swelled. The 
laughter and shouts grew louder, feet moved faster and faster 
until the assemblage was a nightmare of frenzy and joy. 

That is La Cumbm y the native dance of rural Panama. At 
least, that is La Cumbia as it was danced in the jungle me- 
tropolis of David on a rain-drenched October night. But then 
it was no less lively or interesting because of the rain. Rain 
never dampens the spirits of the Panamanians, because rain 
is an ancient and honorable institution, at least from April to 
December. Every day and often several times a day during 
this period of the year the heavens open and let go. At David 

[165] 



New Roads to Riches 

it rains as much as a hundred and forty inches a yean Yet life 
moves on definitely, if leisurely. 

This northern region is a rich and prosperous agricultural 
and stock-raising country in fact the most prosperous section 
of the republic. Chiriqui Province in the north has long been 
a prosperous cattle-raising center. Coffee is grown on an increas- 
ing scale. Along both coasts are some of the largest and newest 
banana plantations in the tropics. The banana business has be- 
come so prosperous that native land-owners have been curtailing 
their cattle business and planting more and more bananas, a 
practice deplored by the government because it means a dimin- 
ishing meat supply in the country. Serious effort is being made 
to open up new grazing territory and to improve the breed 
of cattle so that meat will bring better prices, therefore a new 
impetus to the industry. With the assistance of one of the 
large United States tire manufacturing companies, rubber grow- 
ing is being introduced in Panama. A large acreage has already 
been planted in trees. Some of them are nearly two years old 
now, and there is every reason to believe that they will turn 
out well. If they do, intensive cultivation will follow. Timber 
lands are also extensive in the far north. 

David, remote as it may seem on the map, and primitive as 
it may appear from the standpoint of hotel accommodations, is 
by no means out of the modern world. It is the third largest 
town in the republic, a busy and growing community and a 
regular port of call for the Pan-American planes that fly 
between Brownsville, Texas, Mexico City, the Canal and South 
America. A modern highway, the greater portion of which was 
paved more than seven years ago, connects it with Panama City 
250 miles away. This road, incidentally, is a portion of the 
Pan-American Highway which may eventually connect with 
Gonzalo Mejia's Colombia Highway at Turbo on the Gulf of 
Darien. 

At the moment Panamanians complain about the free use 

[166] 



Panama 

made of this road by the United States military forces. "We are 
trying to improve the road," one high official told me recently. 
"But that is difficult. In the first place the road was not built 
to withstand heavy truck traffic, yet every year the army uses 
it for maneuvering purposes, tearing it to pieces. But they 
refuse to pay us anything for its upkeep. 7 ' 

I could have reminded him that it was built out of money 
borrowed from the United States, that is, from private United 
States citizens who bought Panamanian bonds which, like the 
bonds of many other countries, are now in default. Therefore 
the United States army might as well get some use out of it. 

This David-Panama City road furnishes ample evidences o 
the difficulties that road builders will always encounter in the 
rainy portions of the tropics. (Later we shall find that some 
portions of the tropics are desert lands.) During the wettest 
period of the year hardly a day passes that disastrous washouts 
do not occur, or that some important bridge is not carried 
away by floods. In fact, because a bridge had disappeared the 
night before I was to drive south, I found it necessary to take 
a plane to the capital and that Duke's Mixture of communities 
surrounding the Pacific end of the Canal. 

While the urban section on the Atlantic side consists of twin 
cities, the Pacific side is divided, or to speak more accurately, 
combined into interlocking triplet cities. If the Colon and Cris- 
tobal frontier is imperceptible to the newcomer, it is next to 
impossible to distinguish the dividing line between Balboa, the 
Pacific terminus and headquarters, Ancon, the residential sec- 
tion for employees of the Canal, and sprawling, cosmopolitan 
Panama City. 

Strange as it may seen, when I arrived in the capital I was 
hardly settled in my hotel before a messenger brought a special 
invitation to a fashionable dance at the Union Club that same 
night. It seemed that dancing was to become an important item 
in my tour of Panama. 

[167] 



New Roads to Riches 

The Union Club, like the Stranger's Club on the edge of the 
bay in Cristobal, rests on piers over the waters of the Pacific 
so that at high tides the waves dash up furiously against the 
floor. On this particular occasion Isthmian society was holding 
forth in honor of the President of the Republic. A thousand 
people attended, Panamanians and Yankees, civilians and sol- 
diers, Panamanian gentlemen in tail-coats and white ties, and 
Yankees in black pants and those white monkey jackets so 
typical of the tropics. That night they danced everything known 
to the night clubs of Broadway and ended with the Tamborito. 
What La Cumbia is to rural Panama, El Tamborito is to the 
capital. Without becoming terribly technical it is a combination 
of La Cumbia, the Rhumba and the Tango. 

As the music began the dancers stood in a great circle around 
the hall, but not necessarily in couples. There was a clapping 
of hands. A man stepped into the center of the circle, selected 
his lady and bowed to her. She accepted his invitation and 
stepped out to meet him. He danced to her and around her. 
Others joined them until everybody was in motion. 

The dance is important to the Isthmus, whether it is the 
urban El Tamborito, or the Fiesta de La Cwmbia of the remote 
countryside. Whether you are a native of the interior or a 
gringo in the cities, it is leaven for the languid tropical nights. 
Dancing you will usually find, either at the Union Club, in the 
various cabarets and night clubs, at the imposing and now fash- 
ionable beer gardens on the edge of town, or even at the modest 
and democratic Yankee-frequented Century Club, the place to 
meet the gringo personalities of the Pacific shore. It was at the 
Century Club that I first met the Duke of Balboa. 

Among the nobility of the Isthmus the Duke is the only 
member who boasts a title, a tide which he did not inherit, 
nor buy, nor even assume. It was thrust upon him. He started 
out in life with a name somewhat mixed in origin. He was born 
Theodore McGinnis in the United States, and Theodore Me- 

[168] 



Panama 

Ginnis he remained for many a year until a group of inspired 
convivials generously elevated him to the Panamanian peerage. 

There are many versions of the story. One version has it 
that on one of those dark and stormy nights so characteristic of 
the Isthmus, a group of gentlemen had paused in a life-giving 
station to wait for the weather to subside. As fate would have it, 
behind the bar was an attendant by the name of Jerry who 
proved to be in league with the elements. While the heavens 
deluged the streets and roads with water, Jerry plied his guests 
with frothy, foamy beer. The rain continued and the beer held 
out until the night was ripe and the party was uproarious. 
Suddenly the most eloquent member of the group held aloft 
his glass and began to speak. 

"Melor's and gen'Pmen! In graceful, that is to shay gratch- 
ful acknowledgment for the liquid benefactions which our fellow 
citizen, Ted McGinnish, has bestowed upon us, it is meet, not 
to shay drink, that we should offer him shome fishing token 
of our humble eshteem." 

Which outburst brought forth resounding response, response 
sufficient to move the orator to even more forensic efforts. 

"Melor's and gen'Pmen!" he went on, "Le's drink, le's 
drink to Ted, to Theodore, yea, le's drink to the Duke of 
Balboa, peerless beer baron of the Isthmus of Panama!" 

From that night on, Theodore McGinnis, long president and 
proprietor of the Balboa Brewing Company, has been known 
far and wide, from Panama City to Pittsburgh and San Fran- 
cisco, as the Duke of Balboa. And, if I may observe in passing, 
for many long years the Duke brewed practically all the beer 
drunk on the Isthmus, millions of gallons, enough to quench 
the tropical thirst of all the natives and soothe the parched lips 
of legions of travellers from the scorched Sahara of North 
America during the age of Prohibition. 

All during those days the Duke never permitted the great 
vats of the Balboa Brewery to be empty, day or night, month 

[169] 



New Roads to Riches 

in and month out. Moreover, during those long months of the 
tragic depression, when not only the engraved masterpieces of 
great industry, but even the gilded promises of many foreign 
governments lay faded and useless in the bureau drawers, 
Balboa Brewery stock paid handsome dividends. Many a Yan- 
kee expatriate, whose business or profession kept him in the 
regions of the "Zone," was able to buy a new car, replace the 
old icebox with an electric refrigerator, or spend a vacation 
back home because of his beer-soaked income. 

I predict history will not overlook the Duke, and that his 
memory will remain as moist as the tropical rains that fall so 
freely upon the grassy hills of Balboa, not to say the sprawling 
beer gardens that now flourish on the fringe of Panama City. 
Meantime the Duke takes his ease in New York, Los Angeles 
and points beyond and lends his placid personality to gatherings 
of the Adventurers Club, the Circumnavigators Club and other 
organizations and societies of wandering and widely travelled 
convivials. 

You may dine, drink and visit with the Yankees at the Cen- 
tury Club. But as the evening grows you will feel the need of 
fresh air. The thing to do is literally to go out and hire a 
hack, and do the narrow winding Avenida Norte for an hour or 
so. In Panama there are still horse-drawn carriages, open Vic- 
torias, carrom&toSy the natives call them. In the cool of the 
evening long lines of them, filled with foreigners, jog up and 
down the avenue that twists and turns along the waterfront. 
The natives, at least the more affluent among them, have their 
country cottages with gardens and picturesque swimming pools 
where they spend their evenings and do their entertaining. 

Natalio Ehrman is a leading businessman and well pro- 
vided with the things that bring leisure and luxury. He enter- 
tains informally, but sumptuously. His country home is mostly 
garden, a cottage built on high piers with wide porches around 
it* Underneath is a tile floor with swings and great wicker 



Panama 

chairs. In the back is a veritable forest of trees and flowers. 
Scattered through it are fountains and bird baths, and in the 
middle of it a great pool done in mosaic with sculptured water 
nymphs, and often live ones, to watch you as you dive or 
flounder about. 

Natalio's hospitality is unstinted. He invites Panamanians 
and Americans to come and bring their friends. Tables are 
placed around the cool basement floor and piled high with 
roasts, salads, fruits and drinks. You may don your bathing 
suit or not, and swim and eat intermittently. Or you may sit 
on a garden bench, and tell some glorious creature what you 
think of her, as mother strolls occasionally by. 

On such evenings you find out that the Chinese and the 
Hindus and the Greeks and the Italians and the Yankees, who 
run the shops, and markets and saloons, the Canal and the 
Army and the Navy are not the predominant element in Panama 
City. The Ariases, the Jiminezes, the Pachecos, the Navarros, 
the Arosemenas, the Alfaros, and the Boyds are the all-power- 
ful element. They don't sell you laces and shawls and fruits 
and fish. They and their kind are the lawyers, the doctors and 
the bankers the hacenda&os and the politicians of the Isthmus. 
They are the native Smiths and Joneses of the country, names 
you will find in high places and public affairs. 

An Arosemena is president now. A Jiminez is the Minister 
of Foreign Affairs. Some of these old families are survivors of 
Spanish colonial days. Compared to them our proud old South- 
ern and New England families are newcomers. Their forebears 
were in Panama stacking gold into ships bound for Spain and 
the Old World long before the Cavaliers came to the James 
River or the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock. 



Fi7i] 



II 

The Dream of Alvara de Saavedra 



CIVILIZATION along the Canal looks new and modern, as 
if it had been set down in wild and virgin country, yet it is 
impossible to be long on the Isthmus without becoming hope- 
lessly entangled in history. You are continually reminded that 
some of the giants of the story-books have tramped its track- 
less jungles, sailed up and down its palm-fringed shores, scaled 
its mountain peaks and spattered its valleys with heroic blood. 
Whether on the Atlantic or Pacific side, there is romance and 
glamor aplenty. 

Even the dauntless Christopher himself who, with the excep- 
tion of the Maid of Orleans, saw visions in more places and 
rivalled George Washington in the number of nights spent 
away from home, did considerable discovering in Panama. 
Cristobal Colon, as he is referred to in all Spanish-speaking 
countries, hunted for India all along the Panamanian coast 
from Costa Rica to Colombia. He sailed his little ship into the 
wild recesses of Limon Bay, and dropped anchor just back of 
the Stranger's Club where in our time giant steamers from the 
ends of the earth tie up to imposing docks. And what's more, 
Christopher died in the belief that he had reached the fabulous 
lands of the Indian princes. 

Then there was that other frenzied discoverer, Senor Vasco 
Nunez de Balboa (shall we say forerunner of the present 



Panama 

Duke?) who fought his way westward across the jungle and 
conquered the Pacific. At least he must have conquered it, 
judging from his peculiar behavior. For we are told that he 
drew his sword, stuck out his chest, waded right in and claimed 
it for his Royal Lord and Master. You cannot overlook the 
courage of a man who takes an entire ocean singlehanded. 

And of course there could not be Spanish discoverers without 
English discoverers, not even in Panama. No matter where the 
rowdys of Barcelona went in those days, they were followed by 
the envious roustabouts from the Thames, and vice versa. In the 
footsteps of Columbus and Balboa came that old devil dog, Sir 
Francis Drake. Sir Francis found the Isthmus all cluttered up 
with Spaniards, and could not at the time even get across it, 
so he could not very well say he had discovered the Pacific. 
But he insisted that he was the first Englishman to lay eyes 
on it. According to the chronicles he went to a mountain top 
in Darien, climbed a tall tapering tree and viewed the mighty 
waters from a distance. If you can picture a man who .was soon 
to become a brave knight of old England removing his shoes 
and "shinnying" up a tree to claim the Pacific Ocean for her 
Britannic Majesty, Elizabeth being the sovereign at the time, 
that, too, goes into the poetic epic of Panama. Or perhaps this 
was proof of her way with men. Once under her spell there was 
no difficulty too great to overcome or, in this case, no heights 
to which they would not climb. 

Like all the English buccaneers, like all or any buccaneers, 
Sir Francis was looking for gold and silver which he knew only 
too well the Spaniards were bringing up from Peru by the 
schoonerful, transferring it across the Isthmus and shipping it 
to Spain. He made several desperate efforts to surprise convoys 
or caravans and capture some of it, and did succeed eventually 
in taking Nombre de Dios, then a port on the Atlantic, or Carib- 
bean side, and by arson, torture and murder take from the 
frightened inhabitants and officials a considerable sum. But this 

[173] 



New Roads to Riches 

incident was not nearly so exciting nor fruitful as many o the 
old pirate's other adventures and acts at Cartagena and on the 
islands of the Caribbean. 

A hundred years after Drake another subject of Britain not 
only made several visits to the region, but captured numbers of 
communities and finally crossed the Isthmus where he per- 
formed one of history's outstanding feats of perfidy and crime. 
He was Henry Morgan, Esquire, afterward honored as Sir 
Henry, if I may at the beginning speak formally. Later on it 
will be difficult to refer to him formally or even tolerantly. 
Mr. Morgan was not only extremely envious of, but downright 
disgusted over the good fortune of the Spaniards. So upon 
reaching the Isthmus the first time he subjected the town of 
Puerto Bello to a microscopic examination, and, because he 
could find nothing that resembled gold, became so angry he 
demolished the place almost stone by stone. 

Determined to catch the- Panamanians unaware, he returned 
in 1671, bringing along some 1800 of his fellow British and 
friendly French pirates, so as to be prepared for any eventuali- 
ties. After weeks of preparations and exploration in the en- 
virons of Puerto Bello, and skirmishing with outposts all the 
way across, he finally arrived on the outskirts of Panama City 
at daybreak one morning. He looked greedily down upon the 
town from a hillside, a splendid sight. The tall spires of the 
cathedral towered benignly over the great stone houses and the 
massive flower-covered walls surrounding them. A few minutes 
later the sun splashed the red-tile roofs with its golden rays. 
Bells began to ring, bells presented by Queen Isabella herself to 
"the finest church on the Spanish Main." But the bells which 
had so often called the faithful to prayers were now sounding 
the alarm of impending disaster. 

Bravely the Panamanian, or Spanish, soldiers went out to 
meet the enemy but were driven back, their lines shattered. 
People began to flee for their lives, to the sea, to the hills, 

[174] 



Panama 

anywhere. Very few got beyond their own doorways before 
they heard shouts and to their utter amazement saw the armed 
demons making right into the heart of the town. It was gold 
that Henry wanted, and silver. Plenty of it at that and right 
away, too. But alas there wasn't any. The Morgan jaws clamped 
together and the big gray eyes squinted. What, no gold? Did 
they dare to greet him empty-handed? Then they could take 
the consequences, the contemptible swine! 

Guns barked, sabers rattled and glittered in the morning 
sunlight. The battle went on. Men died in their tracks defend- 
ing their homes and families. Women and children screaming 
with terror were shot down in cold blood. Houses were set on 
fire and gutted by the flames. Walls were battered in. All day 
the battle raged, until sunset, and when the curtains of night 
were lowered all that remained of a city of 10,000 was a hand- 
ful of terrified captives, a few stone walls, heaps of ashes and 
the lifeless bodies of hundreds of Spanish settlers and soldiers. 

Henry had always considered himself quite adept at un- 
covering hidden or buried treasure but when he had finished his 
memorable day's work he was grievously disappointed. For very 
little precious metal had been found. With the first rumors of 
Henry's arrival at Puerto Bello and the memory of his former 
mission of arson and murder at Nombre de Dios still green in 
their minds, the people had rushed out and hidden, or buried, 
their valuables, especially every gadget and trinket that had 
any gold about it. 

Even the famous cross of gold in the cathedral had eluded 
him. High and low he had searched for it but it had completely 
disappeared. Little did he realize that he had been close enough 
to it to touch it with his own hand, that he had even looked 
squarely at it several times during the day. And how exasperated 
he would have been had he learned that the clever padres had 
outwitted him. They had not buried the priceless piece, nor 
even hidden it. They had merely covered it with a coat of white- 

[175] 



New Roads to Riches 

wash and left it in its place. But, gifted with a one-color vision, 
Sir Henry could only distinguish yellow. So he had passed it up. 

And in this coat of whitewash the cross of gold remained for 
many a long year, until 1904 in fact, when Panama became 
a republic. Throughout all these years the padres took no 
chances. Too many people, even after the Conquest, were com- 
ing to this crossroads of the world, fortune hunters, gentle- 
men with itchy palms in search of gold and precious metals. 
But today the republic is free from danger or threats from 
buccaneers and armed fortune hunters j the golden cross of 
colonial times, a revered and priceless relic, belongs to the 
modest little church of San Jose. 

Drive seven miles from Cathedral Square in the present 
capital of the republic along a paved highway of the modern 
day, past the old bridge of gold on the Camino Real, its grace- 
ful arches still intact, and you may view the ghosts of the 
Morgan crime. Only the vine-covered tower of the old cathe- 
dral and a few piles of stone remain as grim reminders of the 
gentle disposition of the old Anglo-Saxon. 

And so it has been with Panama from its very beginning. 
No country has had a more checkered career. Discoverers and 
conquerors came and went. Cities sprang up and then were 
destroyed. Ships brought gold and silver from the south and 
the north, from Peru and Mexico. It was hauled over to the 
other side and shipped to Spain and the Motherland. Or it was 
captured by others and shipped elsewhere. 

For a century and a half after Morgan, the murderer, mer- 
chants and traders, people from Chile, Peru and all along the 
Pacific travelled back and forth across the Isthmus, over the 
old highway. In 1848 and 1855 Yankees built a railroad, and 
thereafter the Vanderbilts and the Astors trafficked with Cali- 
fornia and the far West by way of Panama. Today, the old 
highway having long since slipped back into the jungle, the 
railroad and the Canal are the only overland methods of transit. 




MH 
O 

3 



o 




A Ship Enters the Canal Locks 



Panama 

The present Canal, which is barely twenty-five years old, 
was by no means a recent inspiration. For centuries the possi- 
bility of digging an artificial waterway across Panama engaged 
the fancy of every adventurer and soldier of fortune who knew 
a shovel from a sailing ship. In 1529 Lieutenant Alvara de 
Saavedra, one of the young Spaniards who stood by that after- 
noon when Balboa waded out and conquered the Father of 
Waters, was probably the first to put such a plan on paper. 
He got so far as to prepare a set of charts for the project. 

Later on Englishmen discussed the possibilities of doing 
something of the sort. But, perish the thought, it had not been 
written in the book that they should do it. Finally the French 
attempted it, at first with great promise of success. The same 
Ferdinand de Lesseps who built the Suez Canal tackled the 
job. But fighting mosquitoes, fevers and other terrible diseases 
in a tropical rain-soaked swamp was not like digging a ditch 
across a fairly level stretch of dry land. So it was left for the 
Yankees to unloose their purse strings, count out some five 
hundred twenty-six million dollars, tighten their belts and unite 
the two great oceans in everlasting matrimony, making Panama 
forever the crossroads of the New World, and the key to all 
the Americas. 

Many of the world's industries and business houses have 
branch offices on the Isthmus, headquarters for their trade 
activities throughout Spanish America. Dozens of steamship 
companies, including several owned by United States capital, 
register their ships under the Panamanian flag because the 
government of Panama makes it very attractive for them to do 
so. They are shouldered with fewer restrictions and regulations, 
such as a ship registered under the United States flag would 
be subjected to. Technically Panama has one of the most im- 
posing merchant marines in the world. At the present time 
there are 261 ocean-going ships under Panamanian registry. 

Every day in the year Panama plays host to important 



New Roads to Riches 

officials, diplomats, business men, writers, observers, from many 
climes. Traders from Tokyo, Shanghai, Bombay, Barcelona, 
Hamburg and Amsterdam visit in Panama on their way to the 
Central and South American countries. Sooner or later every in- 
fluential business man in Nicaragua, in Mexico, in Colombia, in 
Chile finds his way to the Isthmus. High officials of the various 
republics pass through it en route to or returning from im- 
portant diplomatic missions. It furnishes refuge to unpopular 
politicians from far and near. If a Nicaraguan, or Honduranian, 
or Peruvian president finds it necessary to take sudden leave of 
his post, he goes to Panama to await developments or to make 
plans to recoup his fortunes. Even dignitaries who still enjoy 
public favor come to the great hospitals and clinics of the 
Isthmus in search of health and relief from their ailments. 

Panama is to the Other Americas the great example of how 
Uncle Sam treats his weak and smaller neighbors. As one 
Peruvian official puts it, "Your treatment of Panama is taken 
by the other Spanish-American peoples as the measure of your 
attitude and intentions toward all of them. It is the show 
window of your Latin-American policy." 

With no other country in the world are our relations so inti- 
mate and delicate. Thousands of our citizens are on the Isthmus 
engaged in operating the Canal and other purely American 
interests. Thousands of our soldiers and sailors have the run 
of the country, mixing and mingling freely with the Pana- 
manian people. Under such circumstances the maintenance of 
respect and good will between Panama and the United States 
Is a tremendous as well as a vital problem. 

Right through the middle of the republic from sea to sea 
runs a strip of land ten miles wide and forty-seven miles long 
over which we rule supreme. In this piece of territory there 
are upwards of 10,000 civilian Americans, 12,000 Yankee sol- 
diers and sailors, 20,000 dark and dusky West Indians, mostly 
Jamaicans, whose government is the War Department of the 

[178] 



Panama 

United States, and whose governor is a West Pointer. It is also 
well to bear in mind that the .Canal Zone, strange as it may 
seem, is not United States territory. We govern it but we do not 
own the land. Which is to say we merely lease it in perpetuity 
to accommodate the Canal. We paid Panama $10,000,000 
down in the beginning of things and still contribute $250,000 
a year in gold, or the equivalent, as an annuity. It may be 
well to clear up one point just here, for it seems to be taken 
for granted, both by Panamanians and Americans, that this 
$250,000 is paid as a rental for the Canal. Such is not the case. 
Before the Panamanian republic came into existence the Yankee 
owners paid the government of Colombia $250,000 annually 
for permission to operate the railroad across Colombian terri- 
tory. After Panamanian independence, the United States took 
over the railroad and the building of the Canal, so it was 
thought only right that the new government which would 
be in need of a steady income should receive the $250,000 
annually. 

Before his term of office expired, Doctor Harmodio Arias, 
the President preceding the present one, succeeded in wringing 
from the United States material concessions in the Canal Zone 
and, in 1936, an entirely new treaty between the republic and 
the government at Washington respecting the Canal. 

Agitation in Panama for concessions under the treaty of 
1903 had been increasing during recent years. So, early in the 
Roosevelt administration, at the request of the Panamanian 
government and in line with its good neighbor policy, the 
President made certain restrictions upon the commercial activi- 
ties of the Canal commissaries. To prevent competition with 
stores, cafes and theatres in Panama, the patronage of citizens 
and residents of the republic is no longer accepted by the Canal 
Zone commissaries, restaurants and movie houses. Likewise the 
commissaries are forbidden to sell direct to the thousands of 
tourists and passengers on ships passing through the Canal. 



New Roads to Riches 

At the same time the regulations under which Canal Zone 
restaurants and shops were at one time required to buy their 
supplies exclusively from government commissaries have been 
abrogated. 

Notwithstanding these concessions, various groups and in- 
dividuals on the Isthmus were loud in their demands for more 
than commercial favors. Political critics and leaders of propa- 
gandist organizations advocated everything from the sale of 
the Canal to an international corporation, to the complete 
scrapping of the treaty of 1903 under which the Canal was 
constructed and by which it was maintained. 

"The United States should demilitarize the Canal Zone," 
one communistically inclined member of the Panamanian Con- 
gress told me in 1934* "The big guns should be pulled down 
and the army withdrawn from the vicinity. This great waterway 
should not be dedicated to war but to the pursuits of peace." 

"The Canal should be in theory, as well as in reality, an 
international highway/' suggested another talkative politico. 
"The United States/' he explained., "should sell it to an inter- 
national corporation in which are represented all the leading 
nations of the world. This corporation would in turn operate it 
for the benefit of the whole world and not just for the United 
States alone. 77 

And then there was Senor Rivera Reyes, founder and head of 
the Panamanian Society for International Action, an organiza- 
tion which would free Panama from "United States domi- 
nation" through international coercion. Senor Reyes insisted 
that the 1903 treaty "born of fraud, perfidy, dishonor," and so 
on> be abolished before any other negotiations were attempted. 
Indeed, in a memorandum addressed to President Roosevelt 
on the occasion of one of the latter's early visits to the Isthmus, 
the Society declared "Panama denounces as absolutely null 
and void the treaty entered into between this country and the 
United States of America on November 18, 1903." 

[180] 



Panama 

At the same time the opinion was shared both by responsible 
Panamanians and a great number of the Americans living on 
the Isthmus, that the republic of Panama had certain grievances 
against the practices of the Canal Zone government toward the 
republic which seemed eminently worthy of consideration by 
Washington officials. 

For instance, the Panama Railroad, which is owned and 
operated by the United States government, though separate 
from the Canal, is the only railway in the entire country serv- 
ing the general public. Panamanians and Americans have long 
advocated the construction of a highway across the Isthmus 
between Panama City and Colon. In this age of motor trans- 
portation a highway across the Isthmus would be an important 
addition to the defense of the Canal, as well as a boon to com- 
mercial intercourse between the republic's two principal cities. 
Yet it is pretty generally conceded that the Panama Railroad 
Company had consistently opposed the building of such a 
highway. 

Strangely enough, there are American grievances against 
the Panama Railroad Company, grievances from American in- 
terests not located on the Isthmus. The company also owns one 
of the most successful steamship lines operating between New 
York and Cristobal in competition with privately operated lines. 
In fact, among the finest and most modern of our newly con- 
structed merchant ships are the three new io,ooo-ton vessels 
of this line, the Panama, the Ancon and the Cristobal) com- 
missioned in 1939. The particular objections raised by the pri- 
vate companies is the fact that the line allows all Canal Zone 
employees specially reduced rates which the private lines can- 
not meet. 

The Panama Railroad also owns a great portion of the best 
commercial property in the Panamanian city of Colon, property 
over which from the beginning it has exercised complete control 
and regulation. Panamanians believe, and so do some Ameri- 

[181] 



New Roads to Riches 

cans, that these properties should be subject to the same rules, 
regulations and taxes as any other properties owned by for- 
eigners in the territory of Panama. 

Then too, in spite of the restrictions already mentioned, the 
Canal Zone commissaries, which compare favorably with any 
small city department store in the United States, since they 
carry everything from Persian rugs to French perfumes, still 
had a monopoly on the sale of provisions to the ships which 
pass through the Canal. The commissaries pay no rent or taxes, 
and everything they sell, no matter from what source it comes, 
either from the continental United States or from other coun- 
tries, enters the Canal Zone duty free. Consequently, Pana- 
manian merchants who must pay tariffs, taxes and high trans- 
portation costs cannot compete with them. 

Another particular grievance of the Panamanians was the 
fact that, due to the tremendous expansion of the Canal, the 
army, the navy and Panama Railroad activities in recent years, 
and the continual appropriation of additional territory, the 
Panamanian city of Colon had become completely isolated from 
the rest of the republic 5 in other words, completely sur- 
rounded by the Canal, navy and army properties. Because of this 
situation, overcrowding in the old section of Colon is becoming 
a serious problem to the Panamanian government, not to men- 
tion a possible menace to the Canal Zone itself. In a space eight 
blocks wide by sixteen blocks long live over thirty thousand 
people, making the problem of sanitation one of the most diffi- 
cult to be found anywhere in the tropics. 

On the other hand, a considerable portion of the land now 
occupied by the Americans, particularly a section or strip ex- 
tending southward along the Caribbean, and known as New 
Cristobal, has been filled in as a result of great dredging proj- 
ects carried on by and at the expense of the United States 
government. On this land one of the great hospitals for the 
Canal, an imposing high-school building with playgrounds, and 

[182] 



Panama 

houses for hundreds of Canal Zone employees have been con- 
structed. But since most of this land was filled in along the 
waterfront of the old city of Colon, as well as adjoining the 
original Canal Zone proper, Panama insists that it is Pana- 
manian territory, and should remain under the complete juris- 
diction of the republic. For that matter, old Colon itself was 
built in 1 850 as a result of American enterprise, and on a mud- 
flat, as the starting point for the Panama Railroad. 

This is one of the most ticklish of all the questions that have 
arisen between the two governments. The land for New Cris- 
tobal was already filled in, the buildings constructed at a cost 
of millions of dollars, before any question was raised by the 
Panamanians. It is an accomplished fact. What it amounts to 
is that a part of the Canal Zone, its activities and its employees 
are and will continue to be subject to the laws, regulations and 
rule of Panama. 

Already there are constant clashes between the Americans in 
New Cristobal and the Panamanian authorities, particularly the 
police force, most of whose members are colored. In fact, the 
bulk of the population of Colon is either black or a mixture of 
African and other dark races. While the national government of 
Panama rabidly insists upon maintaining its complete sover- 
eignty over the community, and no doubt wishes to furnish 
complete protection to the property and residents, local authori- 
ties often make a poor showing when it comes to carrying out 
their responsibilities. In fact the overbearing and often unfair 
attitude of many of them is perfect evidence of an inferiority 
complex and, although understandable, is inexcusable upon the 
part of the national government. 

Dozens of annoying incidents pile up every week. I wit- 
nessed, or from unimpeachable Panamanian sources learned of 
many such incidents during a recent visit. A colored taxi driver 
deliberately ran into a white employee of the Canal Zone who 
was driving his own car. The policeman on the beat let the 

[183] 



New Roads to Riches 

taxi man go but gave the American a ticket which resulted in 
his having to pay a fine. 

An American doctor connected with the New Cristobal Hos- 
pital returned home one evening after a walk with his wife to 
find a colored man sitting on the front steps making love to the 
Panamanian* cook. When the doctor told the visitor to move on, 
the latter, although not in uniform, showed his police badge, 
shoved a gun into the doctor's ribs and began to spout abusive 
language. The doctor's wife rushed to the telephone and called 
the police department, only to be told, "You will have to come 
down to the department and personally swear out a warrant 
before we can do anything about it." 

Two neighbor friends, both Americans, drove out of their 
garages one evening and accidentally backed into one another. 
They apologized and each agreed to take care of the damages to 
the other's car, but a policeman intervened and said, "Oh no, 
you must both go to court." 

A colored taxi man ran over an old colored woman, drove 
on and left her lying in the street. A young white man came 
along, found her, picked her up, put her in his car, took her to 
the American Hospital, then went down to police headquarters 
and reported. They immediately put him in- jail without any 
investigation. 

Two Americans went to the police department and com- 
plained about their houses being continually robbed without fche 
police making any effort to apprehend the robbers. "It already 
costs us $25,000 a year to police New Cristobal where you 
Americans live," was the reply they got, "and we can't do any 
more than we are doing now." 

This inferiority complex about national sovereignty, and the 
attitude toward the United States is easily understood. The 
population of Colon and Panama City is quite different from 
what it was ten and fifteen years ago. The bulk of the poor and 
simpler classes have moved in from the interior. They know 



Panama 

nothing of what the communities were like before the Ameri- 
cans built magnificent buildings, parks, paved streets and roads, 
made them spotless and freed the whole Isthmus of every kind 
of insect and disease. When these people first arrive they look 
at Balboa, Ancon, New Cristobal, the beautifully kept hotels 
and homes of the Americans. So it is easy for them to believe 
the Yankees took all these things away from Panama, particu- 
larly when petty politicians and cheap news sheets find it so 
profitable to keep them in ignorance. 

But then the Yankees also have shortcomings. Some of them, 
especially the newcomers, naturally resent having to be sub- 
jected to Panamanian rule. Altogether old-timers who have 
been through the mill, and have helped to keep relations be- 
tween the two peoples on an even keel for so long, and live in 
New Cristobal by choice, are not unreasonable in their demands. 
Besides, Americans employed on the Canal are engineers, arti- 
sans of all kinds, and substantial people with families. 

One prominent Panamanian said to me, "I am afraid that 
the attitude of some of our people toward the Americans is not 
due altogether to those who live in Panama, but to the multitude 
of visitors, the cruise ship passengers, the tourists on a holiday, 
who swarm into the community every day in the week and 
while here engage in what you Yankees are pleased to call 
c doing the town. 3 It is natural for many of our people, who, 
until recent years, have had few of the advantages of education, 
travel or substantial jobs with which to afiord reasonably good 
living conditions, to be offended at these things. 

"For instance," he explained, "this is a very warm climate. 
You and I realize that persons arriving from New York, the 
eastern and middle-western United States in January find the 
heat oppressive. Yet it is unfortunate that so many of them start 
shedding their coats, or, as the Panamanians say, 'undressing, 3 
as soon as they get into port. They take off their ties, open their 
shirts, so that their hairy chests are bared to the world. Then 

[185] 



New Roads to Riches 

they remove their shoes, put on tennis slippers or sneakers to 
walk about the town. In the shops they talk loudly, ridicule and 
browbeat the clerks, make slighting remarks about Panama 
before the proprietors and the customers. 

"My dear sir," he concluded, his anger rising perceptibly, 
"this is one source of contempt that many of these people de- 
velop for United States citizens. You see, the poor Panamanian, 
never having been to the States, and having seen so many of 
this type of obnoxious person, although of course you and I 
know they do not represent the real Americans, thinks he has 
seen representative citizens of the great and powerful United 

States." 

The new treaty, as far as the fundamental problems con- 
cerning relations between the two countries are concerned, 
covers practically all of them. New Cristobal will continue 
under the sovereignty of Panama, the commercial and trade 
restrictions imposed upon the Canal Zone commissaries become 
permanent. It specifies that the payment of the $250,000 an- 
nuity in gold shall be paid in balboas, the Panamanian unit of 
currency, to the amount of 430,000 annually. Moreover, this 
payment shall be retroactive to 1934 when Panama refused the 
first payment in depreciated dollars. The United States re- 
nounces its guarantee of Panamanian independence, also its 
responsibility as well as its right to intervene for purposes of 
restoring order in Colon and Panama City. 

The two articles of the treaty which are of the most imme- 
diate importance are first: "In case of an international con- 
flagration or the existence of any threat of aggression which 
would endanger the security of the Republic of Panama or the 
neutrality or security of the Panama Canal, the governments 
of the United States and the Republic of Panama will take such 
measures for prevention and defense as they may consider nec- 
essary for the protection of their common interests. Any mea- 
sures, in safeguarding such interests, which it shall appear 

[186] 



Panama 

essential to one government to take, and which may affect the 
territory under the jurisdiction of the other government, will 
be the subject of consultation between the two governments." 

And second, "The provisions of the treaty shall not affect the 
rights and obligations of either of the two high contracting 
parties under the treaties now in force between the two coun- 
tries, nor be considered as a limitation, definition, restriction or 
restrictive interpretation of such rights and obligations, but 
without prejudice to the full force and effect of any provisions 
of this treaty which constitute addition to, modification or abro- 
gation of, or substitution for the provisions of previous treaties." 

But the State Department in an exchange of correspondence 
with the Panamanian government has established clearly or to 
the satisfaction of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that 
nothing would be allowed to restrict the free action of the 
United States in case of war with a foreign power or any sudden 
major emergency. At any rate, the treaty has already been 
ratified by the Panamanian Congress and the United States 
Senate. 

And yet the extreme Nationalists are not satisfied. They will 
never be satisfied, and if the government at Washington makes 
a practice of listening to all the agitators and makes concessions 
every time they are requested, a very unhappy situation will 
eventually result on the Isthmus. Of course, it is not only right, 
but even good business, for the United States to be as generous 
as possible in its treatment of the little republic. Nevertheless, 
practically everybody, whether American or Panamanian, whose 
head is fastened squarely on his shoulders, and who knows 
the facts first-hand, feels that whatever may have been the 
circumstances surrounding the negotiations of the treaty of 
1903, and regardless of the intemperate and extravagant con- 
tentions of the propagandists today, the Panama Canal is now a 
reality and nothing whatsoever should be permitted to interfere 
with its efficient maintenance, operation and protection. 

[187] 



Ill 

The Listening Post 



I 



NOW know why fire engines are so alluring to small boys, and 
to not a few larger ones as well. At least I know why every boy 
in Panama City wants to be a bombero y as the citizens of this 
southern metropolis are pleased to call their fire-fighters. 

Firemen in the capital of Panama are the gayest-looking 
sheiks I ever saw, except the bullfighters of Caracas, Venezuela, 
or perhaps the chorus men of a Broadway musical comedy. Most 
of them are in their late teens. They are slim, dark and dapper, 
with shiny hair that tapers into a very pointed V at the temples. 
A few even sport those wispy mustaches of the hot-house variety. 
And how they dress! They wear blood-red shirts, snow-white 
pants, glistening black boots and patent-leather helmets. When 
there is a fire in Panama nobody misses it. But then who would? 
What senorita would not enjoy being rescued by the boys of 
such a brigade? It is a wonder that the city does not break out 
with fires every day. 

It is an honor to be a bombero. In fact, it is strictly an hon- 
orary position. Nobody is hired to fight fires. Membership in 
the department is entirely voluntary, but strict. You don't put 
on the red shirt to strut in public. You put it on to serve your 
country as well as your city, to learn obedience and practice 
discipline. The rules are severe^ and to break them wilfully 
is national disgrace. 

[188] 



Panama 

There is one man behind all this, an old man too, a patriarch. 
He is Comandante Juan Antonio Guizado. Daddy Guizado, as 
he is affectionately known, the idol of the small boys of the 
city, has long been the spirit and the law of the department. He 
founded it, surrounded it with an air of romance, even a bit 
of the glamor of a King Arthur's court. Anyway, the lads of 
the Red Shirt Brigade pay Daddy Guizado just as much hom- 
age as the Knights of the Round Table paid to Arthur himself. 

The home fires may be kept burning in many a town but they 
do not burn long in this city on the Isthmus. What is more, 
whether it is a fire or a famine, a riot or a revolution, Daddy 
Guizado and his boys are always standing by ready for 
action. 

A few years ago, in 1931, the population of Panama became 
very angry about the wily ways of the political bosses. They 
became so angry they boiled over. In the early hours of a Jan- 
uary morning they quietly laid hands upon the Chief of Police, 
then swooped down upon the Presidential Palace and sent His 
Excellency on a long vacation. Having already met with such 
startling success, they next proceeded to subdue one by one 
His Excellency's satellites and henchmen, and otherwise rid 
the community of all those gentlemen who had practiced the 
old art of political plunder. By that time their enthusiasm 
was all but sufficient to wreck the town. Every one was anxious 
to join in the chase of politicos. Not since the days of the 
Texas bad men has there been on display in one community 
such an assortment of ancient pistolry and hand artillery. 

Whereupon Daddy Guizado gathered up his gay bomberos 
those in reserve, as well as those on active duty and went forth 
to save the town from itself. In no time at all he had pacified 
the frenzied patriots, calmed the multitude and stood by while 
a wiry little brown-eyed lawyer brought passable government 
out of hopeless chaos. 

And that brings us to Doctor Harmodio Arias, no relation 

[189] 



New Roads to Riches 

incidentally to the Ariases of the aristocracy mentioned in the 
previous chapter. On the night in question Doctor Arias became 
the saviour of his nation, as well as the moulder of Panamanian 
history. He is one of the biggest little men who ever started 
from taw in the tropical jungle, strolled down the classic 
cloisters of Cambridge University in England and sat on the 
high bench of the International Court of Justice. And if that 
sounds perfectly Horatio Algerish, it cannot be helped. It is the 
gospel truth. 

When the enraged populace first began to apply the public 
boot to political pants, Harmodio Arias probably had no ex- 
pectation that he would have to pilot the Ship of State through 
such troubled water. He wasn't the leader of the revolutionary 
group. He wasn't even the moving spirit. He is much too 
quiet and retiring for that. But when the revolutionists had 
gotten rid of the old crowd, Harmodio was the one man in the 
country whose ability and disinterestedness they trusted. They 
simply demanded that he act, and so he acted. 

As fast as the wheels would turn he ground out a temporary 
regime, then planned an election to re-establish a constitutional 
government. All this done, he was ready to slip back into his 
accustomed niche as a private citizen and the most respected 
lawyer in Central America. But soon the old crowd began to 
lick their chops and creep back one by one to look for places 
at the public trough. The people again sniffed anger. And so 
did Harmodio. His Latin temperament and his Indian blood 
completely aroused, he became a candidate for the presidency 
and again took the field in a fight to the finish. Election Day 
came. The ballots were counted and the fighting attorney was 
again the man of the hour. 

Inaugural ceremonies were held on an August afternoon, 
and it was such a day as the republic had not seen since it came 
into being. It was a day of rejoicing, like a gala Saturday at 
an old-time county fair. From every town and village in the 



Panama 

republic, from Chiriqui Province and the San Bias country, 
pilgrims came to the capital black men, red men, brown men, 
and those of Spanish descent women, children and babies all 
to see the diminutive doctor inducted into office. For by now 
he was the little father of all the faithful. 

The National Opera House was the scene of this spectacle 
because the opera house serves as the official residence of the 
National Congress. Not that the Congressmen sing or play on 
musical instruments. They merely act that is, for the people. 
The people may even sit in the galleries and watch them per- 
form. And who shall say that a theatre is an unsuitable place 
for a Congress to meet, since so many Congressmen seem to be 
given to histrionics and Thespian behavior? 

A ticket to the opera house was as easy to find as the Lamp of 
Aladdin. But I was fortunate. I went as the guest of the Ameri- 
can Minister, then the clever Missourian Roy T. Davis. He 
even sent Edward Latham, a member of his staff, to see that 
I got safely by the doorkeeper. But getting by the doorkeeper 
was not the problem. It was getting to the door. For when we 
arrived the place was being mobbed peacefully mobbed, of 
course. Nowhere, except possibly at a demonstration of the 
Italian Fascisti, or the German Nazis, could you find such a 
crowd. The streets and squares for blocks around were a solid 
mass of seething Panamanians. 

Just as we got within eyeshot of the front doorsteps they 
began flowing and ebbing like waves on the seashore, a 
phenomenon that dampened the dignity of the diplomats, in 
fact bruised the dignity of more than one. A flock of these 
gentlemen got caught in the surge and were thrown bodily 
toward the door. Several missed the opening and landed up 
against the fagade of the building. Some were caught by the 
tails of their coats and held back in the scramble. A few lost 
their canes and gloves while silk hats went bouncing above the 
surface of the human sea. Latham and I got on the crest of 



New Roads to Riches 

one of those waves and rode it to the door. And but for the 
bayonet of a soldier, whose unintentional thrust we managed 
to parry by a hair's breadth, we would have flowed right on 
through to our seats without stopping but luck was with us. 
As we stood in this perilous predicament an attache of the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs saw us, and rushed to our rescue. 

Already the walls of the theatre were bulging from the 
pressure of the perspiring crowd within. The aisles were 
jammed. The balconies were overflowing. People hung over 
the edges and dung to columns. Diplomatic boxes were invaded 
in a frenzied scene. Visiting admirals and generals in glittering 
regalia, office clerks and scrubwomen, diplomats in standing 
collars and tail coats, truck drivers in greasy shirts and overalls, 
like too many sardines in a can, stood wedged against each 
other throughout the proceedings. 

It was democracy with abandon, hilarious democracy, people 
mad with joy, anxious to pay tribute to their idol. But in all 
the confusion nobody got angry, nobody except a few of the 
prominent and exalted foreigners who got their spats soiled or 
their silk hats mashed. I have never witnessed anything like it 
the eagerness to see, the reverence of every one who could see, 
the high and the low. Those who got in hung on every one 
of the simple but profound words of the little man's speech. 
They might have been hypnotized, so serious were the expres- 
sions on their faces. 

Afterwards officers and officials were full of apologies for 
any mishap. They had simply been swamped. To tell the truth 
they had expected a perfunctory affair, as in the good old days. 
One man said, "We hadn't even dreamed of such a thing. 
You see, we never had a president before that people paid much 
attention to." Personally I think few of the southern republics 
have ever had such a president. 

Doctor Harmodio Arias has lived enough experiences to fill 
volumes. Fifty-odd years ago he looked out upon the world 



Panama 

from a tiny village in the wild interior of the Isthmus. When 
Harmodio was old enough to take notice of such matters, his 
father, a backwoodsman of the first order, possessed a few 
runty cattle, a seedy old mare, a wife and a half dozen children. 
But somehow that mysterious power which flings obscure men 
into the solar plexus of world activity took this lowly lad of 
Spanish and Indian parentage out of the Panamanian waste 
lands and stood him in the fashionable courts of the world. 

He went to Panama City in his teens and, Abraham Lincoln- 
like, got a job as a clerk in a little store. Between customers he 
read odds and ends papers, almanacs and whatnot. He passed 
up the strange sights and wonders of the city. School was his 
consuming ambition and he finally got into one. Then a war 
broke out. Panama revolted from Colombia, seceded, or what- 
ever one's personal opinion on that controversial subject may 
be. Anyway, it became a republic. After which young Arias went 
back to school, then to a straggling college where he lapped 
up what they had to offer and asked for more. 

The new republic had wisely provided for several scholar- 
ships, with the idea of sending bright youngsters abroad so as 
to provide the country with a group of citizens trained in world 
affairs. Harmodio asked to be examined for one of these scholar- 
ships, won it, and immediately set off for England, and the 
University School at Southport, to prepare himself for Cam- 
bridge. 

A few years later he strolled out of Cambridge with honors, 
but his desire for learning was not yet satisfied. So straight 
down to London he went, and to the University of London 
where he prepared and published a thesis on the exciting sub- 
ject of International Law. For this, the staid old professors 
gave him the degree of Bachelor of Laws and sent him back 
home to hang out his shingle, or whatever a lawyer in Panama 
hangs out, and later to build up the most distinguished practice 
on the Isthmus. 



New Roads to Riches 

As the years passed, other honors began raining down upon 
him. He was sent as Special Minister here and there. He was 
Panama's first representative in the League of Nations, from 
which place the trail led to the Hague and the International 
Court of Justice to sit as one of the distinguished jurists of 
the times. Then he went back to Panama and, as you have 
already seen, to the presidency, to lead his people out of a 
tragic crisis and through the mazes of a world depression. 

As his regular term as the nation's chief executive drew to 
a close, he entertained no thought of succeeding himself al- 
though he could have been re-elected almost by acclamation. 
Instead he supported Juan Demostenes Arosemena, his Minis- 
ter of Foreign Affairs, for the presidency. Arosemena was a 
former mayor of Colon and afterwards governor of the prov- 
ince of Colon, a rather gruff and outspoken, but extremely 
able, man. 

The depression dealt Panama a severe blow. The republic 
enjoys prosperity only when the world is prosperous, when 
world trade flourishes and the sea is full of ships. The liveli- 
hood of Panama's citizens, the majority of whom live in Colon 
and Panama City, is dependent upon the Canal Zone. For 
several years, traffic through the Canal fell off, tolls shrank, 
so that forces had to be cut down. Thousands of laborers were 
laid off, army and naval activities were curtailed. Consequently 
Panamanian stores and shops suffered severe losses, and there 
was little work for thousands of Panamanian laborers. 

Throughout this difficult period Arias not only succeeded in 
feeding the unemployed and carrying on a program of public 
works, but kept up payments on the country's foreign debt. A 
foreign debt of more than $18,000,000 originally and a large 
additional internal debt is no small obligation for a country 
of scarcely half a million people, few of whom are even well 
to do. Besides, much of the debt had been contracted during 
previous regimes. But Arias was a stickler for promptness and 



Panama 

fairness to the private individual who had put his money into 
the country's bonds, no matter what the circumstances sur- 
rounding the floating of these bonds. During his last year in 
office, there were many Panamanians who thought he ought to 
suspend the payments, "because," as they expressed it, "hardly 
any one else is paying its debts, not even such powerful countries 
as England and France. Why should little Panama pay?" 

I shall never forget his reply when I asked him his personal 
views on the subject: "I would consider such a step most un- 
fortunate both for the government and the country," he said. 
"I know many people think credit isn't worth anything any- 
where, therefore why should Panama think about credit? But 
even if this were true, which it isn't, I would still be in favor 
of keeping it up. When I have given my word to do a thing, 
I can think of no excuse why I should not live up to it. Only 
one condition would cause me to suspend payment on the debt 
while I am president, and that would be to prevent my people 
from starving to death." 

His sense of propriety as a private citizen, even if he is still 
the most respected figure among his own people, would never 
permit him to voice open criticism of his successor who sus- 
pended the debt payments. But I have reason to know that he 
has not altered his opinion on the subject. 

Although it was Arias who won so many concessions from 
the United States government, and who negotiated the new 
Panamanian-United States treaty, whose ratification has been 
completed, he is no enemy of the United States. Because he 
himself is a gentleman who feels that doing the fair, honorable 
and just thing by every one should be a privilege and not an 
obligation, he cannot bring himself to see why little Panama 
should not be allowed the privilege of being friendly and 
generous to her powerful neighbor instead of being told in a 
treaty that she has to do it. This is to say he insists that the 
United States should trust Panama to realize that her best in- 

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New Roads to Riches 

terest lies in close co-operation with her neighbor. He would 
uphold the dignity of his nation, its right to discuss with the 
Washington government, as an equal, questions involving its 
relationship with the Canal Zone, and as they arise, instead 
o giving to the United States what some one has called "a 
blank treaty right to do as it pleases at any time, as was per- 
mitted by the original treaty of 1903." 

To those who have feared that by giving up its right to inter- 
fere in the political affairs of Panama the government might 
at some time make agreements with other governments, or 
allow other countries, say Germany, Italy or Japan, privileges 
on the Isthmus that might endanger the safety of the Canal, 
it may be said that Arias and his successor have carefully 
guarded against this, even in cases where such things were not 
even forbidden by the old treaty. In 1930, during the adminis- 
tration of the government which Arias succeeded, Panama had 
entered into a trade and immigration treaty with Japan. Under 
the treaty each country made concessions to the other in the 
matter of commerce and Panama was to permit Japanese citi- 
zens to settle in various parts of the republic. 

This was a very serious question. It meant that Panama was 
giving privileges to a country which was later to be lined up 
with the European totalitarian states and the enemies of the 
very democracy which Arias was to insist should govern her 
relations with the United States. The agreement had already 
been ratified both by the Japanese government and the Pana- 
manian Congress. But fortunately the formalities of the ex- 
change of ratification had not taken place. Therefore it was not 
in effect before the revolution of 1931 when the government 
which had made the agreement was overthrown. 

Arias was under no illusion about the possible dangers of 
the situation, especially since the agreement had already been 
ratified by both governments. Nevertheless, when he came to 
office he carefully neglected to exchange the articles of ratifica- 

[196] 



Panama 

tion. He put the matter off time after time, figuring the Japa- 
nese would take a hint. But the Mikado's officials are nothing 
if not persistent, or naive, even if intentionally so. The Japanese 
minister made overtures to the Foreign Minister, Doctor Arose- 
mena, now president of the republic. The Foreign Minister 
came to Arias about it. The President gave him instructions to 
tell the Japanese envoy, not in writing, but orally, that "Panama 
unfortunately is experiencing a crisis and thousands of our own 
people are unemployed, and, under the circumstances, we do 
not feel that we can afford to permit any further immigration 
at the moment." 

The Japanese minister then lodged a protest, suggesting that 
Panama was not keeping faith. Arias replied that his govern- 
ment did not make the agreement in the first place and that it 
was made by a government which, because of unfortunate prac- 
tices, had been overthrown. The Japanese then made it a ques- 
tion of an affront to the Emperor of Japan. The Arias govern- 
ment humbly but cleverly suggested that such a small country 
as Panama could hardly be important enough to affront the 
great Japanese Empire. 

Later on an admiral came through and, of course, asked to 
present his compliments to the President. He was received by 
Doctor Arias. Naively he remarked on the good relations be- 
tween Panama and Japan. CC I believe," said he, as if such matters 
were entirely outside his field, or knowledge, "we even have a 
treaty for the promotion of trade and immigration?" Arias 
graciously replied, "Oh, unfortunately, I am afraid not. The 
formalities of ratification were never exchanged." The admiral 
appeared "so surprised," knowing very well that he and his 
country's minister had hatched up that method of reminding 
Arias of the treaty once again. 

Even after this the Japanese minister came forward with 
suggestions for a compromise. Japan would be willing to forego 
the immigration features of the treaty if Panama would only 



New Roads to Riches 

exchange ratification. However, Arias found other and con- 
tinual excuses until his term of office expired. But the moment 
he retired, and Doctor Arosemena came into office, the request 
for ratification was renewed by the Japanese. Naturally the 
Oriental mind figured that, while Doctor Arosemena was 
Minister of Foreign Affairs his Latin cordiality and extreme 
courtesy meant that he was merely carrying out the orders o 
his chief, but, now that he himself was the head of the govern- 
ment, he might be induced to complete the transaction. That is 
to say, as Foreign Minister Doctor Arosemena was compelled 
to make excuses for some one else, and he had made so many 
excuses that now as president he would have to give in. But 
so far he has not. 

There are some who still feel that Arosemena is personally 
unfriendly to the United States. They recall certain of his criti- 
cisms of the Yankees during his earlier years as mayor and 
governor of Colon. Yet it is hardly possible that he would have 
had the support of Arias for the presidency, or, to be more 
explicit, that he would have been the Arias candidate, if he 
had not proven himself a man of the highest integrity and 
extreme sound judgment, who knows that Panama has nothing 
to gain by any act that is detrimental to the efficient operation 
of the Panama Canal. 

It is true that he suspended payments on the public debt, 
which Arias so rigidly kept up while he was in office. But his 
reasons for this were not without logic. In a recent conversation 
he said, "The situation for us is this. The United States govern- 
ment isn't paying its debts to us, so how can we pay our debts 
to citizens of the United States. The stipulations of the treaty 
of 1903 say that the United States shall pay us $250,000 a 
year in gold, not depreciated currency. But it has refused to 
pay us in gold and a quarter million gold dollars a year cut 
from our income is more than a serious loss. 37 

When I suggested that that point had been taken care of 

[198] 



Panama 

In the new treaty, he was quick to reply. "Yes, we promptly 
ratified the treaty but the United States has not, even though 
the treaty was drawn up and signed more than three years ago. 
Considering the fact that the United States went off gold in 
1933 and would not pay us in gold, it means that you still owe 
us more than a million dollars, that is, gold dollars. In fifty- 
nine-cent dollars, it is actually nearly two million. 

"Of course," he said, "we might have accepted the checks 
which were offered us each year, checks for $250,000 in present- 
day currency. But that might have jeopardized our claims for 
the gold or its equivalent." 

Whatever President Arosemena's attitude toward the United 
States may be, or whether he would be likely to give aid and 
comfort to any country or government that might have designs 
against its best interests in the Canal Zone, informed and in- 
fluential Panamanians are outspoken against the forces that are 
leading the fight against democracy. 

In The Panama American, one of the two leading newspapers 
in the country, of which he is publisher, Doctor Arias himself 
has recently spoken in no uncertain terms against having any 
truck with the Fascist states. He even advocated that all de- 
mocracies break off relations with Germany, "as a demonstration 
of the intense aversion, profound disgust and a reaffirrnation 
of the democratic sentiments that respect the rights and liberty 
of peoples." He expressed the hope that the American nations 
will adopt this attitude and demonstrate the continental soli- 
darity revealed at the recent Lima conference. 

Close on the heels of this statement, T. Gabriel Duque, also 
a former president of Panama, and publisher of The Star and 
fferaldy the other leading newspaper, goes farther and calls 
upon all Latin-American countries to take steps against the 
Nazis, or any others not satisfied with conditions in this part 
of the world. "We could imitate a well-known Nazi institution, 
the plebiscite, conducted, however, on democratic lines of free- 

[199] 



New Roads to Riches 

dom of vote, by which German residents would have to declare 
whether or not they were in sympathy with the Nazi ideology 
and program." 

Duque asserted that the cry of Yankee imperialism comes 
from Old World interests for their own benefit, "With the 
United States as its frankly recognized leader-a leadership 
based on the democratic principle of equality Latin America 
can act to offset any aggressive attempt by Nazi Germany or 
Fascist Italy," declared the editorial. 

Even before these two leaders spoke out, plain citizens them- 
selves were making their own views known. An Italian cruiser 
paid a good-will visit to Panama. When the officers, dressed 
up in their gold braid and shiny swords, were on their way to 
present their respects to the government, they suddenly found 
themselves targets for all manner of dejected and rejected 
fruit and vegetables. 

"Fascism, Nazism or Nipponism," as one high official sees 
it, "will get no farther here than it does in Georgia or Missouri 
or North Carolina." The same personage, under whose juris- 
diction such matters would be taken care of, spoke out on the 
subject of Japanese spies, living in Panama but operating against 
the Canal. "Of course there are Jap spies here," he said, "and 
have been for twenty years. But they are so naive they don't 
fool anybody. Their every movement is known and their every 
movement has always been known." 

In this matter there is the closest co-operation between the 
Panamanian authorities, the officials of the Canal and the army 
and navy forces. Let no citizen entertain any doubt about the 
vigilance and the all-seeing eye of Uncle Sam in these mat- 
ters. There is little about the Canal that cannot be known by 
anybody who lives near it or who passes through it. The im- 
portant thing is to know who the foreign agents are and what 
they plan to do, or could do. With more than 25,000 Yankee sol- 
diers, sailors and employees on the Isthmus, not only to guard 



Panama 

and patrol the Canal itself, but to dress up in civilian clothes 
and keep circulating in every nook and corner of the cities, 
towns and area, not much could be or is going to be planned 
without its becoming known. 

Some of the smart uncoverers for certain of the Hot Stuff 
periodicals have recently put out very scary stories about the 
dangers of our treasured waterway, and the impotence of our 
Secret Service forces around it. One or two have gone down 
in person, looked the situation over and learned in two or three 
weeks, one of them in six days things that none of the fellows 
who have been constantly on the job for years had known. 
But why dignify such pitiful presumption with discussion? It 
is enough to say that if army and navy officers, and a host of 
highy trained civilians, men Uncle Sam has trained from boy- 
hood, and who have spent years studying, observing, and figur- 
ing ways and means of apprehending, circumventing and un- 
earthing the plans of spies and foreign enemies, don't know 
everything that is going on in Panama, it is hardly possible for 
an itinerant journalist to learn much more than they know in a 
few days. 

Meantime, entirely aside from the fact that we operate the 
Canal and therefore have intimate and sometimes delicate re- 
lations with the Panamanian government and people, Panama is 
diplomatically one of the most important countries in the hemi- 
sphere to us. It is our Latin-American Listening Post. In the 
new drive for closer trade ties with the countries to the south, 
the Embassy (the legation has only recently been raised to an 
Embassy) in Panama is one of the most important links. Its 
occupant should be a highly trained and able man, one inti- 
mately acquainted with the people of all the Other Americas, 
their customs and characteristics, their weaknesses and their 
virtues. Such a man can help to guide successfully the course 
of Uncle Sam's relations with all the near-by countries. 

We are fortunate that we have had in Panama a number 

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New Roads to Riches 

of men who thoroughly appreciated this fact. In recent years 
we owe a great deal to such men as Roy T. Davis and George 
T. Summerlin, both well trained in the school of common sense, 
as well as the intricacies of diplomacy. Roy T. Davis, United 
States Minister in Panama from 1929 until 1933, was called 
upon to handle the difficulties which grew out of the only revo- 
lution the country has experienced since it became a republic, 
and since the Canal has been in operation. He handled it in such 
a way that not a single Panamanian of any importance could 
criticize him or us, and at the same time he preserved to the 
letter the dignity and integrity of the United States government. 

And George T. Summerlin, who before his service on the 
Isthmus had been able to keep up friendship with Venezuela's 
Juan Vicente Gomez and at the same time make the picturesque 
old dictator show the proper respect for American citizens and 
business in that country, will long be remembered among both 
Panamanians and American citizens on the Isthmus. 

Both these men during their incumbencies entertained an 
army of dignitaries who came through, made friends with them, 
listened sympathetically to their complaints and their gossip. 
Each of them could put on a diplomatic reception in a 
hayloft and send the guests home feeling as if they had been 
to Buckingham Palace. And indeed that is just what they did. 
When you see the old legation, now the embassy building in 
Panama, you smile, and, if you have any appreciation of the 
importance of our country's foreign affairs, you come home 
determined to write a letter to your congressman. It is one of 
the rattiest looking and most ancient structures in the city. It 
might well be one of the few relics that survived the Morgan 
raid. 

According to a Panamanian friend, "It was built one hundred 
years ago and lost in a poker game twenty years later. Then 
the French took it over and housed their Canal superintendent 
in It. Later you acquired it when you bought out the French. 

[202] 



Panama 

But when the engineers took it over they decided it leaked too 
much to use it as a warehouse, and it was too far away from the 
job to keep the mules in it. So they turned it over to the 
American minister as a residence." 



[203] 



ECUA 



I 

Tropical Adventure 



.MONO the men who started from less than scratch and 
planned, surveyed, and built their own roads to fame and for- 
tune, Francisco Pizarro is a superlative example, provided one 
is not too exacting as to the quality of his fame or the methods 
by which he acquired his fortune. 

He was conceived in bastardy but not, as one well-known 
writer has said, "born no one ever learned where to a mother 
no one ever knew." The good people of the old city of Trujillo 
in Estramadura were by no means ignorant of this juicy morsel 
of community waywardness. The man in the case was a well- 
known "gentleman," Captain Gonzalo Pizarro. The historians 
have discreetly failed to give the name of the girl. But they 
knew her well enough to assure us she was "an old Christian," 
which meant she was not of Jewish or Moorish blood. What 
is more, the Captain did at least half-way right by her. He 
would not himself take her as his wife but he saw to it that 
she got married off to Seiior Fulhano de Alcantara, a steady, 
if not overly particular, farmer. In later years the Captain even 
recognized his son. 

Meantime, in infancy the potential conquistador had been 
deposited, for better or worse, at the door of an old church. 
The padres took him in but it seems they were put to it to keep 
him alive. Apparently nothing but sow's milk agreed with him, 

[207] 



New Roads to Riches 

and his behavior in after years was proof that it was more than 
wholesome. Moreover, it must have taken effect almost imme- 
diately, for he early proved too much of a problem for the 
patient and faithful fathers so that even they got rid of him. 
That he ran at large for several years there is little doubt, 
because it is generally agreed that he grew up unable to read 
and write. Eventually he wandered down to Seville and after- 
ward made his way to the New World. 

His first stop was at the oldest European city in the New 
World, the one built by the discoverer himself, Santo Domingo. 
Then he gravitated to Havana, and finally to Panama. He, too, 
along with the young engineer Saavedra, was present that day 
when Balboa took over the Pacific, a performance calculated 
to inspire any ambitious young man. At least it must have 
touched off a spark in Pizarro. He began at once to volunteer 
for odd and difficult jobs, to make himself useful to officials. 
Having proved himself a good fighter, he was sent by the 
governor on several dangerous expeditions about the Isthmus, 
to trade with and, if necessary, chastise the Indians. 

On one 'of these voyages southward along the west coast he 
heard rumors of the great cities and the fabulous wealth of 
Peru, Back in Panama he teamed up with another adventurous 
gentleman by the name of Pedro de Almagro. After a high- 
pressure campaign they got together the necessary funds, 
rounded up a few roustabouts and set forth on a long voyage. 
They set forth, but they did not reach much of anywhere. Along 
the coast of Colombia storms buffeted them about, tropical 
fever befell them, and almost any other calamity the mind 
may imagine. They made several more voyages over a period 
of years, each time getting a little nearer their goal but each 
time encountering more hardships. But it was not in Pizarro 
to give up. Not even when his men refused to follow. Once on 
the shores of Ecuador, in the vicinity of the present town of 
Esmeraldas, the entire company balked. Their clothes in shreds, 

[208] 



Ecuador 

hungry, almost too weary to resist the rigors of the equatorial 
sun, or to fight the tropical pests, they demanded to be shown 
why they should go one step farther. 

Once again Pizarro demonstrated his superb leadership and 
his ability to make men carry on though the heavens fall, which 
they did for hours every day during most of the year. Having 
experienced a few of the rains that fall in these regions I am 
willing to classify the downpours in northern Panama as heavy 
dews. At Esmeraldas the old boy stepped forward, and with 
his sword drew a line in the sand and delivered one of the 
most dramatic he-man speeches ever made. It deserves to rank 
among the great orations. Translated by the late Cunninghame 
Graham, himself a Spanish Grandee, as well as a Scottish Earl, 
his mother having been a member of the Spanish nobility, it 
reads as follows: 

"Gentlemen," said Pizarro, "this line means toil, thirst, hun- 
ger, weariness, wounds, illnesses and all the other dangers and 
the difficulties that in this conquest we shall have to pass, until 
life finishes. Those who are brave enough to risk and conquer 
them, let them pass across the line, in sign and proof of the 
stoutness of their souls and in testimony that they will be my 
faithful followers, and those who feel themselves not worthy 
of so great a hazard, let them return to Panama, for I force 
nobody 5 but with those who remain, no matter if they are but 
few, I trust in God for His greater honor and His glory, and 
the perpetual renown of those who follow me, His eternal Maj- 
esty may so assist me that I shall never miss those who elect 
to go 

Thirteen ragged, sick and emaciated members of the party 
crossed the line and stood at his side. With these thirteen he 
waited, while Almagro returned to Panama for more recruits 
and supplies. Eventually they got far enough south to make 
contact with Incan outposts and to see with their own eyes 
evidence of the rich treasures to which they eventually were to 

[209] 



New Roads to Riches 

help themselves. But it was not until after the illegitimate, the 
outcast who was living only because he had been suckled by a 
sow, had made a trip all the way to Spain, gained the ear of the 
King, secured his support and been admitted to the company 
of the nobility, that success was in his grasp. 

Even so, when he got back to Panama it was necessary to 
patch up differences with his old friend Almagro. This done, 
he sailed away southward again, this time on the most daring 
of all his journeys, down the coast to northern Peru, then in- 
land, through the desert lands and up into the Andes, He 
passed on horseback through native communities and cities, 
getting acquainted, making friends and gathering information. 
Finally he rode down into the valley of Cajamarca, just then 
headquarters of the Inca, or Peruvian emperor, and almost the 
entire royal army. With a few horses and guns, a handful of 
men, each equipped with intestines enough to supply an army of 
thousands, he conquered an empire, strangled its ruler, who was 
also its living god, pillaged its riches, made himself supreme 
over a great people and died at the hand of an assassin in his 
own palace. 

I never set sail or take the air from Panama and along the 
Pacific coast of South America that I do not marvel anew at 
Francisco Pizarro and his escapades. To me he is not only the 
most picturesque of the conquistadores who set foot oix the 
South American continent, but one of the most colorful figures 
in aU the early history of the Other Americas. 

Of all my travels along Pizarro's old trail, a trip I made with 
John D. MacGregor, a ruddy-faced, progressively rotund and 
perpetually youthful Scotsman, remains the most interesting. 
Pioneering general manager of the Pan-American Grace Air- 
ways from its infancy until his heathery wisdom suggested that 
he ought to be thrifty with his years, John D., as he has been 
and ever will be known to me, invited me along on a leisurely 
inspection and good-will flight ia a tiny Sikorsky amphibian 

[210] 



Ecuador 

to the various coastal towns and villages of Colombia and 
Ecuador. 

From Panama City we followed one of the first and longest 
of the regularly scheduled over-water routes, 350 miles to 
Buenaventura, Pacific port for travellers and freight bound to 
and from the Colombian southland and Bogota. A river town 
with one of the most modern of seaports, Buenaventura is sur- 
rounded by a community so backward that it beggars descrip- 
tion. After the place was partially destroyed by fire a few years 
ago the national government erected modern docks and wharves, 
an imposing Customs House office building, a new modernistic 
railroad terminal and a hotel. Along the river banks, formerly 
lined with huts and shacks, it has constructed a concrete malecon, 
or promenade, and studded it with bright lights. All of which 
serves to intensify the contrast between the modern and the 
primitive, as well as to hasten the departure of any one with 
the price of a ticket, or even a canoe. 

Seventy-five miles out of Buenaventura we circled the his- 
toric island of Gorgona, where Pizarro once marooned himself 
for nearly three years while his partner in crime, Almagro, 
returned to Panama to gather more men and supplies for his 
expedition. 

"Every time I look down at this lonely bit of jungle-covered 
earth sticking out of the Pacific," John D. observed, "my feel- 
ings toward Pizarro soften a bit. I no longer roundly condemn 
him for being covetous of Peruvian riches. If I should be ma- 
rooned on Gorgona for even one day, I should feel like leading 
a ruthless conquest upon the first bit of civilization I ran across 
afterwards." 

Another eighty-five miles and we called for gas and oil at 
Tumaco, the last of the Colombian ports, a few minutes from 
which we rounded Cape Manglares and entered Ecuador. Next 
we visited Esmeraldas, the first of the Ecuadorean cities, scene 
of the Pizarro mutiny or shall we say, the first of all Ecua- 

[211] 



New Roads to Riches 

dorean revolutions. Considering the number since then, this 
is a historical distinction worthy of note. 

After Esmeraldas, the low flat beach having given way to a 
high bluff, we were forced out to sea. After looking down for 
hours at the lazy whitecaps of the Pacific, I finally fell asleep, 
only to be suddenly awakened by the imminence of disaster. 
The plane dropped, then lunged forward, turned half around 
and was plunging downward. I clawed at the seat in front and, 
in an effort to brace or save myself from being mangled as the 
plane nose-dived onto the sandy beach, almost lacerated the 
neck of the radio operator. As she settled back on an even keel, 
I was still holding on with the tenacity of a leech. Just then 
the pilot looked back, smiled and handed me a neatly engraved 
document, signifying that I had just crossed the Equator and 
had become a full-fledged member of the flying order of the 
Condor, all to the immense enjoyment of John D. 

At Manta we found two steamers anchored offshore taking 
on several of the unique products for which Ecuador is famous. 
First of all, fish, fresh out of the water and still kicking, red 
snapper and corbina, for the crew and passengers. Then cargoes 
of ivory, not ivory that grows on elephants, but ivory that 
grows on trees, one of the important products of the republic. 
In South America the ivory nut is known as the tagua nut, used 
for the manufacture of cuff buttons, collar buttons, and buttons 
for countless other more intimate purposes, as well as umbrella 
handles and poker chips. 

The tagua tree is a species of palm, about fifteen feet high 
with large drooping fronds resembling giant green ostrich 
feathers. It grows wild in Panama and Colombia, but principally 
in Ecuador. Its fruit is a burr about the size of a large cocoa- 
nut growing at the base of the leaves, eight and ten to the tree. 
Each burr weighs from fifteen to twenty pounds and contains 
from six to nine nuggets, or seeds, of the hard white ivorylike 
substance. Ecuador exports from 25,000 to 40,000 tons of tagua 

[212] 



Ecuador 

nuts a year, quite enough to button up well, a considerable 
number of persons, both young and old. 

I have learned many things in my travels. But I have also 
found it a splendid way to unlearn things. This visit to Manta 
served to impress upon me for all time the fact that Panama 
hats are not Panama hats at all, and that if you are looking for 
an argument, or wish to see a human being transformed into a 
living, seething volcano, just tell a one hundred per cent Ecua- 
dorean that Panama hats come from the Isthmus. Just let him 
suspect that you think they do not originate in his equatorial 
homeland and he will let loose a torrent of words. For he 
wishes all to know that what we call a Panama hat is a Som- 
brero de Ji-pijapa or a Sombrero de Montecristi according to 
the particular community in which it is made. 

I overheard this conversation between a native vendor and a 
tourist, evidently one of the most verdant of all greenhorns, 
from one of the ships in the harbor, who was looking at a stack 
of unblocked and folded hats. 

"What are those?" 

"Those are the Sombreros de Jipja$a > Senor." 

"Mm. They look like Panama hats." 

"No, no, Senor, what you call the Panama hat, it is the 
Ecuador hat, the Sombrero de Jipfapa, or Sombrero de Monte- 
cristL These are the Sombreros de Jipjapa" 

"But, Sefior, the Panama hat is much worn in my country." 

"No, Senor, it is too bad thathow you call it the Yankees, 
they should think that the marvellous product of our glorious 
republic it should originate in the exterior that is, on the 
outside of our borders." 

"But can it not be that there are hats in Panama as well as in 
Ecuador? Isn't there a well a Sombrero de Panama?" 

"Sombrero de Panama? No, no, Senor! It is Sombrero de 
Jipjapa!" 

"But what is this Sombrero dedede " 

[213] 



New Roads to Riches 

"De Jipjapait is made from the plant which grows most 
prominent in the soil of my country." 

"Then Panama hats really come from Ecuador?" 

"Si, Seiior." 

"Why, then, are they called Panama hats?" 

"Because, Seiior, foreigners bought them first in the markets 
of Panama." 

"So the real name is Sombrero de " 

"Si, Seiaor these being the Sombreros de Jipijapa. The 
Sombrero, that word it is much in the common with you but 
Jipija$ffiit is not so universal maybe. In the way of our pro- 
nunciation we call it He-pee-hop-ah." 

The finest of these hats are now produced in the regions 
around Manta. The plant from which the raw material comes 
resembles a saw palmetto about eight or ten feet high with 
fan-shaped leaves. According to one authority on the scientific 
and technical aspects of the industry, "in selecting the materials 
it is important to watch the color, length, thickness and number 
of threads to the strand or skein of the freshly gathered straw 
or palmetto. The fan-shaped leaves must be cut from the trunk 
of the plant before they open, or just as they ripen. Stripped 
of their outer filaments, they are then dipped for a few seconds 
in a vat of boiling water, withdrawn for a moment to be again 
immersed for an instant, taken out and shaken vigorously, hung 
up to dry in the shade and a day or two later put out in the 
sun to be bleached. If lemon juice is added to the hot- water 
bath, the result is a much whiter straw. 

"In a day or two," he goes on, "the sprouts shrivel into a 
light, compact cylindrical form, like cord or string, when the 
straw is ready for weaving. It was formerly stated that the 
hats were actually woven under water, which is not strictly true, 
although the straw must be kept thoroughly moistened while in 
the hands of the weaver." 

Anyway, the good citizens of Ecuador have recently been 



Ecuador 

much agitated about the serious injustice to their profitable 
and almost exclusive industry. Only recently an Ecuadorean 
gentleman telephoned me in New York, imploring me to write 
and speak over the radio about the matter. There was a choke 
in his voice, and, although I could not see him, I do not doubt 
great watery globules were flowing down his cheeks and drip- 
ping from his chin. In fact, you can move an Ecuadorean to 
poetry and pathos any day in the week if you attempt to deprive 
him of his Sombreros de Jififapa, his Sombreros de Montecristi 
or any of the others. 

"And, 3 ' as John D. puts it, "if we are to save ourselves from 
some awful end we must never entertain the thought that our 
aristocratic summer headgear came from Panama, and whether 
we can pronounce it or not, we must remember that it is spelled 
Jipjapa, and is made in Ecuador." 

After all, it is no easy matter to make one of them. It 
requires three or four weeks for a poor Indian to weave a 
genuine Jipja^a which sells for twenty-five dollars in Man- 
hattan, Minneapolis or Memphis, a job for which he receives 
the munificent reward of perhaps one dollar and seventy-five 
cents. 

Mention is also made, although there is no visible grief or 
shedding of tears about the misuse of the word cacao. Ecuador 
is the home of much of the cocoa we use in the realm of Uncle 
Sam. In Manta I soon found that cocoa and chocolate are merely 
the trade names of products that we make from cacao beans. 

"Cocoa ?" said one Ecuadorean. "Why, cocoa undoubtedly 
comes from the cocoanut." And it does seem logical. The cacao 
tree averages about twenty-five feet high, and, curiously 
enough, the fruit or pod which is about the size of and re- 
sembles a clenched fist, grows on the trunk of the tree and not 
on the branches. Each pod contains a number of seeds which 
look much like almond seeds. 

The curing process is a very scientific matter which deter- 

[215] 



New Roads to Riches 

mines the flavor and the quality o the finished chocolate. The 
pod is cut with a large knife, carefully, so that the blade does 
not pass through the outer shell and injure the seeds. It is then 
broken open by hand. The seeds are separated from the fibrous 
tissues that surround it, and put into a tight warm room, or 
sweating house, until fermentation takes place. No one seems 
to know exactly what happens to the bean during fermentation. 
Anyway, after it has fermented, or the moisture has been taken 
out of it, it is dried in the sun, after the manner of drying coif ee 
beans, or with the aid of hot-air furnaces. The dried bean turns 
to a bright red color outside while the inside is brownish 
chocolate which crumbles easily in the fingers. 

Of course there are great cacao plantations of highly culti- 
vated trees. But many of these giant beans grow in the depths 
of the jungle and are brought down rivers and streams to 
market, by the sun-baked children of the wild in those narrow 
little boats, which they dig out of the trunk of the hdsa tree. 
Sometimes they paddle for days in order to reach the coast 
and exchange their meager holdings for a handful of pennies 
a fabulous sum to them, since it buys enough rum or other 
frivolities to separate them for a week or so from life's dreary 
realities. 

Balsa is another important product of Ecuador. It is ex- 
ported in large quantities to the United States and in smaller 
quantities to Europe. Balsa is a very light wood but it has the 
strength of many of our heavier woods. It is much in demand 
among builders of display models and of airplanes. The balsa 
grows wild and is not a cultivated product. 

All this and more I had learned on the way along the Ecua- 
dorean coast. And then late one evening we sat down, or the 
plane sat down, on the quiet waters of the crescent bay at Salinas, 
otherwise known as the Atlantic City of the republic. Just as 
we climbed out on the beach and looked westward the sun 
fell like a ball of fire into the Pacific and its scarlet rays shot 

[216] 




A- Highlander Ready for a Cockfight 



Ecuador 

across the heavens like a giant open fan. Some one shouted the 
Yankee football scores of the day, another one mentioned Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's speech to the Budget Committee, while some 
one else mentioned the elections in Maine. Although a long 
way from the mad rush of Manhattan, Detroit or Cincinnati, 
Salinas is only an instant from all or any of them. It is a meet- 
ing place for the secrets of two continents. 

Known to some people as Santa Elena, which is the name 
of one of the fingers of land that helps to make the Half Moon 
Bay, Salinas has long been the relay station for the All America 
Cables that bind together all the cities and important towns of 
all the Americas. Here the messages between the continents, 
as well as the news that flashes from one to the other, pause for 
more power before they are shot on to their destination. Also 
it is next door to the Anglo-Ecuadorean oil fields that skirt the 
low-lying country along the coast and the Guayas River. 

The moment we stepped down into the sand of the snowy 
beach, Spanish flowed in torrents. All talked at once old and 
young, grandfathers and children. All because John D. had 
greeted them in his racy Castillian. 

That reminds me that the only adverse comment I ever 
heard about his linguistic accomplishments was from a red-nosed 
Irishman in Chile, who said, "the only trouble with Mac- 
Gregor is that he speaks Spanish so much better than the rest 
of us the natives think we're particularly dull. Why, if he 
had been in Pizarro's shoes he would never have strangled the 
Inca in order to get hold of his kingdom. He would have 
charmed him into submission with the music of his Scottish 
tongue." 

As I was saying, when John D. burst forth in Spanish it so 
thrilled the inhabitants of Salinas that they all but smothered 
us with welcome and hospitality, because so few gringos know 
more than a few halting words of the principal language of the 
Other Americas. As we started down the beach to the inn, which 

[217] 



New Roads to Riches 

staggered and groaned under the name of "Salazar's Inter- 
national Hotel by the Sea," the entire community insisted upon 
sharing in the transport of our luggage and belongings. I was 
actually afraid they were going to open up the bags and dis- 
tribute everything from collars to undies in order that every one 
might have something to carry. 

Senor Salazar himself came out to welcome his distinguished 
friend, "Senor Juan/' and to escort us to the specially reserved 
presidential suite, which turned out to be the second floor front 
room facing the sea, in which there were two iron beds and a 
tin washstand. 

Presently dinner was served on the breeze-swept second- 
story porch, served between courses of beer. The food was 
somewhat incidental for reasons which I shall not mention. But 
with good beer, a tropical breeze, swishing surf and a low moon, 
food was not so vital. And then there were John D.'s stories, 
Scottish stories, stories of tropical adventures and, on this night, 
stories of Spanish gold. 

"There, on the Punta Santa Elena," he said, "is where the 
rainbow ends for a lot of these people. The bag of gold was 
spilled right there on those rocks. It is a sort of Treasure Island, 
or it would be if it were an island instead of just a spit of 
land extending out into the sea. There are people around here 
who have grown gray in their search for fortunes on Santa 
Elena. And out there you may still find gold and silver if you 
search long enough. You may find them any time of the year. 
But March and October are the best times to look for them. 

"You see," Mac went on, "for two hundred years and more 
Spanish galleons bucked the winds up and down this coast, tak- 
ing Inca riches to Panama and bringing back supplies from the 
motherland. It was the heyday of the Spanish reign in South 
America, the Arabian Nights period in New World adventure. 
Sometimes a consignment of money, doubloons, pieces of eight, 
came back to circulate among the colonial conquerors. One of 



Ecuador 

those old galleons carrying such a cargo came to grief out there. 
A storm swept in from the west. The ship was washed against 
tfie Punta and broken into splinters. A fortune in coins was 
scattered over the rocks like the spray of the sea. They settled 
down into the cracks and crevices. Time and tide have covered 
them with the slime of the briny deep, so that it is difficult to 
see them. 

"But twice a year, in March and October, when the equatorial 
tides come in and the Pacific rises over the rocks, they are 
lifted out of their old hiding places and washed to new positions. 
Then when the tides go out, the gold rush is on. Every living 
soul in Salinas, native and gringo, begins hunting for fortunes 
'Pieces of Eight' as old as history in the Americas.' 5 

And as Mac spun out the tale the moon spread a silvery 
path across the lazy waters of the bay and out toward rocky 
Santa Elena. And just beyond the point I could see, silhouetted 
against the sky, a tiny Spanish galleon floating along even if 
it did turn out to be a fishing smack coming home from the catch. 

Finally our bedtime stories were rudely interrupted by Seiior 
Belalcazar, a descendant, he stoutly claims, of the founder of 
the Ecuadorean capital of Quito, and the city of Guyaquil, an 
itinerant merchant, purveyor of almost any product imaginable, 
whether made in Ecuador or East Orange, N. J., and himself 
no mean raconteur. Knowing that our plane would be leaving 
at daybreak in the morning, he waited upon us the night before. 
He had Spanish shawls and the inevitable Panamas that is, 
Sombreros de Jipijapa Indian rugs and wraps, chocolate bars 
and tropical fruits, and the dried skins of jaguars and boa con- 
strictors. All these he spread out on the floor before us, and 
then proceeded to regale us with the quality and history of each. 

He told us about the buxom chola woman who knitted the 
rug, but I was particularly interested in the senorita who made 
the shawl. In fact, when he got through describing her-her eyes, 
like glistening diamonds in limpid pools, her glossy hair, her 



New Roads to Riches 

golden velvety complexion, her voice, her juicy lips of scarlet 
I bought the shawl, half believing I would find her hidden away 
in its folds. And then the jaguar skin, the cloak of the beast 
who slew the grandmother of a friend of the Seiior. And, oh yes, 
the boa constrictor's skin was the eloquent remains of the same 
wriggling monster that swallowed the first born of the chief 
of the headhunters. 

If you are a tenderfoot in Salinas and South America, when 
you encounter Seiior Belalcazar the first time you buy many 
things. You buy them for the figure he asks. If you have visited 
the city once before you pay only twenty per cent of the quoted 
price. But if it is your third call at Salinas you buy nothing. 

However, the night passed. Next morning just as daylight 
flickered up from behind the eastern Andes we crawled out of 
our dreams, dreams of jaguars wrapped in Spanish shawls and 
senoritas wrapped in boa constrictors and rushed to the plane. 
I used to tell John D. that in South America the laws of aero- 
nautics must have been invented just before daybreak and that 
they wouldn't start working after sun-up, because his pilots 
never let the sun catch them on the ground. 

On our trip from Salinas to Guayaquil, thirty-five miles up 
the muddy swirling Guayas River from the sea, we flew across 
the edge of the green billowy jungle and came out twenty 
miles below the city. Then we followed the left bank in order 
to see the alligators plunge off the shore into the water as the 
plane roared over. Fat, ancient-looking reptiles who could 
make a mess of succulent gringo meat any day in the week. 
We weren't lucky enough to see any such sight this time, but 
John D. told me that in the flood season, the season of its 
heaviest rains, great hunks of the jungle flow down to the 
Pacific, and that sometimes various members of the animal king- 
dom take a ride to the sea on them. He once knew of an un- 
fortunate old jaguar who floated down on a log and passed 
right out to salt-water eternity. 

[220] 



Ecuador 

"Swim?" he said. "Of course he could swim. But a million 
years of instinct told him that it was all his life was worth 
to start for land. He didn't relish the thought of becoming a 
choice tidbit for some school of sharks." 



[221] 



II 

Shanghai in Miniature 



LE HAD many things planned for the trip down to Guaya- 
quil. He was even going to invite a friend along. His own rail- 
road passage, of course, was provided for. But the friend could 
ride down in the box-car with the automobile. He could arrange 
that easily. As chauffeur for the President of the Republic, he 
would have to be very busy during the day, what with all the of- 
ficial calls, receptions and parades. But his activities would begin 
when his Excellency retired for the night, and the nights are 
long in the tropics. Besides, even if he did not sleep during the 
trip, what of it? There would be plenty of time to sleep when 
he got back to Quito. 

The day came. The presidential automobile and the friend 
securely stowed away, he hurried forward to the day coach, 
and the train began its laborious journey from the top of the 
world down to the sea. At Duran, which has recently been 
renamed Eloy Alfaro and is the terminus of the railroad across 
the river from Guayaquil, the friend was to jump out just as 
the train was coming into the station so as not to be detected. 
Imagine the chauffeur's surprise when he hurried to unload the 
automobile to find the door of the car securely fastened and 
sealed. And imagine his amazement when the door was opened 
to find his friend lying dead on the floor. 

In their effort to keep Guayaquil free of bubonic plague, 

[222] 



Ecuador 

which at various times has ravaged the population, the Public 
Health Service, under the direction of the Pan-American Sani- 
tary Bureau not only inspects every ship and person approach- 
ing it by sea, but all trains and travellers coming down from 
the interior as well. At Bucay on the Yaguachi River, at the 
foot of the Andes, all passenger cars are cleared, cleansed and 
disinfected and all box-cars fumigated and sealed airtight. 
Of course, every precaution is taken so that no one may be 
harmed. An officer opens the door of each car and shouts two 
or three times, "Any one here?" Then he deposits specially 
prepared hydrocyanic acid, slams the door, fastens and seals it. 

The particular preparation of hydrocyanic acid suited to this 
type of fumigation is a German product called Zyklon put up 
in special cans, each can containing about an ounce of the poison 
mixed with Fuller's Earth. If the contents are shaken out on 
the floor of a freight car and the car sealed, within two hours 
it will have done its work and not a rodent, beetle, bug or insect 
will have survived. This was the procedure on the occasion 
when the president's chauffeur arranged for his unfortunate 
friend to travel contraband down to the coast. Naturally the 
two ignorant Indians from far-away Quito would hardly have 
known anything of such strange and scientific matters. 

During his lifetime, and with remarkable success, the late 
General Gorgas, along with the famed Doctor Connor, the im- 
mortal Noguchi and others, gave of their wisdom and energies 
in the fight against the various tropical scourges that held sway 
in Ecuador's chief seaport. Through numbers of campaigns 
carried on over a period of years, yellow fever and smallpox 
were finally brought under control. So far as these two diseases 
were concerned, however, their problem was more or less a 
local one. When mosquito havens and other germ-nurturing 
hideaways were destroyed, ponds of stagnant water drained 
off and back alleys cleaned up, much of the fight was won. 
Through generous loans from foreign countries, as well as assis- 

[223] 



New Roads to Riches 

tance from private foreign enterprises, a modern water system 
was put in, streets paved, hospitals built and a measure of 
hygienic precautions instituted in schools and business houses. 
These and other civic improvements contributed very materially 
to the success of the doctors 3 campaigns. 

But bubonic plague was another matter. The plague may 
be brought in from distant ports of the world in many ways. 
Infected fleas may arrive on the backs of mice and rats, or they 
may arrive in cargo from far-off India, such as fiber bags, one 
of India's chief exports, transfer themselves to and bite the 
men who unload or handle it, thus starting an epidemic. How- 
ever, by 1930 the plague too had apparently been banished 
from Guayaquil. 

Unfortunately, in 1935 it reappeared. No due to its arrival 
by steamer could be found, nor any evidence that it had lurked 
in any dark corner without the knowledge of the. sanitary ex- 
perts. Doctor John S. Long, that tireless apostle of public 
health in the Other Americasa member of the United States 
Public Health Service and now in charge of all field work of the 
Pan-American Sanitary Bureau and his associates began recon- 
noitering beyond the environs of Guayaquil. Eventually they 
found that the scourge which formerly arrived by sea was now 
stealthily descending from the mountains of the interior. 

Curiously enough, during its heyday in Guayaquil it had 
travelled along the Guayaquil and Quito railroad all the 
way up to certain small towns around Riobamba. Once more 
they put the languid old town through the sanitary wringer, 
isolated and stamped out whatever germs there were. In the 
interior it still leads a desultory but threatening existence, and 
but for the relentless precautions taken at Bucay might any 
day descend upon the city once again. 

Unfortunately the tenure of government at Quito has been 
so frequently interrupted in the past four years that no ad- 
ministration has been able to give its attention to anything but 

[224] 



Ecuador 

staying in power. During these periods of political chaos, re- 
sulting in disruption of the Health Service, there have been 
outbursts of smallpox, fever and plague. Under the circum- 
stances, it is remarkable that the fatalities have been so few. 

Known for a hundred years as the death hole of Pacific 
South America, home of the most venerable and virile germs in 
the realms of tropical scourges, ready to make merry on the 
helpless carcass of any native or stranger who ventured near, 
Guayaquil enjoys periods as a decent self-respecting community, 
when life is not imperilled and the citizen may go the even tenor 
of his way, but only when the health officers and experts are 
unhampered by ignorant politicians, given a free hand and 
supported by local and national government. 

Nature herself battles against the city. The thermometer 
sizzles around ninety throughout the year. As the weather man 
puts it, "in the wet season a mean temperature of eighty-one, 
with the accent on mean." From January to March it rains 
and rains and rains, and the moisture is like vapor from a vat 
of boiling tar sticky and clinging. Your clothes stick to you, 
your shoes mildew overnight, and in twenty-four hours turn 
blue with mould. Although the natives are immune to them, 
the outsider is all but asphyxiated by the simmering smells 
from the open markets, and even the best kept offices and houses 
give off dank odors. 

The years as well as the climate have lain heavily upon 
Guayaquil. Every one of the four hundred and four years since 
old Sebastian de Belalcazar, one of Pizarro's immortal band of 
plunderers, planted the city on the muddy banks of the Guayas 
has left its mark and taken its greedy toll of life. The population 
of the spotless city of the dead on the side of the only hill in 
the vicinity, with its gleaming snow-white tombs and burial 
terraces like mail boxes in a post office, rivals the population of 
the city of the living. Although most of the old houses, even 
the ancient cathedral, are wooden structures, all fast decaying 

[225] 



New Roads to Riches 

and giving way to concrete structures, they are giving way very 
slowly. 

Senor Isaac Abaob has been five years constructing his new 
six-story Hotel Metropolitan. Its lower portions are already 
splotchy with age while the languid workmen tinker away on 
the tile swimming pool which is to grace the roof. Ordinary 
two-story structures, already under way a year and a half ago, 
are still unfinished. Time does not march on in Guayaquil. It 
crawls except when a fire breaks out or tropical blood pressure 
rises, both of which exhibitions occurred the last Sunday after- 
noon I was there. 

First, I went to see the cock fights in a side-street enclosure. 
It was three o'clock. The sun beat mercilessly down as I left 
my easy chair in the cool arcade of the Grand Hotel. Scarcely 
a half dozen natives were in evidence, and they hugged the 
shady side of the street. But a party of Yankee tourists from 
Boston, typical of their kind in being persistent in their belief 
that sunshine at the Equator is no different from sunshine in 
Back Bay, hurried gaily down the middle of the main boule- 
vard lest they be late for the bloody carnival of the Guayaquil 
Sabbath. 

At a wicket in a board fence I put down a sucre and picked 
up my piece of brown paper which answered for a ticket, passed 
through the gate and into the yelling, smelly mob. I found 
a seat on the second tier of benches above the cock pit, by the 
side of a local steamship agent. Two stringy raw-boned old 
birds were pecking away at each other, already too tired to 
fight, but urged on by their handlers. Finally, the umpire 
ordered them taken away. The next pair, one a satiny 
black and the other a dull red, in the arms of handlers as 
alike as two coffee beans, would apparently present a different 
performance. The moment they were placed on the ground 
they had blood in their eyes and, as they were held by the tails 
awaiting the moment to be released, they clawed the ground 

[226] 



Ecuador 

and stretched their necks into feathery strings in an attempt to 
reach one another. The handlers glared at each other no less 
angrily, and when the word was given they leaped from the 
pit and watched with hawklike concern as the encounter pro- 
ceeded. 

It was a fifty-fifty fight for minutes. The black leaped over 
the red and the red over the black. Then the black lunged 
forward, slitting the comb of his adversary with his rapierlike 
gaff. But before he was on his feet the red plunged after him 
and tore a sheaf of feathers from his breast to the frantic joy 
of the spectators, and the venomous anxiety of his handler. 
Again the black leaped forward and missed, because the red 
swerved aside. After this the red carried the battle to the black. 
He made several sudden lunges and the black lay trembling on 
his side, blood streaming over his shiny sable feathers. 

As the crowd yelled there was another encounter. The two 
handlers leaped into the ring and before friends could separate 
them one was on his knees, blood spurting from his face and 
arms, the result of a half dozen gashes from a knife which no 
one saw. The crowd which but a moment before had been 
shouting itself hoarse stood silent and amazed. 

"It was a strange enmity," said the man at my side. "They 
were twin brothers. The owner of the vanquished black married 
the sweetheart of the owner of the victorious red. And now 
they are both avenged. The owner of the black has now wounded 
the owner of the red." 

Whether the wounds proved fatal I do not know. No one 
had waited to see. For at that very moment sirens began blaring 
and bells began ringing and the spectators who had paid to 
enjoy a cock fight, but witnessed the sudden and gory climax 
of a feud between brothers, now rushed out to see a free-for-all 
fire. In fact, they rushed with such speed and abandon that 
they took with them some of the boards from the surrounding 
fence. Streets, which had been deserted a half hour before, 

[227] 



New Roads to Riches 

were now alive with people of all ages and conditions of dress, 
for the siesta, hour was still in progress when the alarm was 

given* 

As in Panama, a fire is equal to a dramatic operetta, only 
more so. The volunteer fire department of Guayaquil is the 
finest and best trained organization in town, maintained by 
3000 volunteers. Interestingly enough, it was organized by 
Daddy Guizado of Panama, and the bomberos wear the same 
blood-red shirts, white pants and patent leather boots. But in 
Guayaquil, when a building is in flames, to add to the spectacle 
the city band turns out and plays martial music to inspire the 
boys as they fight the flames. 

How hundreds of these fellows had donned uniforms and 
rushed from all parts of the city to the scene of the conflagra- 
tion so quickly is still a mystery. Before they brought the fire 
under control it had gutted a small jewelry store and a drug 
shop that occupied an ancient one-story structure. But when 
the flames died away and their battle was won, the multitude 
cheered to the echo, and to the strains of the national anthem. 

Old Spanish customs persist in spite of a population in which 
there are not more than a dozen families of pure Spanish de- 
scent. The average native of Guayaquil, like the average native 
of nearly all the other cities from Panama to northern Chile, 
is of varied and generous mixture, Indian and Spanish, Indian 
and African, with the Indian always predominant. The ma- 
jority of the descendants of the old Conquistadores live in 
Quito, exclusively in the highlands. 

Until the world depression (the one ranging from 1930 to 
more or less recent date) few of the leading families of the 
country, Spanish or otherwise, forsook the boulevards of Paris 
and other Latin cities of Europe "more than occasionally," as 
one Ecuadorean journalist put it, "except to collect and count 
the profits from their haciendas. But the universal problem of 
exchange which dealt Ecuador an overly hard blow, brought 

[228] 



Ecuador 

most of the expatriates back to the land of their bread and 
butter." 

Victor Emilio Estrado, however, kept an eye and a finger 
on his prosperous and influential Banco La Previsora through- 
out the dark period 5 probably because he had, and still has, to 
compete with the growing Banco Italiano, which at the moment 
is financing much of the real-estate construction which in turn 
is being done by an Italian construction company. Likewise the 
lawyers who profit by and attempt to render legal protection 
to large foreign enterprises seldom wander far from Guayaquil 
and the capital. Among these is Doctor Alejandro Ponce Eli- 
zalde, who nurtured the banana industry in the Guayaquil 
regions, which, by the way, is among the very newest develop- 
ments of the United Fruit Company. Then there is the polished 
and charming Doctor Eduardo Salazar, lawyer, adviser and 
friend to the American and Foreign Power Company, which 
supplies light and the noisiest street cars in the world, to the 
city of the late Belalcazar. 

Perhaps the foremost figure of this group, however, is Doc- 
tor Carlos Arroyo del Rio. Two of his lucrative clients are the 
Vanderbilt South American Development Company, which 
owns gold and silver mines up in the interior near the towering 
volcano of Cotopaxi, and the Anglo-Ecuadorean Oil Company, 
whose wells are down near the Punta Santa Elena, and a half 
dozen other such companies "guardian of the Guayaquil 
gringos" one politician has called him. But then why shouldn't 
a man with his picturesque name find prosperity? It is so ex- 
pressive of the locale "Arroyo del Rio" little stream of the 
big river. Without the rivers and the industries and prosperity 
which they bring to Guayaquil, the dominant legal mind of the 
city would be completely lost. There would be no prosperity. 
In fact there would probably be no city. For the rivers are the 
raison d'etre of Guayaquil. 

The Pacific tides force their way in right up to the city's 

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New Roads to Riches 

door, even hard by its main street* But they must battle the 
muddy torrents that flow down into the Guayas on all sides, 
the surging melted snows from the central cordillera, the rush- 
ing torrents from the colonche, or coastal range, and the sprawl- 
ing lazy rivers and creeks from the valleys in between. 

If you take a launch and travel up one of these bilgy water- 
ways, in the rainy season, it is not only easier to appreciate the 
poetry of William H. Hudson's Green Mansions but easier 
to understand how little Noah Webster knew about a jungle. 
Now and then there is a strip of grassy shore with clumps of 
low bushes so thick they look like balls of deep green wool, 
scattered over a lighter green carpet. Back of this, masses of 
vine-covered trees push their gangling heads upward in an 
attempt to escape the dark shadows below, shadows so for- 
bidding that only the boldest adventurer bent on doing the 
impossible, so as to qualify as an exploring hero, or the author 
of a jungle thriller, would try to penetrate them. Occasionally 
shafts of sunshine break through the hovering clouds and fall 
like aerial searchlights on this verdant unknown, bringing out 
the myriad different shades of green. Here and there are palm- 
thatched huts which the lacustrine Indians, like the ancient 
dwellers on the shores of Venezuela's Lake Valencia, have built 
huts that never seem to be inhabited. But there are good 
reasons why they are usually vacant. The builders are always 
in transit, either back in the wilds to gather the products of the 
jungle, or on their way down to Guayaquil. They travel by 
various methods, but all fluvial. If on a quick trip they travel 
by stream-lined balsas, those long, slim trough-like dug-outs, 
hollowed out of the trunk of a tall tapering balsa tree. If it is 
a leisurely trip they build a raft of balsa logs, shelter it with 
palm fronds and take the entire family along, cook, eat and live 
aboard for weeks at a time, after the fashion of the Chinese who 
live and die on their junks along the Yangtze. 

The less primitive inhabitants of the towns along the rivers 

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Ecuador 

equip their balsas with a single sail, or build miniature sail- 
boats and travel lazily with the indifferent breezes. Seaworthy 
sailboats are constructed at Guayaquil to ply between the cities 
and the towns and villages up and down the coasts. Nearly all 
the great had&ndas o the coastal regions are on the tributaries 
of the Guayas, and their only means of transportation is by 
water. Day in and day out the river bank at Guayaquil is a solid 
mass of these quaint types of craft, making the old city a Shang- 
hai in miniature. 

Even the Eloy Alfaro will be anchored offshore. Formerly 
an old Vanderbilt yacht, reconditioned and mounted with guns, 
the Eloy Alfaro constitutes the Ecuadorean Navy. Two years 
ago the Eloy Alfaro went on a practice voyage down the west 
coast to Chile, a voyage which resulted in many experiences 
for the crew. Engine trouble developed en route. It grew so 
serious that the ship barely succeeded in reaching its destina- 
tion. At the Chilean navy yards in Talcahuano, an attempt was 
made to overhaul it, but the attempt failed. Entirely new ma- 
chinery had to be built and installed. Meantime the officers and 
crew entered the naval academy of Chile and spent a year in 
profitable study before the ship was able to sail back homeward. 

But besides the sailboats, balsas and picturesque rafts, freight- 
ers and ocean liners from Japan, Germany, Italy, England and 
all Europe and North America are to be found in the river at 
Guayaquil. Warehouses and market places are crowded with 
traders from Texas to Turkey who come to buy tagua nuts, 
cacao beans and bananas, as well as sombreros de Jipjafa and 
sombreros de Montecristi. 

Private individuals, merchants, doctors, lawyers, just plain 
laborers and all public officials reap their livelihood from the 
river, its industries and its shipping, and none so exclusively 
as the officials. When a passenger and cargo steamer arrives the 
parade of launches from the shore begins. First the boat doctor 
and his staff, then the boat captain and his aides. After these 

[231] 



New Roads to Riches 

two departments have slowly, but courteously, discharged their 
missions, they hurry to the dining-room for a good breakfast, 
lunch or dinner, according to the time of the ship's arrival. 
Free meals must be furnished, that is if the company expects to 
enter the port thereafter without encountering innumerable 
little annoyances. 

The next boarding parties are the immigration officials and 
the army from the department of Resguardo or customs service. 
Whether the ship is large or small, there will be the adminis- 
trator of customs, two comandantes of customs, three captains 
of customs and four to twelve customs guards to see that the 
ship's shops do not sell so much as a pocket handkerchief while 
in port. There will also be five marine police and six immigra- 
tion officials. "A nice way, 37 an Ecuadorean business man sug- 
gested, "to solve the unemployment problem. It beats the 
New Deal" 

Incidentally, all of these officials, assistants, helpers and 
hangers on, are expected to come out in their own launches, 
but, since the launches are usually out of order, due to broken 
or lost parts, or to having been run without oil and the like, 
the ship's agents must transport them. While I am attempting 
no economic treatise, a few examples of Ecuadorean public and 
private salaries and wages may be interesting. The govern- 
ment pays the various officials I have mentioned for eight 
hours 5 work, or for eight hours of more or less inactive service, 
but the steamship companies must pay for all overtime, which is 
never so little as "time and a half," either. No ship ever gets 
away without overtime. The stevedores and lighterage workers 
see to that, because they too get overtime pay. 

The lighterage service in Guayaquil is a government monop- 
oly. And while lighterage laborers receive from the govern- 
ment only four sucres a day for eight hours, a little more than 
twenty-five cents a day, the steamship companies must pay three 
sucres an hour for all overtime. Stevedoring at Guayaquil is 

[232] 



Ecuador 

Jose Obando's private monopoly. It has been in his family for 
three generations, his father and his grandfather before him 
having controlled it. A stevedore laborer gets sixteen cents an 
hour for eight hours, and twenty-four cents per hour for over- 
time. A stevedore laborer is the highest paid laborer on the 
river. They are, of course, paid in sucres, the monetary unit 
of Ecuador. The sucre > at this writing, is worth about six and 
seven-eighths cents in United States currency. 

Common laborers in Guayaquil, of the pick and shovel 
variety, average thirty-four cents a day, while a policeman re- 
ceives, or is supposed to receive, according to whether the 
government is in office long enough for him to get his pay, 
six dollars and eighty-seven cents a month, barracks, board and 
two uniforms a year. 

Since Ecuador lives primarily by exports and trades with all 
the world, competition is an all-important topic in Guayaquil. 
And, when any mention is made of commercial competition in 
South America, people in this country wish to know if the 
Fascists and Nazis aren't taking all the trade away from the 
United States. 

For a time the Germans met with considerable success in 
their commerce with Ecuador. In fact Ecuador is one of the 
few countries of the continent where they have made any 
trade gain at the expense of the United States. But the Italians 
have made no headway whatever, although they have made 
several ingenious plays for trade. 

Until a year ago members of the somewhat new and small 
Ecuadorean flying corps were under the instruction of private 
United States aviators. However, the government insisted the 
salaries were more than it could afford, so the Americans re- 
ceived six months* pay in advance, their contracts were can- 
celled and an Italian military and aviation mission at small, if 
any, salaries quickly moved in. The commercial angle is the 
fact that the Ecuadorean flyers were not only supposed to learn 

[233] 



New Roads to Riches 

their profession from Italian instructors, but would fly in Italian 
and German planes. 

Arrangements were immediately made to bring in several 
Italian planes, while the purchase of German planes had been 
made during the time the late Fritz Hammer, representative 
of the giant German aviation combine, Lufthansa, was nego- 
tiating for a flying concession. Late in 1937, just before he 
made a last fatal flight into a cloud-covered Andean mountain 
peak, Herr Hammer had succeeded in inducing President Al- 
berto Enriquez, one of Ecuador's transitory dictators, to sign 
a contract giving the German company an exclusive right to 
transport all mail and passengers within the republic. But Herr 
Hammer's tragic death, and the subsequent fall of the dictator 
then in power, made it impossible for the Germans to carry 
on. In the meantime the Pan-American Grace Airways got a 
concession to fly its planes into the interior of the country. 

For two years or more Hitler's propagandists waved the 
swastika. They tried, with some success, to keep their own 
countrymen faithful to the present regime in the fatherland. 
Some of the local Nazis were even outspoken about the number 
of German-Jewish refugees, most of them doctors and pro- 
fessional people, who had entered the republic. Their protests 
seem to have gotten nowhere, however, for the refugees are 
still going about the business of building up patronage and 
organizing their lives according to the conditions of their new 
country. 

In 1937 and the first half of 1938 the Germans increased 
their trade considerably. They bought large portions of Ecua- 
dor's chief export, cacao. Most of the cacao beans which previ- 
ously came to the United States went to Hamburg and Bremen 
in German ships to be distributed by German firms throughout 
Europe. Of the 250,000 bags of cacao beans shipped out in 
1937, more than 150,000 of them were bought by German 
exporters. 

[234] 



Ecuador 

As everywhere else, this trade was a matter of barter. The 
Ecuadoreans exchanged their raw materials for German manu- 
factures or blocked marks. German commercial representatives 
worked hand in hand with the agents and operators of German 
ships. Nazi buyers refused to purchase any product unless it 
was shipped by a German steamer, and there were and still 
are plenty of German steamers. The port of Guayaquil averages 
6ne German ship every day in the month. German vessels 
carried away from Ecuador in 1937 forty-three per cent of all of 
its exports. However, the American-owned Grace Line steamers 
alone, with an average of only two and three calls a week, took 
care of thirty-two per cent, while the British, Dutch, Italian 
and others divided the remaining twenty-five per cent among 
them. 

Today there are anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist rumblings. The 
aviators are not only displeased with their Italian instructors, 
but particularly so with the Italian and German planes. They 
not only suspect but have reason to know that the Italian planes 
they bought were second-hand, that they were merely re- 
vamped, after having been used to bomb the natives of Ethiopia 
in the conquest of the little African nation, and then sent out 
to Ecuador. The cacao producers also are dissatisfied with the 
Nazi method of doing business. "We are anxious," one of them 
told me, "to sell our crops for exchange, dollars or pounds 
sterling, instead of bartering them away or having to take 
blocked German marks. 

"You see," he went on, "for a time I could afford to take 
tractors, trucks, wire fencing, washing machines, and so on, in 
return for my crops. I really needed most of them. Likewise 
I could take a portion of the pay in aski-marks or German 
blocked exchange, because I could swap these marks to local 
German merchants and trading companies for other things I 
needed. But now I am overstocked with goods and materials 
and I can't use any more German marks. 

[235] 



New Roads to Riches 

"Yes," he concluded, "you can take goods for your crops 
and products until you are overstocked with goods. Then when 
you want to buy a Yankee automobile or radio, or take a trip to 
New York or London, you are up against it. The Yankee dis- 
tributors and American and British steamship agents won't take 
depreciated German money for their automobiles or steamer 
tickets. So you see the Nazis finally run into difficulties and 
their trade cannot expand further." 



[236] 



Ill 

Politics among the Volcanoes 

JLL/cuADOR?" asked a gorgeous creature at a high-toned 
New England college. "That is the land of the headhunters, 
isn't it? We had a famous British explorer here who told us 
all about the Ecuadoreans." 

Well, there are some hardy headhunters in the wild regions 
of Ecuador, or hunters of hard heads, as the case may be. At 
least their fame has travelled to every corner of the United 
States. We read about them in story books. Not only "famous 
British explorers/' but numbers of Yankee explorers, tell us 
about them. We see their handiwork in the museums, in the 
windows of curio shops and among the mementos of private 
collectors. By means of movie close-ups we may see for our- 
selves the very whites of their eyes. We are even permitted to 
watch them ply their deadly trade. As to the commercial aspects 
of the craft there can be little doubt if one half the specimens 
on display round and about are authentic. 

In a New York movie house recently I sat glued to my seat 
for forty minutes, cold shivers playing leap-frog up and down 
my spine, as I watched a solemn old medicine man of the 
Jivaro tribe, oblivious to the grinding of the camera, which 
was all of three feet away from him, remove the bone, heat and 
otherwise take the swelling out of the head of some poor 
unfortunate. 

[237] 



New Roads to Riches 

I am already on record to the effect that I know little if 
anything about the South American wilds, except for the broad 
expanses of it which I have seen from airplanes, or the close-ups 
from the decks of river steamers. My line is whatever of civili- 
zation, or semidvilization there may be, with an occasional foray 
into the not too remote sections. I know there are many wild, 
even undiscovered, regions in the vast hinterland of several of 
these countries, in which dwell countless primitive peoples. But 
it does seem that the Jivaro headhunters of Ecuador have been 
a bit overworked, especially by certain professional gentlemen. 

When I read or listen to some of the stories about the ferocity 
of these peoples, and see them in the pictures, I am always left 
wondering: if these aborigines have such a yen for collecting 
the heads of palefaces, how do all the adventurers, camera men 
and story makers get back with their own heads? Of course it 
may be that the medicine men are choosy in their selection of 
specimens. 

But now that dude ranches have made their advent in Ecua- 
dor, and three-weeks-all-expense-tourist-adventure-expeditions 
are being featured, with satisfaction and possibly a miniature 
head guaranteed, it may be that the old-fashioned game of 
headhunting will eventually give way to head counting. Wild 
men have little chance of preserving their ancient crafts or even 
of surviving against the onslaughts of professional travellers 
and tourists. 

Ecuador and headhunting are by no means synonymous. 
Yet like Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, the greater portion 
of it is primitive and wild. Its two and a half million people 
are concentrated along the coastal region in the valley of the 
Guayas and the narrow strip of high plateau country lying be- 
tween the two ranges of the Andes. Even if all its claims to 
territory are granted, it is still the smallest of the six countries 
dealt with in this volume except Panama, According to native 
claims the land area of the republic is a 75,93 6 square miles, 

[23.8] 



Ecuador 

excluding the Galapagos Islands some 600 miles off the coast, 
which are about 2400 square miles in area. 

Ecuador proper is more than five times larger than New 
York State. It occupies a triangular slice of the continent, just 
where it bulges out into the Pacific, and right astride the 
Equator, from which it derives its name. One side extends some 
500 miles along the ocean, while the other two follow eastward 
across the Andes in the direction of Putumayo River in the 
north and along the Maranon in the south, way over into the 
valley of the Amazon. If the none too modest claims of Peru 
be taken into consideration, Ecuador consists of a mere rec- 
tangular insert, bounded on the west by the Pacific, on the east 
by the eastern cordillera and on the north and south by Colom- 
bia and Peru respectively, Peruvian maps claim all territory 
from the eastern watershed of the Andes right up to the border 
of Colombia on the Putumayo. 

While these century-old claims, except for occasional flare- 
ups, had been more or less dormant for years, the relationships 
between the two countries for the past two years have been 
punctuated by fiery periods of oratory, charges, counter charges, 
threats and several encounters between border guards and raid- 
ing parties. Throughout the years many attempts have been 
made to settle the difficulties by arbitration, all of which have 
bogged down in the quicksands of questionable old Spanish 
grants and other mildewed documents representing the double- 
dealing and horse-trading of early Spaniards all the way from 
the crown itself to the lowliest of the Conquistadores. 

Finally in 1937 the dispute was submitted to a conference 
between commissions from the two countries, whose members 
were to arbitrate the question at Washington, under the benevo- 
lent eyes of Franklin D. Roosevelt. If they themselves could 
not find a solution, they were to agree to lay the matter on the 
lap of the squire of Hyde Park. 

"The commissioners/' says one caustic Washington observer, 

[239] 



New Roads to Riches 

"spent two years collecting their salaries and expense funds, 
sending their children to school and enjoying the easy society 
of Washington. They engaged in occasional desultory dis- 
cussions and at frequent intervals issued statements. Finally, 
having attained less than no results, and without even agreeing 
to let Mr. Roosevelt do it, they gathered up their progenies and 
possessions and sailed for home," 

Thus it can be seen that the last and, next to the recently 
composed Chaco dispute between Bolivia and Paraguay, the most 
difficult in a long list of territorial and border problems in South 
America, not only remains unsolved, but is no nearer a solu- 
tion than it was fifty years ago. Besides, it may well continue to 
serve the purposes of politicians in both countries. That is, there 
is no better way of cooling the political hot waters at home 
than to find that the enemy is marching across the sacred fron- 
tier of the fatherland. And when the frontier in question con- 
sists o an imaginary line in the middle of an uninhabited desert, 
or unexplored jungle, convincing military incidents can always 
be arranged. 

Anyway, I shall leave these undeveloped and still disputed 
regions where the diplomatic conferees have left them divided 
between the uncharted portions of the map and in the hands 
of the two governments and return to the regions where 
there is some contact with the outside world. 

In this regard, insofar as its main cities and centers of civili- 
zation are concerned, Ecuador, although much less developed 
materially, socially and politically, is at the same time much 
more fortunate than Colombia. The capital city of Quito, like 
Bogota, is located far in the interior, behind high mountain- 
ous walls, but 10,000 feet above the sea, 2000 feet higher than 
the Colombian capital. Yet, unlike the latter, it is on the main 
line of the Pan- American Grace Airways from Panama to Lima, 
Santiago and Buenos Aires, exactly two days from Miami or 
Brownsville, Texas. It is even possible in the dry season to 

[240] 



Ecuador 

travel northeastward from Quito by bus to Bogota and even on 
to Caracas, Venezuela, over the Bolivar Highway, the longest 
continuous stretch of passable, if crude, international highway 
on the continent. 

But more important still, the Ecuadorean capital is directly 
connected by rail and convenient and comfortable trains with 
its chief seaport of Guayaquil. Among the five or six west to 
east, or ocean to Andes, railways in western South America the 
Guayaquil and Quito line is one of the most efficiently operated. 
Built under the direction of United States engineers and fi- 
nanced by North American stockholders, who have never re- 
ceived any too much return on their investment, it was, like 
all these railroads, a super-ingenious feat of engineering. 

Ecuadoreans themselves, that is the government, actually 
began the project. From Duran, rails were laid across the low- 
lands fifty-seven miles to Bucay. But when they ran up against 
the solid walls of the Andes, help had to be called in. In 1897 
General Eloy Alfaro put the project into the hands of Archer 
Harman of Virginia who succeeded in raising enough cash to 
make another start. Turning the actual work over to his brother 
John, he continued beating the bushes around Wall Street and 
other moneyed thoroughfares. The two kept at it against all the 
physical odds, handicaps and disasters in the category of tropi- 
cal railway construction, until the track was so near to Quito 
that the work on the last lap was not interrupted by their death. 

The eleven years that elapsed between the arrival of the 
Harmans and the completion of the road might easily be 
chalked up as an epic in railway history. In the rainy season 
tracks would go sliding down the mountain sides and be buried 
under thousands of tons of soupy mud, while trestles floated 
down the rivers and streams like so many match boxes. In spite 
of the doctors and sanitary precautions, fevers and smallpox 
raged continually. Workmen died by the scores every month; 
No railroad builders ever encountered such problems in the 

[241] 



New Roads to Riches 

Rocky Mountains of our own country. In places tracks had to be 
supported by retaining walls on the sides of perpendicular cliffs. 
There are four and a half per cent grades, and curves of almost 
thirty degrees. Barely eighty miles from Duran, and when they 
were little more than halfway up the heights, they had to deal 
with the Devil's Nose, "La Nariz del Diablo/ 3 a mountain of 
solid rock, like a colossal proboscis, pointing forbiddingly at 
any engineer who might attempt to scale it. 

In other words, the Harmans found their path completely 
blocked. There was no valley either to the right or the 
left by which they could surround the impediment, so they 
made a daring frontal attack. They hacked and blasted away 
until they had zigzagged right up to the top. Today as the 
train climbs hundreds of feet in a few minutes, it oscillates 
back and forth until you feel a little as if you were attached 
to the pendulum of a clock. In a distance of forty-nine miles, in 
which the climb up this particular mountain is included, the rise 
is from something less than 1000 feet at Bucay to over 10,000 
feet at Palmira, the top of the first range of the Andes. 

At Riobamba, one of the four largest towns in the country, 
you may stand in the main plaza at 9000 feet and gaze upon 
famed and majestic Chimborazo which rears its shaggy white 
head 20,702 feet into the firmament. In fact at Riobamba you 
may feast your eyes on snow-capped peaks and volcanoes. There 
is Altar, 17,728 feet, Carihuairazo, 16,747 feet, and Tun- 
gurahua, 16,685 feet. 

Farther on from Riobamba volcanoes spout and low subter- 
ranean rumblings are heard, rumblings which the superstitious 
if poetic natives call "the voices of the volcanoes, the gentle 
breathing of mother earth." At Urbina the railroad crosses the 
second Andean range at 11,841 feet and, after passing through 
the picturesque and delightful town of Ambato, you may stop 
at Latacunga for a session with another quartet of mountain 
peaks and volcanoes. Most notable is Cotopaxi, the twin sister 

[242] 



Ecuador 



of Chimborazo, 19,493 f eet > th e highest active volcano in the 
world, and one of the most magnificent. It has been called 
the Fujiyama of South America, or the Huziyama, as the 
Japanese now prefer to call their terrestrial protrusion. Every 
now and then her ever-boiling cauldron spills over, sprays 
fumes and lava, terrifying the poor Indians in the surrounding 
valley. Near by are Iliniza, 17,400 feet, Quilindana, 16,134 
feet and Quilotoa, 13,057 feet. 

At Quito you are still in the presence of terrestrial exalta- 
tion. The city itself clings to the base of 15,925-foot Pichincha. 
In fact, scattered up and down this strip of the Andes are more 
than a dozen of these mighty peaks. Looking down from an air- 
plane upon this region of Ecuador, "these white peaks," as one 
visitor describes them, "appear like giant chimney pots upon 
the roof of the world." 

While the products of the tropical lowlands are today Ecua- 
dor's chief sources of wealth and income, this volcanic plateau 
of the interior possesses many potentialities. To some extent 
the gold resources are already being explored, some silver has 
been mined, while the government itself operates large sul- 
phur mines. But there are deposits of copper, iron, lead and 
gold, discovered years ago, that have hardly been touched. 
Once upon the heights, all along the railroad agriculture be- 
comes the chief activity of the natives. In one place corn, wheat 
and, of course, the ancient potato which originated, not in Ire- 
land, but in the Andes, are cultivated. In another they specialize 
in fruit growing. For flavor, the apples, pears, plums, apricots 
and grapes of the Ambato community are not to be passed 
up lightly, while the milk, butter and cheese from the Lata- 
cunga district are of superior quality. 

This central region, and especially Quito, constitutes an 
entirely different world from that around Guayaquil. It is 
hard to believe that the two cities are in the same country. 
Climatically, going from Guayaquil to Quito is like going from 

[243] 



New Roads to Riches 

the mouth of the Congo to Geneva, Switzerland. When you go 
to Guayaquil, take a fan with you. When you go to Quito, do 
not forget your overcoat, no matter what month of the year it 
may be. In dry weather you won't need it in the daytime, when 
the direct rays of the equatorial sun fall upon the city, but the 
moment Old Sol hides his face behind the mountain peaks you 
will begin to shiver. Although only fifteen miles from the 
Equator, the thermometer at Quito hovers between fifty and 
seventy the year round. It is called "The land of perpetual 
spring," but personally I have never found a night in Quito 
that seemed exactly springlike. 

From the standpoint of tradition and history, going from 
Guayaquil to Quito is more like going from Shanghai to Lhasa, 
Tibet, from an old river town with a stuffy climate and popula- 
tion of colorful nondescripts, foreign merchants, traders and 
shrewd business men, to a remote and ancient city of history 
and religious tradition. 

Quito is said to be the oldest capital in all the Americas, 
north or south. At least it is the site of more capitals than any 
other place in all the hemisphere. Ages ago, probably ever since 
the red men or their progenitors first, set foot on South America, 
there has been a town or capital city where it now stands. It 
got its name from the Quitus, one of the dozens of races that 
inhabited the spot. The Quitus were conquered by the Caras 
about 980 A.D., who in turn were conquered by the Incas, al- 
ready the masters of a great empire farther south in which are 
now Peru and Bolivia, In turn it became the northern and later 
an independent capital of the Inca empire. Then came the 
Spaniards, after Pizarro had taken over the Incas and estab- 
lished himself in Peru. Belalcazar, already mentioned as the 
founder of Guayaquil, went first to the interior where he took 
over, plundered and set up a government in Quito in 1534. 

Architecturally, Quito is still the most baroque of all the 
Spanish colonial cities, particularly as regards its churches and, 

[244] 



Ecuador 

even more from Bogota, it is still a center of religion and de- 
voutness, a city of early morning bells and priests, as well 
as politicians. Some of its churches rival in picturesqueness any 
in Spain itself. The entire front of the church of the Company 
of Jesus is extravagantly carved and decorated. The Church 
of San Francisco is famed the world over for its rare panels 
and paintings, its fabulously sculptured and decorated chancel, 
the work of artists whose names are immortal in church history. 
Then there are altars and sacristies covered with solid gold and 
silver and studded with priceless precious stones. 

Clustered around the public square or Plaza Major is the 
enormous old cathedral filling one entire side, wherein repose 
the remains of General Antonio Jose Sucre, another of Simon 
Bolivar's companions in the fight to drive the Spaniards from 
South America. Sucre not only gave the country its independ- 
ence, but also the name of its money. Fronting the cathedral 
is the imposing Bishop's Palace. On its right flank is the many- 
columned government building and on its left the City Hall. 
Elsewhere to be found are stately old buildings, such as the 
old University and the National Theatre. To a Yankee familiar 
with Washington the exterior of the National Theatre looks like 
our Treasury Building. 

There are narrow cobbled streets with the inevitable over- 
hanging balconies leading up and down the steep hillsides. 
At certain hours the streets are filled with the descendants of 
the Quitus, Caras, the Incas and the others. All bear eloquent 
evidences of a generous mixture of Spanish. When you look 
into the faces of the lowly Quilaiios, you realize that although 
the Spaniard in the Andes could not and did not try very hard 
to keep his own race pure, he left his unmistakable imprint 
upon those he conquered. Spanish colonial architecture, brown- 
skinned Indians and half-breeds seem to blend perfectly. 

In Quito you meet for the first time the tiny camels of the 
Andes, the llamas, the ancient beasts of burden of the Incas. 

[245] 



New Roads to Riches 

Although not as numerous this far north, they serve the rural 
Indian well, bringing his fruits, vegetables and trinkets from 
distant villages to the markets of the capital. The Quito markets, 
like those of any other Andean city, are not only marvels for 
the variety of their products, but riots of color. Indians come 
not only from all the near-by villages, but from the eastern 
foothills of the Andes, on the edge of the Amazonian jungle, 
from north and south, and from toward the Pacific. Sometimes 
they travel for days, spending the night wherever it overtakes 
them, and making use of whatever shelter or housing facilities 
there are, no matter to whom they belong. 

If you go to live in rural interior Ecuador, and you find a 
family of Indians corralling their llamas in your front yard 
and bedding themselves down on your front porch for the night 
without bothering to ask your permission, think nothing of it. 
They will harm nothing. At daybreak they will have vanished, 
leaving everything as they found it. It is just an ancient Ecua- 
dorean custom, probably a tradition which has come down from 
the days of Inca rule, when shelters and inns were provided 
for travellers and their beasts at the end of every day's journey. 
It is another indication of the manner in which the Indian 
mingles traditions with the customs and civilization of the 
Spaniard. 

Whether in his own village or abroad in the land, the Ecua- 
dorean Indian has even combined the folk music of the con- 
querors with his own ancient rhythms, thus adding vigor and 
originality to both. When produced by a combination of his 
own primitive instruments, including the unique rondador, and 
one or two of the white man's, it will haunt you ever afterward. 
The rondador is a sort of harp made of reeds the shape of a 
lyre and played like a flute by blowing into the ends of the 
reeds. The sounds are not unlike the shrill tootings from a 
calliope* 

Not long ago I went with an old friend, Pedro Cortez, on 

[246] 



Ecuador 

horseback to a village in the valley below the city to witness 
an Indian fiesta. We arrived after nightfall. The sky was so clear 
and the moon so bright we could see for miles. In the distance 
the snow-crowned peaks and steaming volcanoes were sil- 
houetted against the sky. As we drew near we could hear the 
chatter and laughter of the people and from a lonely hut across 
a trickling stream, the shrill flutelike music. 

"Some aged minstrel," said Pedro, "serenading the moon, 
perhaps, his ancient goddess. Of course the Incas worshipped 
the sun, but don't forget that the sun god's wife was the 
daughter of the moon. Anyway, I often think some of these 
older people still worship their ancient gods." 

When we reached the village the little square was packed 
with people who had already taken on enough rum to fill them 
with a hilarious happiness. Soon the musicians began playing a 
quaint, languid dance number. 

"The Yaravi," Pedro explained, "an old serenade, probably 
one of the oldest of the folk tunes. That is also what the minstrel 
was playing up in the valley as we came along." 

Finally they changed the tune and began playing a much 
faster rhythm, something reminiscent of the Venezuelan Joropo, 
yet very different. And then a few of the people began to dance. 

"This," my friend explained, "is the San Jum, one of 
the gayest dance tunes. The San Juan is a very old rhythm 
too, probably hundreds of years old, but it is newer than the 
YaravL Like all this music, it is a combination of Indian 
rhythm and Spanish fandango" 

Soon every one was dancing, old and young. In fact they 
danced for hours, growing more excited all the while. What 
the Yankee rhythm kings and their jitterburg satellites could do 
with some of this old folk music of the remote Andes! 

Some years ago a brilliant young Italian, Hugo Gigante, 
went to Quito to teach in the National Conservatory. Fasci- 
nated by these old folk melodies and rhythms, he travelled by 

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New Roads to Riches 

muleback from village to village throughout the surrounding 
country and copied down hundreds of them. Since then he has 
returned to Italy and has composed some splendid works based 
on this ancient music. 

Except for his pilgrimage to the market place and his village 
fiestas, the lot of the Ecuadorean peasant Indian is prosaic and 
unpromising. His government does little or nothing for him. 
In fact, in four hundred years it has rendered him so little, 
and his only experiences with it have been so disappointing, 
not to say disastrous, that his dearest wish is merely to be left 
alone. It is not this peasant Indian who engages in revolution 
and political upsets in Ecuador. All such antics he leaves entirely 
to the half-breeds in the cities and larger towns. He is not 
interested in anybody's isms or ideologies, and, left to himself, 
he is a kindly, quiet and dignified human being, inheritor of 
great traditions. 

Some sporadic efforts have been made to legislate for the 
benefit of those employed by industries and government, but 
even this legislation works successfully only in connection with 
large enterprises, particularly those controlled by foreigners. 

But then, government in Ecuador has been and is so un- 
certain. With few exceptions, presidents, legislators and even 
dictators have not had the chance to do a great deal of con- 
structive planning. In fact, the instability of government has 
been Ecuador's most serious handicap. In Quito, politics domi- 
nates everything. As a prominent Quito newspaperman says, 
"Politics in Ecuador is as volatile as its volcanoes." 

General Eloy Alfaro, father of the present able and popular 
Ecuadorean Minister to Washington, although a dictator, at- 
tempted many improvements for his country. He backed and 
co-operated with the Harmans in building the railroad from 
Guayaquil, an accomplishment which alone distinguishes his 
memory. Yet he was overthrown and deported by another Gen- 
eral, Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez. Later on, when General Alfaro 

[248] 




Rural Life Near Quito 



Ecuador 

returned to the country, Gutierrez had him jailed. While 
languishing in prison there was a supposedly popular and very 
suspicious uprising among the hoi polloi, during which the old 
man was taken out and burned alive* 

Afterward came an Indian medical man, Doctor Isidro Ayora, 
one of the most honest and able, and probably the most succes- 
ful of recent presidents, in many ways a great man. Ayora gave 
first attention to the public health and social welfare. Under 
him education received a shot in the arm, about the only boost 
it has had lately. He was at least successful enough to stay in 
office until the pestiferous politicians and army officers, who in 
Quito are usually one and the same, became so annoying and 
unbearable that he voluntarily retired to private life. 

Doctor Ayora was President and played host to President 
Hoover when the sage of Palo Alto, then President-elect, went 
swishing around the continent on a tour of good will in 1928. 
Today he goes about the business of running his private clinic, 
of administering to the sick and afflicted, loved and respected 
by all, while the professional politicians kick the government 
about like a badly deflated football. 

Ecuador's political history is one of dictators and despotism, 
of fiery politics and revolutions. Yet no country has ever pro- 
duced more ardent and brilliant opponents of such persons and 
conditions. Some of her poets and intellectuals have been 
giants in the fight for liberty, order and human rights. One of 
them towers above all the others. He was Juan Montalvo, one 
of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, writers South America has 
ever produced. From Quito he showered the southern continent 
with his wisdom and wit wrote a life of George Washington 
and said that the man of Mount Vernon was greater than 
Napoleon, because his work lived after him while Napoleon's 
died with him. 

He put up a ceaseless fight against dictatorship and oppres- 
sion. No ruler was ever powerful enough to scare him or even 

[249] 



New Roads to Riches 

awe him. He was an eternal enemy of all who mistreated, 
double-crossed or tried to short change their fellow men. As 
a matter of fact, one critic has called him the John Milton of 
Ecuador. Not that he wrote like Milton, but "because his writ- 
ings, like Paradise Lost, are praised by all, but read by few." 
Another has called him the Cervantes of South America. Among 
his prose writings there is a character who even imitated the 
talkative and irresistible old Don Quixote. In a most excellent 
work on The Literary History of Spanish America, Doctor 
Alfred Coster has translated a conversation between the Mon- 
talvo character and a naive old village padre. 

It seemed that the South American version of Quixote was 
looking at the various treasures of a village church its furni- 
ture, its communion pieces and especially its pictures. They 
were pictures depicting some of the miracles performed by the 
patron saint of the community. Quixote was much interested 
in the one which represented a terrible shipwreck. 

The good padre quickly explained, "This happened in the 
Bay of Biscay, my son. All the passengers were saved except 
those who were drowned." 

"All saved except thoseah ha, I see. Then they were all 
saved, weren't they, Father?" 

"Oh, no, my son, not a third of them were saved." 

"Well, then, tell me where are those who perished?" 

"Wherever the Lord may have put them, my son. You see, 
the artist painted only those for whom the miracle worked." 

Montalvo was not only a great writer, but he possessed 
brains and backbone in equal proportions, a man who lived 
fearlessly and died fearlessly. He was very ill. It was necessary 
for him to undergo a severe operation. The doctor arrived and 
made ready for the ordeal. Montalvo insisted upon observing 
every step in the operation. He said, "I have always been con- 
scious of every one of my acts and experiences and I propose 
to be conscious of this one." 

[250] 



Ecuador 

He never recovered from the shock. The Grim Reaper soon 
came to gather him to his fathers, but the old boy must have 
saluted and stood in reverent admiration for a spell; because in 
his last hours, Montalvo made his friends dress him up in his 
Sunday best and prop him up in an armchair. He had them 
bring flowers and place them around the room, and as he sat 
and waited for death to come, he said to those about him, 
"Whenever we are going to perform a solemn act, or when 
we expect to meet a person of consequence, we dress in our 
best. Well no act is so important as quitting this life. So when 
death comes, we ought to receive her as we would receive a 
beautiful ladygallantly and with great dignity." 

If here wasn't a man, then John Paul Jones was a water 
nymph. To have produced such a man is alone enough to have 
distinguished the whole history of Ecuador. And when I am 
inclined to become overly critical of South American public 
men generals, dictators and politicians I generally pull my- 
self together and contemplate the Montalvos. 

Such men you can find not only in history, but even in the 
flesh, all over these Other Americas. Call them temperamental, 
sentimental Latins, or what you will, but courage is their middle 
name. Danger or disaster doesn't make their knees tremble. 
They are not equipped with chicken livers or cotton spines. 
That is why I have faith in the future of all of these countries, 
even in Ecuador, in spite of its politicians. 



I 

Ghosts in the Canefields 



ERU is the California of South America, geographically 
at least, only it is 1400 miles long and 700 miles wide, nearly 
three and a third times the area of our great western state. 
Easterners may more readily appreciate its extent when they 
find that it is almost nine times the size of Georgia, the largest 
state east of the Mississippi. Looking at the maps of South 
America and the United States, with Lower California added, 
Peru is similar in shape to California, a long, curving, moun- 
tainous country occupying the bulge of the continent. 

Its position in western South America is much the same as 
that of California in this country. The two northwestern coun- 
tries of Ecuador and Colombia lying above Peru correspond to 
the states of Oregon and Washington, while the long, slim 
shoestring republic of Chile to the south resembles the narrow, 
tapering Mexican peninsula that joins onto southern California. 
The great difference is the fact that California's eastern border 
gets all tangled up in the Rockies, while Peru sprawls clear 
across the Andes and far out into the lowlands of Amazonia. 
While California's Sacramento and other rivers flow westward 
into the Pacific, Peril's three mighty rivers the Maranon, the 
Huallaga and the Ucayali flow north and eastward into the 
Amazon, which also rises in Peru. 

Historically Peru is the Egypt of the southern continent, 

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New Roads to Riches 

a land where empires had risen and fallen a thousand years 
before Columbus started east by sailing west, where the old 
Spanish conquerors themselves found cities of fabulous wealth, 
temples whose walls were splashed with gold and studded 
with precious stones, palaces where pomp and splendor had 
reigned for centuries when the Alhambra still smelled of plaster 
and varnish. The remains of its ancient temples stand calmly 
in the presence of such brazen modernism as sugar mills, cotton 
factories, copper mines and smelters, and oil wells. There is 
a new building for every ancient ruin, a modern industry 
for every old one, and even nature offers a surprise on every 
hand. 

Just a few hours from Ecuador's chief seaport, down the 
muddy Guayas, and along a palm-fringed coast with a lazy 
surf lapping the shore, you come to the end of the jungle and 
the beginning of the desert. On the Pacific slopes of South 
America vegetation and tropics are not synonymous. As far as 
the northern hump of Peru the billowy green jungles stretch 
westward until they roll up like giant green breakers against 
the mighty mountains. Then suddenly the scene changes. 

Near the frontier, if you go by air, the pilot tilts the stick 
and the plane rises suddenly from the water's edge and soars 
inland. Eastward are the gleaming white peaks of the Andean 
Cordillera* Beneath are seared crumbling hills and gullies and 
ahead the misty brown of the desert coastal region which ex- 
tends not only the length of Peru, but for more than two thou- 
sand five hundred miles clear down to the central valleys 
of Chile. 

The change is so sudden and definite it looks as if a green 
living map of Ecuador had been neatly pasted on to a dead 
brownish map of Peru. This sudden change in topography is 
due to the blighting ocean current that sweeps up from Little 
America, and named for its discoverer, that roving old German 
scientist who gave South America so much geography and cli- 

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Peru 

matology to think about, Baron von Humboldt The cold of 
the current works havoc with the clouds, driving them back 
against the mountains where their moisture turns to snow, so 
that there is practically no rainfall along the coast. 

The scientists explain this peculiar phenomenon of nature 
in this way: the warm Japanese current flows down the coast of 
North America, Mexico, Central America and along the shores 
of Colombia and Ecuador and then swings out into the Pacific. 
Consequently the coastal regions of Colombia and Ecuador are 
cursed instead of blessed with rainfall. As the Humboldt cur- 
rent travels northward it is constantly advancing into a warmer 
climate so that "there are no cooling air currents off shore to 
condense the vapor and no electrical disturbances to shake it to 
earth in the form of rainfall." 

Once in every five or six years nature slips a cog and it 
rains and deluges thousands of square miles, during which many 
people in the Peruvian northland watch their little adobe 
houses melt and flow down the valleys and gullies to the sea. 
Afterward plants of every conceivable kind pop up over the 
face of the earth, only to wilt and die under the pounding rays 
of the tropical sun when the clouds have passed away. 

When the Japanese and the Humboldt currents do go to 
war, and the former pushes farther south instead of turning 
westward according to habit, and the latter advances north, a 
marine catastrophe results. All the fish and most of the other 
living creatures of the deep become the victims. Those accus- 
tomed to warm waters freeze to death when pushed into the 
cold current and those native to the cold suffocate when forced 
into warm waters. Persons who have observed this disastrous 
phenomenon have seen the waters covered with the carcasses 
of all manner of sea life. 

The dusty northern, point of Peru where the city of Talara 
now stands has been a sort of entrance to the country ever 
since Pizarro landed near by and began his famous march south- 

[257] 



New Roads to Riches 

ward into the empire of the Incas* More recently it has been 
a landing place for many notables. <0n one of his spectacular 
tours abroad a few years ago, his then Royal Highness, the 
Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Baron of Renfrew, and 
now the plain Duke of Windsor, left his ship at Talara and 
continued his journey southward by air. While Pizarro was 
looking for gold, the Prince was looking for oil. Talara is an 
oil town, the headquarters of fields and refineries, part of which 
are owned or controlled by various of Britain's scattered but 
faithful nationals. 

One of the Talara fields is so old that even before the Span- 
iards the Incas dug holes and dipped the oil up in buckets and 
jugs. What they did with it is not known, since automobiles had 
not yet come to toot their horns in the dead of night, and no- 
body had invented a gasoline engine with which to turn the 
wheels of industry. The early Spaniards knew all but did 
nothing about these riches. They were too busy looking for 
the wealth which others had already gathered. 

In the records of his travels published in 1580, one old 
Padre, Jose Acosta, tells of sailing along this stretch of the 
Pacific coast and hearing the pilot of the ship say that "Some- 
times far out to sea, out of sight of land, I know by the odor 
of the bitumen where I am with as much certainty as if I could 
see land, so strong is the odor given off." In any case, oil 
now flows up out of some of these same old pits. In sinking 
several of the wells drillers and engineers have found the re- 
mains of old walls, numerous trinkets and even cannon used by 
the Castilian conquerors. 

Peru possesses more soil resources than any of the Andean 
countries except Colombia and Venezuela. At least they have 
been more extensively developed. They lie in a strip of coastal 
territory stretching from the Ecuadorean border 280 miles 
south and some 1 8 to 55 miles inland, an area producing an- 
nually some 17,500,000 barrels of crude oil. The largest con- 

[258] 



Peru 

cession is that of the International Petroleum Company, Ltd., 
a Canadian corporation, made up of many and varied interests, 
with three separate fields and over 1700 wells in the Talara 
district. The Lobitos field, to the north of this concession, 
founded by an enterprising Scotch flour-mill owner, Alexander 
Milne, has a thousand wells in production. Still farther north 
the smaller Zorritos field, with some forty-five wells in opera- 
tion, was founded by Faustino G. Piaggio, an old Italian settler 
in Peru, and is still operated by his sons and grandsons. 

Today the government itself is exploring in all of these 
regions, and it is rumored that no more concessions will be 
granted to foreigners or even private individuals. Meantime, 
besides being on the outlook .for oil of its own, the government 
does well for itself out of the income of the private companies. 
It collects various income and local taxes and an export tax of 
seven shillings sterling, about a dollar and seventy-five cents, 
on every metric ton shipped out of the country. The Interna- 
tional Petroleum Company alone supplied nine and one-quarter 
per cent of the entire national income in 1937, and was the 
principal source of all the export taxes collected by the 
nation. 

Needless to say the foreign companies not only pay com- 
paratively high wages, about the highest wages in the country, 
but provide workmen with all the modern and up-to-date living 
conditions. For the 23,000 men, women and children under its 
jurisdiction, the International Petroleum Company, follow- 
ing the practice of the oil companies in Venezuela and Colom- 
bia, has provided good housing, schools, churches, recreation 
facilities and hospitals. One of the best equipped hospitals in 
all Peru, and perhaps the finest and most powerful X-ray 
installation in western South America, is to be found on the 
International Petroleum properties at Talara. I know a man 
who went all the way from New York for a spinal operation 
in this hospital 5 not only because the facilities and doctors were 

[259] 



New Roads to Riches 

equal to any he could find in this country, but the dry, even 
climate, like that o Tucson, Arizona, would be a great aid to 
rapid recovery. 

A little south of Talara and its oil field is the port of Paita 
in the valley of the Chira, and also the first of the oldest Span- 
ish towns, Piura, founded on the spot where Pizarro camped 
on his way south. Then another hop, skip and landing, and you 
cross the Desierto de Sechura, the Sahara of northern Peru, 
and stop for a visit in the valley of Chancay in the department 
of Lambayeque, whose capital city of Chiclayo is the northern 
headquarters for the Peruvian flying corps. Since the flare-up 
over the Peruvian-Ecuadorean border question, Chiclayo has 
been an unusually busy place, with army planes in the air 
morning and afternoon. 

About halfway between Chiclayo and Trujillo, but back up 
on the Andean plateau from the coast town of Pacasmayo, is the 
old city which was the scene of the most famed of all Pizarro's 
exploits, Cajamarca, where he captured the Inca Atahualpa and 
where the Spanish power in Peru began. This historic town is 
of little importance today and, except by air, is very much off 
the beaten track. Surrounded by a peaceful countryside of 
small farms, its principal distinctions are its old churches, one 
with a fabulously carved fagade, and the house on the public 
square containing the room in which the Inca was imprisoned 
and which he promised to fill with gold in return for his 
freedom. 

Travel north and south in the coastal region of Peru is a 
matter of jumping from valley to valley. Life and civilization 
exist only where the icy rivers flow down from the mountains 
to the sea, making possible irrigation in the fanlike flatlands at 
their mouths. From the air the country resembles a crumpled 
piece of brown paper with widely separated emerald streaks 
and splotches along the edge. Each valley is a little world by 
itself, devoted to its own individual industries. In the Chira 

[260] 



Peru 

valley around Piura it is cotton and in the Chancay and the 
Chicama, the two largest regions under cultivation in the north, 
it is sugar cane. More than half of the 350,000 tons of sugar 
produced in the republic every year comes from the Chicama 
valley alone. 

Strung along the coast in this section are some of the largest 
of those tiny islands on which are located the world's oldest 
fertilizer factories for which Peru was so famed in the middle 
eighteen hundreds. It is on these islands that the millions of 
Guano birds, the principal species of which are the alcatraz, or 
Peruvian pelican, the piquero, and the cormorant, come to rest 
while their digestive organs convert all the fish they have de- 
voured into the most potent of guanos. Incidentally, no other 
living thing seems to possess such an appetite. One scientist 
familiar with these smelly creatures estimates that a colony of 
6,000,000 birds consumes approximately 1000 tons of fish a 
day. Anyway, for half a century their droppings constituted one 
of the country's most valuable exports, and it is still a source of 
considerable revenue. 

The most extensive of the northern valleys is the Chicama. 
The near-by city of Trujillo, another town established and 
named by the old conqueror himself in honor of his own home 
town of Trujillo in Estremadura and now the capital of the 
province or department of La Libertad, is the metropolis of the 
north. Trujillo was not only one of the first cities of Spanish 
Peru, but the first town to rise against the King and all of his 
works, or shall I say all his plunderers, in the struggle for 
independence nearly three hundred years later. It is a city of 
halfbreeds and a few old Spanish aristocrats. Among the latter, 
blue-blood family traditions and the tenure of residence and 
occupation are still important matters. 

You will see striking contrasts between the old and new 
in the main plaza. There is an old church with its inevitable 
golden altar, numerous old houses with some of the finest of all 

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New Roads to Riches 

Moorish balconies, and in the center an outlandish statue, a 
modernistic monstrosity, a giant woolly-headed figure of brown- 
ish stone in keeping with the prevailing landscape, holding aloft 
a torch. I should say it is a cross between the Statue of Liberty 
and Paul Manship's famed fountain figure in New York's 
Rockefeller Plaza. 

The long Calle Francisco Pixarro, which stretches eastward 
from the plaza until it loses itself in the dusty countryside, is 
lined with stores, shops, clubs, hotels and the uninhabited- 
looking old university. On this street are also many of the old 
Spanish colonial residences, the intimate life of whose patios 
are plainly visible to all passersby. But just as you begin to feel 
that Trujillo is a typically Peruvian-Indian-Spanish town, you 
run onto a statue in front of the city hall erected in memory of 
Captain O'Donovan, who commanded the town's own regiment 
in the war with Chile in 1880. After that the signs bearing the 
names of lawyers and doctors, such as Fernando Jacobs, Ricardo 
O'Sullivan and Togo Yamatoya and others, become quite sig- 
nificant. There are English and German trading companies, 
Chinese grocery stores, Japanese garages and auto accessory 
stores, one of the largest of which carries Yankee-made tires 
and tubes exclusively. 

The Japanese and the Chinese are also in the barbering busi- 
ness. Why members of these two races go in so strongly for shav- 
ing and hair-trimming in Latin America I have not been able to 
learn. Perhaps the trade serves as a training school in which 
they may learn how to trim one another the more successfully. 
But the Oriental barber shops cannot compete with the time- 
honored tonsorial parlor of Seiior Velasquez, who has been 
supplying haircuts and odoriferous tonics to the gentlemen of 
the old families for half a century. Last year the city fathers, 
on behalf of the male members of the upper classes, presented 
the Senor with a gold medal "in appreciation of his fifty years' 
service to the community." 

[262] 



Peru 

In spite of its conservatism, its traditions and attachment to 
the past, its respect for old families, old tradesmen and old 
barbers, Trujillo is a hotbed of Afrismo, the radical movement 
led by the native Lenin Victor Haya de la Torre a movement 
which Peruvian conservatives term communism. In 1932 during 
a political upheaval in Lima there was an outbreak in this old 
town that rivalled in intensity at least the famous slaughter 
in Moscow's Red Square in 1917. Apristas, or radicals, and 
perhaps not a few men with age-old grievances, walked the 
streets shooting and killing wholesale. Hundreds of leading 
citizens lost their lives before a military dictatorship got itself 
established throughout the country. When it did, and in keep- 
ing with the best traditions of dictatorships, order was quickly 
restored after the murderous rioters had been corralled. In the 
end the army evened up matters very neatly by marching the 
culprits out to the old city of Chan Chan and leaving their 
bullet-riddled remains among its dusty ruins. 

Incidentally, Chan Chan is the only reason any one 'should 
tarry long in Trujillo itself. Compared to those of Chan Chan, 
Trujillo's claims to fame are insignificant and inconsequential. 
This ancient capital of the Chimus, a race that flourished cen- 
turies before white men arrived in the New World, may not 
be much to look at, but it is something worth lingering over. 
Chan Chan's ascendancy is said to have lasted from about 900 to 
1300 A.D. Its principal remains lie near the Pacific and only a 
few miles north from Trujillo's central plaza. It was one of the 
great cities of New World antiquity, a city of great artistry and 
industrial advancement, as well as a city of tremendous pro- 
portions and magnificence. 

Fly above it and it looks as if it had been knocked down 
only yesterday. There are the long narrow streets, the outline 
of the parks and plazas, the remains of its palaces and the great 
walls which surrounded them. Its size and age are attested 
by the cemeteries which begin on the outskirts and reach right 

[263] 



New Roads to Riches 

down to the ocean shores a mile away. The huge pile of debris 
which was the central temple still rose fifty yards above the 
surroundings before 1925, when one of the infrequent and 
historic deluges flattened it out. From the cemetery gorgeous 
pottery and other ceramic ware, carved stone and golden jewelry 
of amazing pattern and beauty, have been dug up only recently. 

Chan Chan had already reached its decline and been con- 
quered by the Incas long before the arrival of Pizarro. Religion, 
it seems, was one of the causes for rivalry between the Incas and 
the Chimus. The Incas worshipped the sun, while the Chimus 
worshipped the moon. This is as it should have been, of course. 
The home of the Incas was high in the Andes, where the frosty 
night winds chilled them to the bone. Why shouldn't they have 
loved the sunshine? Every morning it came to thaw them out, 
warm their blood and make them feel good. But the Chimus 
lived along the lowlands on the coast where the hot tropical 
sun beat mercilessly down upon them by day. They hated the 
days and loved the nights. They had no use for the sun. There- 
fore they worshipped the moon, goddess of the night time. 

The Incas were of an uplifting turn of mind. You will re- 
call they sent missionaries as far north as the Sabana of Bogota 
to convert the Chibchas, Like nearly every race in history whose 
civilization ever progressed very far beyond the cave, they 
could not let other people live in their own way. However, 
they failed at first to convince the Chimus of the error of their 
faith. So they sent them an ultimatum demanding that 'they 
come up and worship the sun. The Chimus naturally objected, 
and their reply was cloaked in matchless logic. "No," they said, 
according to one commentator, "we prefer the moon to the 
sun. The moon does not make us perspire in the day time. 
Besides it comes out at night when light is really needed." 

There were many cities in the Chimu Empire, which extended 
all the way from the Tumbes valley next to the Ecuadorean 
frontier almost to Lima in the south, most of which yielded 

[264] 



Peru 

tremendous riches to the white conquerors. Fortunately they 
did not find all of them. They left a few for modern archaeolo- 
gists to discover and study. In December, 1937, in the Illimo 
district of the Lambayeque department, one of the greatest 
finds since the Spanish conquest took place. There was a i y-inch, 
i8-carat gold statue of a chief or god, exquisitely carved and 
decorated with turquoise and mounted on a symbolic half-moon 
knife. Along with the elaborate statue there was a solid gold 
mask, numerous carved hair ornaments and enormous gold 
drinking goblets encrusted with turquoise. These priceless pieces 
are now locked in the vaults of the treasury at Lima. 

But one of the most interesting of such discoveries came 
from the cemeteries of Chan Chan and is now on display in the 
private museum of Don Rafael Larco Herrera at his great 
sugar estate, Hacienda Chiclin, in the Chicama valley, twenty- 
five miles above Trujillo. One moonlight night two years ago 
a cholo huaquerOy or half-breed grave robber, who was grabbling 
among the burial places of the ancients in the Chan Chan ceme- 
tery, came upon a piece of metal. Carefully he removed the 
hard dry earth around it and lifted it out. It was a king's crown 
two feet high made of solid beaten gold. Searching further he 
found a golden staff, carved epaulets, or shoulder pieces, and 
a large carved breastplate. By grapevine the news reached Seiior 
Larco, who immediately made contact with the discoverer just 
as he was about to melt them down so that they might be sold 
without arousing suspicion. Peruvian law forbids any grave dig- 
ging, even by archaeologists, without special permission. For- 
tunately Senor Larco was able to purchase the entire outfit and 
save it for posterity. 

During my last trip to Trujillo I visited Chiclin for the ex- 
press purpose of seeing this magnificent treasure from the 
ruins of the Chimu metropolis. Foreigners who explore and 
write about Peru's ancient civilizations always gravitate to the 
Cuzco district, to Machu Picchu and the other Inca ruins of the 

[265] 



New Roads to Riches 

southern Andes. Our own museums are full of their remains and 
wares and many books have been written about them. To me, 
however, these ancient regions of the north, scenes of the cities 
of great peoples older than the Incas, are just as important. 
Chan Chan, its ruins, its huacos and the crown of gold are 
equally fascinating and far more mysterious. 

Since the Incas were still in their ascendency when the Span- 
iards arrived, there are few secrets about their life and works. 
Their cities and their palaces were still standing. Yet little 
if anything is actually known about the Chimus except what is 
surmised from their marvellous ceramic ware and statuary. 
The Larcos themselves, students and enthusiasts on the subject, 
will admit as much. With a museum stocked from floor to 
ceiling with the pottery and trinkets of the Chimus and the 
Mochicas who preceded them, they revel in research and 
speculation, with little certainty that they are on the right 
track. 

Not even Borglum^ sculptured heads of North American 
notables are so eloquent of character and personality as the 
huacos portraying heads of men, women, kings, soldiers, as well 
as of all manner of animal life, which have been dug up from 
the burial grounds of these ancient races. They worked in metals 
of all kinds from gold to copper, but none of it is so artistic 
as their ceramics, or sculptured photographs. 

These huacos doubtless tell in symbols the story of the 
entire civilization, if, of course, they could only be read accu- 
rately. So far no Rosetta stone has been found, no key to the 
symbols. Each piece seems to express the individualism of the 
person whose likeness it is, his joys and sorrows, his longings 
and ambitions, while the symbols are supposed to describe the 
habits, customs, industry, the food he ate, how it was pre- 
pared, his trials, tribulations, his misfortunes, the plague or 
disease against which he struggled. In the back room of the 
Larco museum are thousands of huacos picturing the sad ex- 

[266] 



Peru 

periences of people suffering from social diseases, including 
lifelike representations of all the sexual perversions and their 
consequences. 

It seems that the finest of all the art work, the statuary, the 
huacos y were not for the use or pleasure of the living, but for 
the dead. The master artist modelled and painted only for those 
who had passed on. In life, except for the nobility and priests, 
only crude things were used. Sacrifices were made in this life so 
that in the life to come there would be ease and plenty. Con- 
quering Christians should have tried to teach these people, or 
their descendants, about the Hereafter! 

A visit toChiclin makes a trip to northern Peru a memorable 
experience. If I were a Peruvian and I were looking for the 
ideal in romantic interest as well as material and social activity, 
it is here that I would find it. Besides the museum full of 
priceless historic treasures, the surrounding countryside is hoary 
with, traditions reaching all the way back inter the dim mysteri- 
ous past. Yet there are endless square miles of fertile fields full 
of perpetually maturing sugar cane, vast orchards and flower 
gardens. If the problems of crops, cane mills and modern fi- 
nancial responsibilities became too pressing, I could steal into 
'the museum and roll back the centuries. If, at night, sleep 
became impossible I could stroll out through the canefields and 
commune with the ghosts of ancient artists, kings and empire 
builders. 

The plantation is an institution. Besides its sugar industry 
and other crops, hog raising is carried on on a large scale and in 
a most scientific manner near by. Its hundreds of seemingly 
contented and happy workmen, who share all the privileges 
and responsibilities of the place, are housed in picturesque, but 
modernly equipped colonial structures. There is a hospital, 
movie theatre, school and church. Organized on its present scale 
by Don Rafael Larco Herrera, who has now retired to his 
library and his newspaper, La Cromca>, in Lima, the Senores 

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New Roads to Riches 

Larco Hoyle, his three sons, all graduates of our own Cornell 
University, now operate the place. 

If the sons seem to bear a slightly different name from that 
of their father, it is merely an old Spanish custom. In Anglo- 
Saxon countries, which boast of equal rights to the female sex, 
when a woman marries her own name sinks into oblivion. Her 
sons are known only by the father's name. In Spanish countries 
the son proudly embraces the mother's name as well. Since 
Don Rafael Larco's mother was a Herrera, the founder of Chic- 
lin became known as Larco Herrera. His wife having been a 
member of the good Scotch family of Hoyle, his three sons in 
turn took the name of Larco Hoyle. 

And what a diversified yet co-operative combination they are. 
Young Rafael, the oldest and general manager of the planta- 
tion, is the archaeologist of the trio, following in the footsteps 
of his father. Quite logically Constante, whose avocation is 
painting and natural history, is the manager of all field activi- 
ties, while Javiar, the youngest, a champion athlete, specializing 
in pugilism and fencing, directs all the welfare activities of the 
place. In true Yankee fashion he leads the employees in or- 
ganized sport. 

The Chiclin football team plays the teams of other planta- 
tions in the valley. An Indian employee who grew up from 
childhood on the plantation recently became a national star. 
Chidin's champion boxers, pole vaulters and javelin throwers 
often go down to Lima to participate in national tournaments. 
They are even encouraged to preserve their ancient aboriginal 
dances and to revere them. When sightseers come to Chiclin the 
experts turn out in fancy costume and perform on the lawn. 
In addition to the aboriginal music and dances, they perform 
the Yaravi, and Marmera of post-Spanish days. 

The comradeship of these three brothers is the apotheosis of 
old Spanish family tradition. Among them are no rivalries or 
pulling in opposite directions. If the father is present all three 



Peru 

defer to him with the humility of lowly subjects to a king. In 
the absence of the father, Rafael becomes the head of the 
family insofar as the other two are concerned. To him they 
pay complete homage, defer to his every suggestion and his 
judgment is always final and unquestioned. They anticipate 
his every wish or desire. If seated in the living-room with 
visitors in the evening, you often hear one of them say, "Rafael, 
may I get you a cigarette?" Or if he offers a guest a glass of 
brandy, one of them immediately speaks up, "I will get it, 
Rafael." Ask either one of them anything about archaeology, 
or the policy of the plantation, even if it is only a trivial matter, 
and he will give you "my brother's opinion," not his own. 
Meantime each is meticulous in his respect for the other and, 
although none of them is married, individual family responsi- 
bilities would not alter their devotion and deference to one 
another in the slightest. 

Maybe this is why great estates in these countries so often 
pass unimpaired from generation to generation. Not only has 
Chiclin followed the general pattern and policy of the elder 
Larco, but it is even improving and expanding under the man- 
agement of the sons. The father was such a liberal in his attitude 
toward employees and in his progressive management, he was 
called a radical by conservative friends and acquaintances in 
Lima. And the sons do not allow the paternal flag to droop 
in the slightest. The result has been that during the radical 
uprising of 1932, when there were riots on the other plantations 
in the Chicama valley, every employee from the foreman down 
to stable boy defied any agitator even to approach the premises, 
much less attempt to enter. In a region of great estates and 
plantations, Chiclin was the only community where no work- 
man showed any sympathy whatsoever with the extremist cause. 

It is no easy matter to maintain and administer a great plan- 
tation anywhere in the Peruvian northland. The chief problem 
is neither labor nor production, nor even the advantageous sale 

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New Roads to Riches 

of crops, although all these call for more than ordinary skill 
and ingenuity in these times. Ordinary or common labor is 
cheap enough. The average on most plantations is from eighty 
centavos to one and one-half soles (or thirty-five to seventy-one 
cents in Unite'd States equivalent), a pound of rice arid a 
pound of meat for a day's work. In addition the laborer gets 
living quarters and medical attention. At Chiclin, of course, he 
is especially favored. 

On a sugar estate as well as any other, the chief problem, the 
great desideratum is water. One-third of the 1,120,000 acres of 
land in cultivation in Peru lies in these narrow coastal valleys. 
Every drop of water comes from the melting snows and ices 
of the Andean cordillera. There is a dam for every river and 
trickling stream and the quantity of water is never the same 
any two months or even any two days in the year. Without 
water land is valueless, and its value is determined entirely by 
the water rights. These rights in every valley go with the land 
in proportion to the acreage already cultivated and the per- 
centage of the water varies every day* A farmer's wealth con- 
sists not only of his land, houses, and other visible properties, 
but also of whatever water he may receive. The roads to his 
riches are the irrigation ditches, streams and rivers that reach 
up into the snow fields. 

Irrigation is a government monopoly administered by a com- 
mission in every valley. No farmer or plantation owner knows 
in advance how much water he will receive. In fact, the supply 
varies so from day to day that the commission gauges the water 
in the river four times in every twenty-four hours and appor- 
tions the water according to that particular day's supply. Every 
farmer has a main canal connecting his plantation with the 
river. His portion of water is turned into his canal, then he 
distributes it over his plantation as he sees fit. 

As one plantation owner puts it, "Since water is the will of 
God, coming down from the mountains only in proportion as 

[270] 



Peru 

the sunshine melts the snows and ices, farming in Peru becomes 
a miracle." 

This means that expansion of cultivation under present con- 
ditions is practically impossible. It is said there is less land 
in cultivation in northern Peru today than there was before the 
coming of the Spaniards 3 probably because the Indians grew 
mostly corn and beans, which required much less water than 
the present prevailing crops of cotton and sugar cane. Then, 
too, the method of irrigation, being the very same bequeathed 
from pre-Spanish times, has not been improved upon. 

The farmer pays for his water by the month in cash to the 
government. Nor is there any standard rate for water either. 
Since the supply varies in the different valleys, the rates also 
vary. Water is portioned out on the Chicama haciendas in 
riegosy which is the standard measure and which denotes the 
fall of so much water per second in the gauge. The ordinary 
proportion is one riego of water for fifty janegadas, a jmegada 
being about seven acres of land. To the owners of plantations 
of the valleys producing principally sugar canq special conces- 
sions are now being made by the government on account of the 
low prices of sugar. 

All these rules-, regulations and prices apply only to large 
haciendas. Peasant farmers, or those of the comumdades, who 
still live under the old Inca community or, as some say, com- 
munistic system, receive water under entirely different rules 
and regulations, and far less advantageously, it may be said. 
A certain amount of water is apportioned to each community, 
and then the individuals must take it by turns. One farmer 
irrigates today, another tomorrow, and so on. 

The Chicama valley is perhaps the richest and most pro- 
gressive agricultural region in the north, with most of its 
watered acreage confined to a half-dozen large estates. Besides 
Chiclin, there is Casa Grande and its three adjoining planta- 
tions, about which there has been so much talk recently. One 

[2713 



New Roads to Riches 

story has it that the Casa Grande estate and their half -million 
acres, stretching right along the shores of the Pacific, is owned 
by a German company which maintains its own flying field, its 
own private seaport and harbor facilities, both of which are 
carefully guarded by armed Germans in uniform. 

"All this," says one traveller returning from Peru, "is within 
striking distance and apparently without the knowledge of of- 
ficials and guardians of the Panama Canal." 

In the present circumstances, with Hitler and Mussolini de- 
manding more and more territory, a greater share of the world's 
raw materials, this story has not only gained considerable 
credence, but taken on more serious proportions with each tell- 
ing. The latest rumors have it that German submarines and 
other naval craft, as well as regular German steamers, have 
been seen going in and out of this harbor. Such a state of affairs, 
if true, would constitute one of the boldest challenges in all 
history to the Monroe Doctrine and to the sovereignty of the 
United States itself. It would call for quick and decisive action 
from the government at Washington. 

However, there is no such threat or danger to the Canal or 
to the United States. Casa Grande is owned by a company with 
a German name, but the German owners, the Gildemeister 
brothers, have lived in Peru longer than New York's famed 
Senator Wagner has lived in the United States. They are 
Peruvian citizens born in Peru. The so-called air base is an 
open space in the perfectly flat canefields used by local Peruvian 
air lines and listed on the charts of the Pan-American Grace 
Airways as an emergency landing field. Since a great deal of its 
sugar, molasses and alcohol is shipped to Europe, small Ger- 
man as well as other European freighters call at the little port 
of Chicama, a tiny bay or inlet at the edge of one of the 
plantations. 

Only a little way from Casa Grande is Cartavio, a similar 

[272] 



Peru 

plantation where sugar, alcohol and rum are produced in enor- 
mous quantities and which is owned by W, R. Grace & Company 
of New York. This plantation, as well as Casa Grande and 
Chiclin, is heavily guarded to protect crops, refineries, distil- 
leries and other properties from marauding peasants and In- 
dians, just as any similar property in this country is guarded 
and protected. Cartavio, like Casa Grande, maintains its own 
flying field. But the regular Grace steamers operating on the 
west coast carry passengers to and from this region, and par- 
ticularly parties of tourists who visit the ancient ruins of Chan 
Chan. Consequently they use the port of Salaverry, twenty-five 
miles away and twelve miles south of Trujillo by railroad 
or paved highway. 

Incidentally, Salaverry is the shipping point or port for 
Trujillo and the entire region, that is, if it could be called a 
port. In fact, along the entire coast line of Peru there is at this 
moment but one single port where ocean-going steamers may 
tie up to a dock, or even anchor in calm waters. That is Callao, 
the port of Lima. At Salaverry, as at all the others, the ship 
anchors a mile or so out at sea, and reels and rocks on the 
Pacific swells, making the loading or discharging of freight 
about as difficult a job as you can find anywhere. 

Passengers take their chances down a heaving ladder and 
count themselves lucky if they make the bobbing launch with- 
out getting drenched. And if they do, after the launch, not 
unlike a ship in a Walt Disney cartoon, has successfully ridden 
breakers as high as a house and reached the long pier that 
extends out into the restless deepthey must be windlassed up 
by a block and tackle in a species of iron bucket, wondering the 
while what would happen if the uncertain hand of the indif- 
ferent cholo should slip or miss the lever of the electric motor 
which operates it. 

Of all my adventures in South America by sea or air, the 

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New Roads to Riches 

last trip I made from shore to ship at Salaverry holds a choice 
place among the most hair-raisitig. It was a dark night and 
the sadistic, half-drunken proprietor of the launch held me 
halfway between the pier and the ship, with a rough sea growing 
rougher, and threatened to keep me there unless I paid him 
double what he had agreed at the pier to transport me for, 
"in order," he made it known., "to teach the gringo he is not 
superior to a Peruvian." 

Shippers and importers, as well as passengers, find launch- 
men and stevedores a mercenary lot. Contrary to the practice 
at other ports, marine labor at Salaverry works on a piece 
basis. That means that every person who handles a bag or box 
of freight gets paid a fixed sum. To get a case of condensed 
milk ashore, it is necessary to pay the stevedores seven centavos 
and the launchmen ten centavos of a sole the Peruvian unit of 
money worth a little more than forty-seven cents j that is, dur- 
ing regular hours from 7 to n A.M. and from I to 5 P.M.J 
from 5 to 7 o'clock in the evening the charge is fifty per cent 
more, from 7 to 9 seventy-five per cent more, and from 9 to 12 
P.M. ioo per cent in addition. On Sundays or holidays the off- 
hour rates range from 50 per cent to 175^ per cent more 
per hour. 

To the lowly citizens of Trujillo and the surrounding coun- 
try these conditions put a can of condensed milk in the same 
class with a fifty-year-old bottle of brandy from ancient Brit- 
tany or somewhere. Likewise it gives an idea of the additional 
problems a Peruvian farmer, cotton or sugar producer must 
face in getting his products to the world market, even if he has 
won in the superhuman struggle against government and nature 
to grow and gather it. 

My own experience also makes it certain that from now on 
I shall take the plane and not a steamer southward to Lima 
from Trujillo and the valley of Chicama. While it would be 

[274] 



Peru 

possible to make the trip now by automobile, I shall not go 
by land until the new highway has been completed all the 
way. Besides there is not a great deal along the way that com- 
pares in interest or importance to the far northern regions. In 
fact the far north with Trujillo as the base, Lima and the 
central sections, and the far south, with Arequipa as the hub, 
constitute the principal centers of Peruvian civilization. 



[275] 



II 

City of the Kings 



I 



UST at nightfall we ran into a fog. At rhythmic intervals all 
through the night the ship's whistle blew until my eardrums 
seemed on the verge of collapse. Sleep was impossible. What a 
relief it would be to get into Callao, hurry up to the hotel at 
Lima and go to bed! Finally seven o'clock came and the break- 
fast gong, but the whistle still blew. Hurrying out on deck, I 
found that daylight consisted of a semi-opaque glow. The fog 
was like a heavy steam from a boiling kettle. "Callao is some- 
where out there in it," the deck steward said. "This is June, and 
wintertime you know, and Callao and Lima seldom see the 
sun this time of year." 

Callao remained "somewhere out there" until nearly noon 
when the heavy gray curtain lifted slightly, but only slightly. 
It still floated just overhead. Throughout my four weeks' stay 
it floated just overhead day in and day out, descending to earth 
at night, as if in repose. Atmospherically, such is Callao and 
Lima four and five months in the year, and sometimes longer. 
But only Callao and Lima and the lower Rimac valley. Ten 
miles inland at night the stars twinkle the year round and the 
sun shines nearly every day. 

But on this occasion, even before the fog lifted, the ship 
was attacked by fleteros y or launchmen, who shouted and 
screamed at the top of their lungs. By scores they rushed the 

[276] 



Peru 

ladders, all trying to ascend at the same time. They rioted, 
cursed, pushed and bashed one another. Once up the ladder 
they swarmed over the decks like wolves, invaded the social 
hall, the dining-room, jammed the corridors, knocked and 
screamed at cabin doors and practically tore the clothing from 
the backs of such passengers as ventured out. Four and five 
would surround the passenger, hold on to his arms, and shout 
Spanish into his ears, all in an effort to arrange contracts for the 
trip from ship to shore. 

I finally made an agreement with the largest and fiercest 
looking of them all to transport myself, my three bags, type- 
writer and brief case. No sooner had we started down the cor- 
ridor than rivals began grappling with him, trying forcibly to di- 
vest him of the bags. While he engaged two of them in a free- 
for-all, one seized my typewriter and another my brief case, and, 
but for the intervention of two ship's officers, would have 
made away with them. By pushing, shoving, and threatening, 
we succeeded in getting down the ladder to the giant's frail- 
looking launch and on our way to the shore. 

For fifty years, until October 24, 1934, such was the pro- 
cedure at Callao. It was an exciting experience for a tenderfoot 
or stranger to disembark and get to Lima. Pizarro himself 
landed in the north, crossed the Andes and made his way into 
the very presence of the Inca with little more inconvenience 
and difficulty. In fact, he met with far more courtesy and 
co-operation. 

As far back as 1869 the Peruvian government had built a 
small iron pier at Callao, and in 1877 the French constructed 
a so-called port and dock, but no sizable ship could ever get 
within half a mile of it. Today Callao has the finest, most 
modern port and docking facilities in western South America, 
designed, planned and built by the Frederick Snare Corpora- 
tion. At a cost of about sixteen and a half million dollars, they 
erected a breakwater over two miles long, dredged channels and 

[277! 



New Roads to Riches 

a basin thirty-seven feet deep, filled in acres of ground, built 
a dock over a third of a mile long from which half a dozen 
piers extend 590 feet out into the water, and surrounded the 
place with large office buildings, custom offices, spacious flower- 
filled parks and plazas. Not even at French Havre or Calais, 
English Southampton or New York, are passengers handled 
with more efficiency, dispatch or courtesy. No more wild fleteros 
fighting and rioting over your bags. Already the increase in 
business is taxing even these facilities. At this moment the gov- 
ernment is spending over two and a half million dollars on a 
drydock, naval warehouses and additional piers. 

Callao for hundreds of years was a sleepy, bedraggled old 
town with a few little plazas, a statue or two of native heroes 
and an old fort with oversized pop-guns built way back in the 
time of a famed, as well as romantic viceroy, Don Manuel 
Amat. In fact, it existed only to handle Lima's freight and 
travellers. But recently Callao has had the languor and sleepi- 
ness shaken out of it. Together with adjoining suburbs, it is 
now a city of nearly 150,000, with office buildings, brand new 
factories, and all the accoutrements of a hustling coastal 
metropolis. 

Four great boulevards, a railway and interurban electric 
lines connect it with Lima and the various outlying districts 
of the capital, while connecting roads extend to smaller towns 
and villages in the surrounding communities. From the 
new port, broad Avenida Argentina is the most direct, or the 
new Avenida Colonial. The Avenida del Progresso leads 
through Bellavista. Another follows the coast southward by La 
Perla, the summer home of the president, through San Miguel 
to Magdalena Nueva and Magdalena Vieja and turns inland 
through the new and wealthy San Isidro and country club dis- 
tricts where a new Lima is springing up at the rate of one 
hundred houses a month, enough to make Hollywood, Beverly 
Hills and Miami green with envy. 

[278] 



Peru 

My favorite route is the shore road by La Perla and the 
Magdalenas to Miraflores, the older of the better residential 
suburbs, with its enormous houses of old families, its legations 
and embassies, including the American, where brilliant geran- 
iums climb riotously over walls, fences and houses. From 
Miraflores I take the double-laned, tree-lined Avenida Are- 
quipa right into the heart of the city. 

The glory of modern Peru is Lima. There are, in fact, two 
Limas, the historic and historical Lima and the new modernistic 
Lima. The old Lima is a Spanish colonial city unspoiled by the 
garish architecture of this hurried age. It is a city which, in 
spite of its extensive civic improvements and its modern busi- 
ness structures, is still filled with old houses with deep patios, 
narrow streets with overhanging balconies, a city where old 
Spanish courtesy and hospitality are still genuine, if hesitantly 
proffered to strangers. 

For romance and glamor the historic Lima is the first city 
in all the Other America. Its record of wars, rebellions, loves, 
hates, duels, murders and spectacular fights is unsurpassed by 
any other in the entire hemisphere. As one of the very first 
cities that Europeans planted on the southern continent, Lima 
was christened exactly seventy-two years before Captain John 
Smith began his operations on the James River. 

Countless spectacular characters have strolled its streets and 
plazas. To know Lima, to understand it, to get the feel of it, 
one must not forget them. Pizarro himself was of course the 
chief among them. When he got through strangling Atahualpa 
at Cajamarca and looting the ancient cities of the age-old 
empire, he came down out to the coast to organize a govern- 
ment. It took him about a year to get Atahualpa off his hands, 
from November 15, 1532, to August 15, 1533, so that he got 
down to the valley of the Rimac River about a year later, and 
on January 18, 1535, began levelling off and laying a corner- 
stone for what was to become "The City of the Kings/ 3 

[2793 



New Roads to Riches 

By this time, due probably to the accumulation of Inca riches, 
he had acquired many enemies within his own ranks. Nothing 
produces enemies so quickly as riches that have been taken 
away from some one else. Anyway, his old partner, Almagro, 
went away to Chile to do a little conquering on his own. How- 
ever, he met with little success it seems. Chile was another 
world with few cities worth ransacking and much fiercer In- 
dians, especially in the far south. He proceeded back north- 
ward to replenish his fortune by taking over the ancient Inca 
city of Cuzco. Pizarro could have none of this, of course, 
so he sent his none-too-trusted brother, Hernando, on a hurried 
trip to teach Almagro a few things. But Almagro wasn't so 
easily dealt with. They quarrelled bitterly j in fact, Almagro 
took Hernando prisoner, but, being of a rather generous dis- 
position, he allowed the gentleman freedom upon his word 
of honor that he would behave himself. A grave error in 
judgment! 

Hernando proceeded straightway to plot. He double-crossed 
Almagro and took him prisoner. Then he proceeded to do to 
Almagro what his brother Francisco had done to the Inca 5 
only, instead of allowing his aids to do it, he himself arraigned 
Almagro, made the charges, convicted and passed sentence on 
him all in one fell swoop. One record has it that immediately 
after the record trial and conviction he himself administered the 
last sacraments to the condemned man and then led him to the 
scaffold. Following which he explained it all to the Spanish 
government in several hundred thousand words. Had he writ- 
ten a briefer explanation, or none, he might not have had to 
spend twenty years in prison for the crime. The Spanish gov- 
ernment did not countenance the hothead's treatment of an 
old man who was over seventy, gouty and used up by the hard- 
ships he had already undergone in the service of King and the 
Empire. 

Here Almagro's son took up the fight. He got together his 

[280] 



Peru 

friends and went to Lima. One night while Pizarro was at 
dinner in the palace he rushed in and ran the old boy through 
with a sword. This seesaw of murder and assassination went on 
while first one and then another of the conquistadores ruled 
in turnj until one day there arrived from Spain a nondescript 
priest by the name of de la Gasca, nondescript in appearance 
but not in speech. He had one of the glibbest tongues of any 
man who ever essayed politics. At first he went about quietly 
in his threadbare cassock talking to the soldiers and citizens 
until the majority were enthusiastic about the humble priest. 
Having made friends, learned the inside of social and busi- 
ness, as well as political, affairs, he ordered the despot then in 
power to get out the despot being the same Hernando who 
a little while before handled the Almagro case with such dis- 
patch. 

Hernando was enraged and ordered his forces to drive the 
padre and his friends into the Ancon, or somewhere. It seems 
the forces, or following, of the two gentlemen were drawn up 
in the Plaza de Armas in front of the Cathedral. Father de la 
Gasca began to talk. As he talked Hernando's men began to 
realize the situation. They started deserting and going over to 
the enemy. One record has it that in twos and fours and tens, 
and then by companies they went over until Hernando was left 
almost alone. Even then Father de la Gasca continued to speak, 
to exhort them to get on the side of King and Country, to for- 
sake the murderer. 

And any one, I think, will agree that it took eloquence 
to do that. 

But here is the point of the story. The humble priest having 
rid Peru of the last of the inner circle of the conquerors and 
brought peace to the city of Lima, packed up his satchel, got on 
a boat and went back to Spain; thus proving himself the first 
and perhaps the most completely unselfish individual who ever 
ruled in the old land of the Incas. 



New Roads to Riches 

In a city that witnessed such an act upon the part of a simple 
priest you would naturally expect to find churches. I thought 
I had seen churches and cathedrals in the old cities of Europe. 
When I went to Lima the first time I changed my mind. In 
most of the old cities of Europe there is only one church to 
the square. In Lima there are some squares that average four, 
not garish and gaudy churches, but churches that look for all 
the world like faded old etchings come to life. 

There is Santo Domingo, the church of Santa Rosa, the 
patron saint who was canonized in 1671. "Pope Clemente the 
loth," runs the colorful English of an old historian, "declared 
her the principal and universal saint, not only of Peru, but of 
all and any kingdoms, isles and land regions of all Latin Amer- 
ica, the Philippines and the Indies." Which seems quite in- 
clusive. Santa Rosa is buried in this old church where a jewel- 
studded altar has been erected to her memory. The jewelled 
altar of Santa Rosa is only a little more gorgeous than the solid 
silver one near by which is a memorial to Our Lady of the 
Roses. Connected with the church is the Convent of Santo 
Domingo which possesses priceless paintings and art treasures 
that few strangers without proper Catholic standing or spon- 
sorship are ever permitted to see. Its main chapel with deli- 
cately-carved mahogany panels and its crystal chandeliers are 
things of exquisite beauty. 

But the Church of San Francisco, known as the church of 
the miracles, is even more imposing. It has quite as many works 
of art, jewels and whatnot, as are found in Santo Domingo. 
However, its most important possession is the image of the 
Lady of Miracles. Along about 1630, a guide will tell you, 
when an earthquake made the old city do a perfect St. Vitus, 
the statue of the Lady of Miracles actually stretched forth her 
arms and made the earth stand still. 

There is the dingy old cathedral itself, said to be the largest 
in South America, which, along with five naves, ten chapels, 

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marvellously carved choir stalls with sculptured figures o the 
twelve apostles, some notable paintings by Murillo, and others, 
contains the last mortal remains of Pizarro, who himself laid 
the cornerstone of the cathedral. His shrivelled dried carcass 
now sleeps in the first chapel on the right-hand side of the 
main door. "His sepulchral monument/' say the Peruvian 
guide-books, "is worthy of that sturdy soldier who swept 
away an empire and founded in America an essentially Spanish 
nation." It consists of a marble coffin with glass sides, on top 
of which sleeps a rather languid-looking lion, all of which 
is mounted on a marble pedestal. At either end of the pedestal 
are figures of peculiar significance. At one end justice and grief, 
at the other end faith and mercy. Since in life Pizarro possessed 
none of these virtues, they are at least with him in death. 
Having viewed the tomb and the skeleton of the old conqueror, 
and if your constitution is hardy enough, you may, after proper 
procedure, see jars in which has been pickled in alcohol the 
remains of those portions of his anatomy which made him the 
bold and daring figure he was. 

Next door is the new archbishop's palace erected in the flush 
of his busy reign by the late dictator, Augusto B. Leguia. De- 
signed in the true ornate Moorish style, with the inevitable 
dark wood portals, it is a handsome structure. If the old man's 
munificence was remembered in the days of his tragedy, It 
seemed to have had no effect on his enemies, for he died the 
horrible death of a common prisoner at the hands of the cholo 
government which overthrew him. 

The churches are equalled in magnificence by the splendor 
of the old palaces of the viceroys and the early nobility. 
There is the home of the famed actress, Micaela Villegas, the 
Sarah Bernhardt of Peru, who in the middle lyoo's was the 
rage of Lima, at least of all the sleek-haired young men, and 
not a few of the old ones. It was a dull day when some dash- 
ing don failed to challenge another to a duel, or to throw 

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New Roads to Riches 

himself into the sea, about her. In many cases the whole course 
of family history was changed and entire dynasties wrecked, all 
because of this remarkable lady. 

But proving that age can sometimes put it over youth in the 
matter of romantic adventure, none of the desperate dons suc- 
ceeded in winning her hand. She finally succumbed to the 
wooing of a lusty old boy of sixty-odd years, Don Manuel de 
Amat y Junient, the same who in more practical, not to say 
martial moments, erected the old fort at Callao and prac- 
tically rebuilt the city of Lima itself. When Don Manuel arrived 
in Lima as viceroy he had already heard of the charms of the 
great actress so he arranged without delay to witness one of her 
performances. Immediately he went down under her spell. 
Dressed in his fluffiest laces and gold braid, his curls trimmed 
and perfumed, he presented himself at her feet with a proposal 
of, shall we say, marriage. She refused him, but apparently did 
not close the door too tightly. Anyway he persisted. He told 
her if she would accept him he would build her the finest 
palace in all the Spanish empire. He even described it. Its 
gardens would rival the gardens of Versailles. He would turn 
back the waters of the lazy Rimac River and make them flow 
through these gardens, so that fountains might play in front 
of her windows. Its walls should be covered with silver and 
gold. By this time she was on the verge of giving in, but, when 
the fountain of eloquence stopped flowing for a moment, she 
had a practical, if feminine, second thought. If he would build 
the palace first and she liked it, all might be well. 

Don Manuel, having already made plans for a building 
campaign, rushed away and assembled architects, artisans and 
artists and ordered them to draw up specifications and order 
materials from the ends of the empire. The result was that in 
record time the dream palace was complete, with gardens, 
near-by parks and the Paseo de Aguas, on which the aristocracy 
of Lima for hundreds of years afterward were wont to prome- 

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Peru 

nade, and Don Manuel became the proud husband in fact, if 
not in theoryof the dream girl of Lima. Anyway, his behavior 
created one of the juiciest social scandals ever to occur in 
Peruvian high circles and yet today there are those who try to 
whitewash the old boy by insisting he was the victim of a de- 
signing woman! 

Curiously enough it was long after this that she was dubbed 
with the expressive nickname by which she is known today- 
La Perricholi. She was a chola, which in Peru as in Ecuador and 
Bolivia means halfbreed, that is, having Indian or dark blood, 
a fact which may have accounted, at least in part, for her be- 
witching beauty and attractiveness. As time passed and his 
arteries began to harden, the old man grew jealous and sus- 
picious and often showered her with abusive appellations, his 
favorite being a combination of chola and La Perra, the word 
denoting the female of the canine species. But apparently Don 
Manuel, although an exalted representative of the Spanish 
king, like the Pizarros sprang from rather humble beginnings. 
In any case he did not pronounce his Spanish very well, so that 
instead of referring to his love as La Perra Chola, he barked 
La Perricholi. 

However, in the flush of early love revelry reigned in the 
new palace. Musicians came from Paris and Madrid to amuse 
the happy couple and their guests. The finest wines and cham- 
pagnes were imported to quench the thirst of the aristocracy. 
Not even Cleopatra entertained more lavishly, if we are to be- 
lieve the records and the tourist booklets. "The fountains 
played in the gardens and the fragrance of the flowers flowed 
through the house," runs one poetic description. 

"Until one day," wrote the late Harry N. Foster, "La 
Perricholi was driving in her carriage through the streets of 
Lima. She came upon a religious procession and was suddenly 
stricken with contrition, with the futility of fame, riches and 
revelry. Then and there she got out of the carriage, directed 

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New Roads to Riches 

the driver to return home, joined the procession and went 
humbly into the church." And incidentally out of Don Manuel's 
life forever. 

There are other and varying versions of this last chapter in 
the romance of the celebrated actress and the old viceroy, but 
most of them spoil the story. So why dwell upon them? In any 
case, its splendor dimmed, its walls dingy and crummy, its tile 
floors worn, its gardens neglected, the palace of La Perricholi, 
which respected historians insist was the private residence of 
the viceroy to which the lady came by invitation but in which 
she did not reside, stands majestically in one neglected district 
of Lima the temporary headquarters for a company of in- 
fantrymen. The Paseo de Aguas has just been restored to its 
former position by extensive improvements. 

The University of San Marcos, founded in 1551 by Fray 
Tomas de San Martin is not only the oldest university in South 
America, but the oldest in all the Americas. Mexicans like to 
insist that the old university of Mexico City came first, but 
there seems little doubt that San Marcos has maintained a much 
more continuous activity these three hundred and eighty-eight 
years. In any case, it was turning out graduates in laws and the 
arts and other cultural subjects long before the College of Wil- 
liam and Mary in Virginia was conceived or John Harvard 
had been born. 

Its charter was granted by Charles the fifth and the uni- 
versity was to have begun its classes in 1550, but, due to some 
delay, perhaps a little manana, its doors did not swing open 
until the following year. Its beginnings were in the old Monas- 
tery of Santo Domingo. During the next two hundred years 
it occupied other buildings, moving from place to place as its 
student body grew. And, although today its faculties of medi- 
cine, engineering and other practical subjects are scattered 
throughout the city, many of them splendidly and modernly 
housed, the departments of arts and law, its museum and his- 

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Peru 

toric-chapel, the burial place of Peru's immortal dead, occupy 
the simple two-story Spanish colonial buildings on the Plaza 
Universitario. Its dignified exterior, its numerous Ratios filled 
with palms and shrubbery, its great library and various lecture 
halls, make it one of the most inspiring structures in the city. 

From its stately Hall of Sessions, the meeting place of the 
Board of Regents, with its giant mahogany table and high-back 
chairs, each containing a gold embossed coat-of-arms of the 
institution, the walls covered with the life-size paintings of its 
former presidents, I recently presented an international broad- 
cast, the first such broadcast ever to go out to the world. Both 
Peruvian and American educators participated, including Doctor 
Alfredo Solf y Muro, the present rector of San Marcos and 
host, the Reverend Father John F. O'Hara, President of the 
University of Notre Dame, Father Jorge Dintilhac, rector of 
the Catholic University of Peru, which in prestige and historic 
service shares honors with San Marcos, Doctor Charles G. Fen- 
wick, Professor of International Law at Bryn Mawr, and others. 
The program went off to perfection, except that Doctor Solf y 
Muro, the first speaker, arrived five minutes after the broadcast 
went on and the specially arranged glee club, which was to 
open and close the broadcast, did not arrive at all. I noticed 
among the symbolic gold and silver ornaments, which had been 
brought out for the occasion, a large silver bell. At the last 
moment, having no music, in desperation I seized the bell, 
rang it and in the manner of a town crier began my announce- 
ment by saying, "With the ringing of the historic bell which 
called students to their first classes in the year 1551, we bring 
you a special broadcast from the palatial Hall of Sessions of the 
oldest university in the New World." 

I had not the slightest suspicion that such was really the case. 
Happily, however, it was not only the very same bell, but one 
which had been a gift to the university from the Spanish 
king himself and bore the date, 1550. One of Doctor Solf y 

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New Roads to Riches 

Muro's assistants, a recent graduate of Harvard and with an 
appreciation of Yankee radio novelty, thought it was an inspired 
act that, in my frantic effort to save the day, I had caused "the 
silvery tones of one of the most treasured objects of all New 
World institutions of learning to be heard in Boston, Dallas, 
Denver and San Diego as well as in Lima." No less a novelty, 
I thought, than broadcasting the booming of Big Ben in Lon- 
don, whose tones are not nearly as musical as those of the San 
Marcos bell. 

On every hand there is history, history that may be easily 
passed up because in Lima, as in no other city of the Americas, 
history has not been pushed aside by the new and modern. 
The two get along without ever clashing. The early colonial 
houses that still survive on the historic Plaza San Martin, the 
new movie theatres, the two great business blocks that face 
each other across it, the aristocratic Union Club, the Cerro de 
Pasco Copper Company's office building, seem to have enough 
suggestions of Spanish architecture to give at least the im- 
pression of conformity* From the outside the huge new and 
in many ways palatial Hotel Bolivar, the gathering, as well as 
the starting place of all foreigners visiting the city, is not out 
of harmony with its neighbors, at least insofar as the exterior 
is concerned. 

I am compelled to observe that if it were possible, especially 
in the long foggy months of the year, to view the Bolivar only 
from the outside, it might prove much less taxing on the dis- 
position of its patrons. What with its labyrinthian and draughty 
hallways, lobbies and public rooms, its enormous suites, and 
baths with cold water, no soap and a single towel as big as a 
counterpane but never so softits imitation Swiss manage- 
ment, a French cuisine with a cholo tinge, the Bolivar all but 
prevents Lima from qualifying as a great metropolitan city. If 
it were not for the chief-porter-head-clerk, who speaks all 
languages, knows and remembers all things and never seems 

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Peru 

to sleep or leave the registration desk, along with the potent 
Pisco sours served at the bar, I have no doubt there are times 
when guests would indulge in no little mayhem. 

Without any intention of assuming permanently the role of 
tourist guide, but with no desire to linger in the Bolivar, I sug- 
gest that you turn to the left as you leave the front door of 
the Bolivar and proceed up the narrow Calle Union, the chief 
shopping street of the city. Along the way you will continue to 
find history and modernism dwelling quietly side by side. In 
the first block there are women's ready-to-wear stores filled 
with London and Fifth Avenue styles, radio and even tele- 
vision emporiums, newsstands carrying Collier**) The Cosmo- 
politan and The London Times > Eastman Kodak supply stores, 
Singer Sewing Machine stores and candy shops, all with attrac- 
tive windows. Across the street flutter banners advertising 
Goodyear and Goodrich tires. Except for the Indian features 
of so many of the people that crowd the narrow sidewalks, it 
might be any downtown street in Boston. That is, until you 
look up at the old Moorish balconies of blackened mahogany 
and cedar. 

The second block is similar to the first with the same kind 
of shops, but midway on the left-hand side is a great grilled 
doorway with a red carpet leading back through a long hall- 
way and out into a patio where brilliantly liveried servants are 
darting about. This is the most exclusive of the military clubs. 
On the right-hand corner, flush with the sidewalk, is the 
carved and crumbling fagade of the Church of La Merced, 
which also boasts a carved silver altar and a Virgin, whose crown 
of solid gold is decorated with precious stones. 

A block to the right is the National City Bank of New York 
and a block farther on the headquarters of W. R. Grace & Com- 
pany. Across the street is the home of one of the oldest news- 
papers in South America, El Comercio, The New York Herald 
Tribune of Peru. In the same neighborhood are other Anglo- 

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New Roads to Riches 

Saxon banks, stores and distributing houses The Royal Bank 
of Canada, Duncan, Fox and Co., and so on. However, continue 
along the Calle Union from the Church of La Merced and you 
soon come to the Plaza de Armas, with the cathedral and the 
Bishop's residence. But the old adobe palace of Pizarro, which 
housed among his successors, forty-one viceroys, including the 
oratorical Father de la Gasca, and the romantic Don Manuel, 
scores of presidents, dictators, generals and others for four 
hundred years, has been replaced by an enormous new palace 
christened only in November, 1938. In spite of its glaring 
whiteness and carved ornateness, its great iron fence in the 
Versailles manner, and the fact that all the trees and tall sleepy 
palms that once shaded the plaza have been removed, it might 
have been there always. 

Cross the plaza diagonally and take the Calle Junin four 
blocks to the Parque de la Inquisicion. In the center of the 
Parque is the famed bronze equestrian statue of Simon Bolivar, 
connected with which there is a tragic story. Upon reading the 
criticisms the morning following its dedication the artist who 
designed and sculptured it committed suicide. The statue it 
seemed was perfect in every detail, not only to the right number 
of buttons on the general's coat, but to the minute symbols upon 
them. Nothing had been overlooked except for one small detail. 
One critic thought it would be a little difficult for the general 
to stay on a fiery steed or in a saddle that had no belly band. 

On the right of the plaza, and jammed in between other old 
buildings, is a simple columned portico. If you enter and follow 
winding narrow corridors, you will come to a series of offices, 
and some one will show you a large rectangular-shaped room 
with few windows, and two rows of desks facing each other on 
either side of the aisle, with a dais at one end. Nothing about 
the place seems unusual until you look up at one of the most 
gorgeously carved mahogany ceilings in all the world. You 
will then be told that this was the Hall of the Inquisition, that 

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Peru 

here men called heretics, because they did not happen to believe 
or were suspected or accused of not believing like other people, 
were condemned to die the most horrible deaths in all the 
annals of suffering. In the doors are the very same peepholes 
through which accusers could look upon without being seen by 
their victims. Within the surrounding rooms are cells, cellars 
and dungeons in which the sentences were meted out. 

It seems a bit ironical that until recently this hall served as 
the meetingplace of the Peruvian Senate, when there has been 
a senate in Peru. At the time of my last visit the ballot boxes 
of the latest general elections, which were duly annulled, were 
neatly stacked up at one end of the room, in keeping, it may 
be said, with the traditions of the place. 

Any new senate that may be elected and assembled in the 
future, however, will not sit in an inquisitorial atmosphere. 
The imposing Legislative Building at the upper end of the 
Parque with its marble entrance hall, like the Capitol in Wash- 
ington, contains both a Congressional and Senate Chamber, 
and all the committee rooms and offices required. Somewhat 
unkempt since the days of Leguia, it was completely overhauled, 
refurbished and revarnished for the Pan-American Congress 
last December, and is now in good condition. Even in spite 
of its Yankee-State-Capitol exterior, the great grilled gate 
and the massive carved doors at the entrance, all in the Latin 
manner, serve to keep it within the Lima architectural pale. 

From the Parque de la Inquisicion, go west two blocks and 
return to the Calle Union, by way of the balconied but shop- 
lined Calle Ucayali, named for one of those three great rivers 
of the country. Walk slowly, otherwise you may pass up some 
of the most interesting of the historical treasures. On this street 
is the national library with its 60,000 rare volumes and musty 
manuscripts. It was not only the first Peruvian library, but is 
one of the oldest libraries in all the continent. It was dedicated 
by General Jose de San Martin, who first drove the agents of 

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New Roads to Riches 

the Spanish king out of Lima. Citizens take pride in the fact 
that on August 8, 1821, San Martin stood on the steps of this 
ancient institution and declared that "Ignorance was the Spanish 
government's pillar of strength in America, and therefore it 
avoided any activity that might further the cause of education." 

Then there is the Torre Tagle mansion fronted by the most 
elaborately carved balconies of vice-regal times. Built by a 
Spanish merchant by the name of Jose Bernardo de Tagle, it 
is today the home of the nation's foreign ministry and is alone 
worth a trip to Lima. Senor de Tagle was making a trip with 
his ships to the Indies. On the way he captured a Dutch pirate 
ship, loaded with loot which he divided with the King to the 
extent of a million pieces of eight. His grateful Majesty in 
turn presented the merchant with the title of Marquis, and later 
made him Treasurer of the colony. Having decided to settle 
down permanently in Lima, the Marquis started his mansion in 
1715. All the materials had to be imported, the wood for the 
panelling and balconies from Central America, the stones for 
the great arch doorway from Panama, and part of the priceless 
floor tiles from Seville. The other tiles were made by a man 
who had been condemned to be hanged but whom the Marquis 
succeeded in having pardoned "because no other person in 
Peru could make tiles." 

I saw the Torre Tagle palace last time in December, 1938, 
and at its best, on the occasion of the grand ball in honor of 
all the visiting diplomats the night before the opening of the 
Eighth International Conference of American States. Two 
thousand people jammed its great patio, ministers of foreign 
affairs, ambassadors, military officials and other dignitaries in 
glittering uniforms and gold braid, with medals and decorations 
hanging in clusters and festoons, ladies in colorful gowns and 
jewels, and the President of the republic surrounded by dozens 
of aides and flunkies. Full-blooded Indian soldiers, dressed in 
the picturesque uniforms of vice-regal days, stood stiff and 

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Peru 

motionless at the entrance, on the stairways and along the 
balconies, their faces perfect replicas of the ancient hmcos in 
the Larco museum at Chiclin. 

It took seventeen years to build this great house, at a cost 
which the Marquis himself did not wish to know. He kept 
accounts of the expenses up to a million pieces of eight and 
then tore them up saying, "Why should I report to myself?" 
His Marquesa was a very contrite lady, full of charity. When 
she was about to give birth to a child her physician prescribed a 
soup diet. So thereafter she made it a practice to supply soup 
to all the pregnant women in the neighborhood. 

The fourth Marquis of Torre Tagle was the first to raise 
the cry for Peru's independence and the first to act as a 
president of Peru. The present head of the family, Don Jose 
Ortiz de Zevallos y Vidaurre, is the Peruvian minister to 
Sweden, while the friendly and jovial Emilio Ortiz de Zevallos 
y Vidaurre, the next in line, a graduate of Cornell University, 
is the Chief of Protocol, whose office is the first room to the 
right of the main stairway on the second floor, in which his 
father and grandfather took leave of Lima and this life. Further 
along the Ucayali you will not fail to notice the great columned 
Banco Italiano, the largest private banking institution in Peru 
with branches all the way from Piura to Arequipa. 

And then before returning to the Bolivar, the country club 
in San Isidro, or wherever you happen to be in residence, stop 
at the Maury, the old hotel whose block of bars, restaurants 
and dining-rooms have served the nation's merchants, bankers, 
professionals, politicians, men about town, clerks, bookkeepers, 
and transients since time immemorial, and still do. It might be 
called "the house of mirrors," for every wall has on it two 
or three heroic old mirrors like those that used to adorn the 
walls of old European houses, hotels and public places. What- 
ever there is in the way of food in all Peru, the Maury will 
have it, and serve it in quantities sufficient to produce an em- 

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New Roads to Riches 

barrassing corpulence overnight. Eat little or much according to 
your likes, but don't fail to begin with a Cocktail de Fresas (or 
three or four), which, being interpreted, means strawberry 
cocktail. It is made of one part Old Tom Gin, for some reason 
the Gordon's Gin of Peru, two parts crushed fresh strawberry 
juice, not too carefully strained, poco syrup, and shaken into a 
foamy pink. 

I repeat that in spite of its checkered political career, and 
the diversity of its rulers, as well as its tremendous growth and 
expansion in recent years, the old Spanish atmosphere of Lima 
has been maintained to a greater extent than in any other 
Spanish-American city. It is among the cleanest and, thanks 
to Doctor John D. Long, the experts of the Pan-American 
Sanitary Bureau, and the wholehearted co-operation of the local 
government, one of the most healthful of all South American 
capitals. Its water supply flows down in pipes from the moun- 
tains twenty-five miles away. The local Italian company which 
furnishes the water also supplies the power and light, and if 
there is a better lighted city between Canada and Cape Horn 
J have yet to see it. 

Look far enough and there are slums of course, but far less 
obnoxious than in some of the newer cities of the continent. 
And it is unbelievably cosmopolitan. Not far from the Plaza de 
Armas is an enormous and typical Chinatown, with innumerable 
restaurants, laundries and opium dens. At one end of the 
Avenida Francisco Pizarro, there is also a Harlem. Although 
you seldom see an African in the downtown business section, or 
anywhere in the outlying districts, there are several thousand 
descendants of early African slaves. The Japanese are new- 
comers, and perhaps 15,000 of them have built their own 
subdivision with a school and spacious playgrounds. The Italian 
colony is large and important, but unusually assimilated. The 
Germans, with the exception of the younger set of steamship 

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Peru 

agents and representatives of the fatherland trading companies, 
are not nearly so swastikaized as in one or two other countries. 
But some of the Yankees, I fear, and not a few British stand 
out like sore thumbs. 

Not only the flower but the great majority of the old Spanish 
element, who are only about fifteen to eighteen per cent of the 
entire Peruvian population, make their homes in Lima. They 
are the proudest, yet with few exceptions, about the most 
modest, unaffected people on the continent. Many of them still 
occupy their old mansions in the heart of historic Lima, but like 
the old families of Caracas, Venezuela, the majority are mov- 
ing out into the suburbs and subdivisions. 

On the five-mile-long Avenida Arequipa, first of the mod- 
ern boulevards to be inaugurated, are many mansions set in 
enormous gardens. One of the largest and most imposing is 
the home of Seiior Eulogio E. Fernandini, fabulously wealthy 
mine-owner who, Edison-like, loves to ride in a car of ancient 
vintage, sit in the gallery at the theatre, wear last year's suit, 
shoes and hat and appear thrifty. 

It is said that years ago Senor Fernandini deposited several 
million dollars in cold cash in a New York bank and has not 
touched it since. Back in the boom days of the late twenties a 
vice-president travelled all the way to Lima to try to argue 
the old man into letting the bank invest this money for him. 
After about two weeks he left Lima with the word "No" ring- 
ing in his ears and a pretty definite idea in his mind that the 
old gentleman was not only a confirmed miser, but a little 
touched. To a bank vice-president in those days it could not be 
possible for a man in his right mind to have millions of dollars 
in cash and not want to speculate. 

There are more grassy parks and plazas and tree-lined streets 
in Lima than all the other west-coast cities combined. This is 
remarkable when you consider that every tree, shrub, flower 

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New Roads to Riches 

and hill of grass is watered by irrigation and that there are 
tiny canals and conduits leading to or crisscrossing every street, 
park, lawn, garden and playground and all the fields surround- 
ing the city and the valley all so ingeniously constructed that 
the casual observer never notices them. 

The Parque Exposicion occupies acres in the center of the 
city. In it stand the Italian art gallery presented by Lima's 
Italian citizens, and also the City Hall and scores of statues and 
fountains. Near by is the flower-lined Paseo Colon, not to be 
missed after the movies on Sundays and Thursdays at eight 
o'clock in the evening, when the town turns out to promenade. 
The broad Avenida Grau intersects the park and the paseo and 
practically cuts Lima in half. And then there is the Parque de 
la Reserva where the late Leguia allowed native architects, 
sculptors and landscape gardeners to revel in their art. 

Five years ago miles of open fields and farms separated 
Lima from the sea south of Callao, but practically all of them 
have disappeared. A network of concrete boulevards and streets 
lined with new homes now occupy them, and golf courses, polo 
fields and a great new racecourse patterned after the one in 
Paris, have just been inaugurated j all the result of the most 
ambitious city planning on the continent. 

North and east of the city are textile and woolen mills, 
breweries, shoe factories and other industrial plants, while on 
the south side of the city in the La Victoria district is Lima's 
newest innovation, the brand-new housing district for work- 
men. Several of these modern projects are already completed, 
while others are in process of completion. Each group of houses 
surrounds a central garden and recreational field, with a huge 
swimming pool, school, theatre and church. For each there is a 
model restaurant where the most carefully prepared food may 
be purchased for a song, at least the minutest part of a sol. 

Everywhere there is growth and expansion, conceived, 

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Peru 

planned and carried out with remarkable intelligence. And 
whether palaces, public buildings, private homes, play areas, 
or laboring men's houses, all is in reasonable keeping with what 
has gone before. Already a city of 750,000, Lima is not only 
a world metropolis, but a fit capital for a country more than 
500,000 square miles in area and with a population of 6,500,000 
people. 



[297] 



Ill 

From the Sea to the Jungle 



'N OUR way to the Country Club Pepe Matallana and I 
had stopped for a traffic light in the Avenida Grau. A huge 
truck with a cargo that resembled a miniature fruit and vege- 
table market drew alongside. Among other things I noticed 
green cabbages, carrots, Spanish melons, oranges, alligator pears 
and bananas. 

"That truck," said Pepe, "has come all the way across the 
Andes from the Chanchamayo today." 

"Why not from Venezuela or Mexico since yesterday morn- 
ing? "I replied. 

"So you are skeptical?" 

"A bit," I said. 

"Where're you from?" he called to the driver. 

"La Chanchamayo y Tarma, Seiior," was the response. 

"And when did you leave?" 

"At five o'clock this morning," was the reply. 

For days Pepe had been telling me that if I really wished 
to know something about Peru I ought to make an automobile 
trip from Lima to the Chanchamayo country. Such a trip he 
had argued would convince me that, contrary to the belief of 
most foreigners, his country's material potentialities did not lie 
in the dusty coastal reigion alone, but that beyond the snowy cor- 



Peru 

dillera was an empire whose riches were just now beginning 
to flow out to the world. 

I was, of course, familiar with the vast Andean copper- and 
silver-mining activities at Oroya and Cerro de Pasco, and the 
remarkable railroad which had been built up the mountains 
to them. But it was hard to believe that fresh fruits and vege- 
tables could be gathered in the early morning and transported 
by truck from the edge of the Amazonian valley and delivered 
in Lima before nightfall. To be convinced I would have to 
go and see. 

Two days later we were on our way with Pepe as guide and 
in his car, on a leisurely excursion to the land beyond the 
mountains. We spent the first night at Chosica, twenty-four 
miles from Lima, where the valley begins to close in on the 
Rimac, which even this far down looks more like a brook than 
a river, and where, along its banks and clinging to the hillsides, 
people of climatic discernment flee on week ends from the 
capital's cold and clammy fog. If I were a Peruvian, or a for- 
eigner compelled for business, professional or even plain eco- 
nomic reasons to keep an eye on affairs in the city, I would 
move out to Chosica, build a house, let geraniums and bougain- 
villea climb over it, enjoy the sun by day, the crystal clear 
sky by night and keep my lungs full of glorious dry air at all 
times. 

We drove away from Mrs. Beach's delightful little inn at 
eight o'clock and were soon climbing up the ever narrowing 
valley. As we proceeded, the succession of barren cliffs, each 
leaning a little farther forward than the preceding one, sug- 
gested a long line of soldiers each trying to see the head of 
the column. An hour after we started climbing the mountains 
had encroached upon the road so closely that it seemed scarcely 
a hundred yards from wall to wall, and the sunshine reached 
the floor of the valley only at noontime. Wherever there is 
water there is cultivation and the narrow, carefully cultivated 

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New Roads to Riches 

strip of green on the banks of the river averaged from a few 
feet to only a few yards wide. Forty-three miles from Lima, 
5412 feet up, we passed under the famous Verrugas railroad 
bridge swinging between two cliffs 252 feet overhead, a bridge 
which got its name from one of the strangest and one of the 
deadliest diseases in history. Hundreds of workmen died of the 
ailment when the railroad was under construction. Some say 
the infection is due to the bite of an infinitesimal bug that 
seems to thrive only in about the altitude of the bridge. Others 
say the germ is in the water. No one seems to know, but those 
who contract it break out in sores that at first resemble the corns 
that most of us get on our feet from time to time. The sores 
grow steadily larger, and more inflamed, until a horrible death 
results. 

The Verrugas scourge was but one of the difficulties en- 
countered by the builder of the railroad, Henry Meiggs, an- 
other one of the select company of railway geniuses who some 
forty and fifty years ago strung iron rails from the shores 
of the Pacific up into the mountains along western South 
America. Meiggs arrived in Lima in 1869 and the following 
year began work on what was to be the highest standard gauge 
railway in the world. Old-timers, mostly Britons and Yankees, 
in Peru shook their heads, said the man was a foolish dreamer, 
or perhaps a little wild. "How," they asked, "could he build 
a railroad up the face of mountains so steep even a llama could 
hardly cling to them." To which he replied, "We'll suspend it 
by balloons if we can't get it up there any other way." Ten 
years passed and trains were already running from the edge of 
the Pacific out across the level delta lands around Lima and 
well up into the highest foothills. 

A long and bloody war with Chile in 1879 caused the sus- 
pension of all constructive activities in the country for a time. 
But eventually work was resumed. Twenty years slipped by 
during which time Meiggs had passed on. By that time, due 

[3] 



Peru 

to his careful planning and the momentum he had given the 
project the road had climbed in miles from Callao up into 
the sky, along narrow gorges, around the faces of mile-high 
cliffs, through scores of tunnels to the very roof of the world. 

Although conceived, planned and built by an American, un- 
like the Guayaquil and Quito line, this remarkable road is now 
owned by the British, whose general manager Jeffrey Morkill 
succeeds in making it one of the best and most efficiently oper- 
ated anywhere along the coast. For forty-five years iron horses 
pulled supplies up the tortuous steeps and returned with for- 
tunes in copper and other concentrates to be shipped out to the 
world. Meantime, isolated farmers and settlers on the eastern 
side of the mountains transported their coffee, sugar and rum 
from the Tarma and the Chanchamayo valleys by llama and 
mule trains to Oroya for shipment by rail down to the coast. 

Now comes the remarkable highway making possible truck, 
bus and regular auto travel all the way from the sea to the 
jungle, as well as furnishing the stiffest of competition to the 
railroad. Two hours from Chosica by this new method of 
Andean travel Pepe and I were 8999 feet up. By eleven o'clock 
we had reached the io,ooofoot point, where the railroad tracks 
and the highway begin a continual wrestling match, twisting 
and turning over and under one another for miles without get- 
ting anywhere. The railroad zigzags and seesaws back and 
forth, backward for a hundred yards, then forward another 
hundred, and so on in order to progress up the almost per- 
pendicular walls, while the highway literally spirals upward. 
Meantime the air becomes lighter, not to say the head. 

Then the bridge at Quita, which means "take off hat," a 
fortunate reminder, since at this point a terrific wind always 
blows down the valley. By now agriculture has deserted the 
floor and taken to the walls of the canyon. Diminutive terraces, 
like endless stair-steps, rise sheer from the river bed to the 
tips of the mountains, all meticulously irrigated in the same 



New Roads to Riches 

manner and by the same methods as those employed by the 
ancients a thousand years ago. Every snowflake or raindrop is 
caught as it hits the crest of the mountain and is conveyed 
downward through ditches and tiny canals to every blade of 
grass and stalk of corn; all bearing eloquent testimony to the 
resourcefulness and skill of the old Incas. 

Every few miles the mountains completely close in and the 
road squeezes through another bottleneck or tunnel and out 
into another narrow valley, every inch of whose walls are cul- 
tivated, and each more picturesque than the other. At fifty-one 
miles we came to the village of Matucana. Scores of natives 
were gathered at the railroad station for the arrival of the train. 
In striking contrast to the cholos farther down, these Serranos, 
or mountain people, all smiled and seemed friendly. But then 
this is a land of sunshine and bracing air, where each native 
has his tiny terraced farm, just as he did ages ago. His lot 
may not be far different from that which he has known ever 
since the Spanish conquest, but up here the yoke of the rulers 
rests less heavily upon his neck than it does upon those down| 
in the lower valleys. 

A little farther on and again the road squeezed through a 
perpendicular gorge to Tambo Viso, where one farmer had 
just planted corn on the steep walls as if by shooting the grains 
into the ground. At sixty-three miles we stopped at San Mateo 
to supply ourselves with several bottles of the famous Peruvian 
mineral water of the same name, only to find the place much 
excited over a group of gypsies. Dressed exactly as they are 
the world over, their immemorial costumes vied in gayety and 
color with the costumes of the Andean natives. 

Appropriately supplied with plenty of Agua San Mateo , we 
soon reached the "Bridge of Little Hell/' which in Peruvian 
is the Infiernillo Bridge, where the highway crosses a bottom- 
less gorge in successive stages three different times. Here the 
railroad does no switchbacks, or climbing. A hundred feet up 



Peru 

it rushes out of a tunnel on one side, darts across a swinging 
trestle and disappears into another tunnel on the opposite side. 
After this the highway, the railroad, the river and the ancient 
Inca llama trail all compete with one another for room in the 
valley. 

At Casapalca, the seventy-seven-mile point, 11,600 feet up, 
there is a small copper mine and refinery of the Cerro de Pasco 
Company. From here snowy Mt. Ticlio rears its head above 
all the bleak crags on one side of the valley and the white- 
crowned Mt. Meiggs, 17,000 feet high, and named for the 
intrepid railroad builder, peers over the heights from another 
direction. By this time the car was jolting us terribly and we 
stopped to see about the tires. Naturally the air pressure with- 
out had become so much less than within that they were be- 
ginning to take the bumps like steel instead of rubber tires. 
After we let some of the air out of the inner tubes riding 
seemed more comfortable. But there was nothing to do about 
our own outer tubes. The skin on our bodies seemed to become 
tauter by the minute. 

The backbone of the hemisphere, the crest of the western 
Cordillera, is at Ticlio, eighty-three miles from Lima, where 
the railroad reaches 15,800 feet while the highway rises to 
nearly 16,000 feet. Without considering the effects the altitude 
might have on two lowlanders, we thought it would be a novelty 
to get out and pitch snowballs, "off the top of America's head," 
as Pepe put it. And we actually did it 5 that is, we threw approxi- 
mately two handfuls of snow each, only to discover it was not 
such a bright idea. My heart pounded like a sledge-hammer 
and there weren't enough breathing exits in my body to accom- 
modate all the air that insisted upon getting out. Pepe all but 
passed out and insisted he was threatened with soroche, the 
terrible mountain sickness. Latins or natives seem much more 
susceptible to the malady than Anglo-Saxon foreigners. But 
we both sat down on the running board of the car very quietly for 



New Roads to Riches 

half an hour before we felt equal to getting in and driving 
away. 

It was already afternoon and the icy winds began to blow 
and prepare for the regular evening blizzard, when more snow 
would pile up on the brows of Meiggs and Ticlio. It was diffi- 
cult to believe we were in the tropics, much nearer the Equator 
than Cuba, but where on June 8 it was perfectly natural to 
expect sleet, snow and a howling blizzard. But it was a thrilling 
scene. The marvels of nature were spectacular and awe-inspir- 
ing. The peaks and crags of the mountains suggested pieces of 
gargantuan sculpture left unfinished in the studios of the great 
World Maker. Spread out before us now was a broad valley 
surrounded on all sides by the high mountain walls, and in the 
center an indigo-blue lake and Mt. Meiggs sloping right down 
to the brink, like an aged giant about to bathe his feet in an 
old-time foot-tub. 

After this we began to meet people, not cholos, or mixed 
breeds, but pure bloods. For now we were actually on the great 
plateau, the very homeland of the Incas who among themselves 
speak their ancient Quechua language. They still dress the same 
way, wear the same costumes and follow the same customs as in 
the days of the ancient Empire. The women were literally 
dressed in rainbows, each wearing half a dozen flowing, billowy 
skirts of different colors, a great scarlet or purple woolen 
mmta or shawl with a baby peering out of the manta; and 
every one spinning yarn from alpaca wool. Whether sitting or 
walking their hands are never idle. They may travel a few 
hundred yards or twenty miles, but the spool of yarn will never 
miss a turn. Their lot is that of their sisters' from time im- 
memorial. They bear the babies and the burdens. 

In this plateau between two great central ranges there is 
much life and activity. Pale-green grass manages to grow 
naturally and herds of llamas and alpacas graze peacefully. 
All along the way we passed llama trains or $untas y as the 

[304] 



Peru 

natives call them. As with a flock of sheep, there is always a 
leader with all the other members of the pmta following in 
single file. This head llama usually wears a fancy headdress 
with red tassels and a string of small bells hung from his throat. 
It is also interesting that each -punta not only has its keeper, 
but he is accompanied by his wife or his woman. The old Inca 
rulers, being realistic as well as mystically minded men, re- 
quired a woman for every man travelling the lonely mountains 
with llamas. At first the early Spaniards, to their sorrow, failed 
to appreciate the custom until syphilis developed among the ani- 
mals. But their descendants, who have gradually adopted so 
many other customs of the race, finally saw the wisdom of 
this one. 

These fleet-footed animals are still valuable to the Peruvian 
highlanders. They are still the beasts of burden here in this age- 
old mountain country. Resembling a cross between a camel, 
mountain goat and a reindeer, the llama has the kindest but 
most penetrating eyes I ever saw. One 'pwnta of a hundred or 
more was halted by the roadside. Each carried a load strapped 
upon his back, exactly a hundred pounds, no more, so far as a 
llama is concerned, and no less if the owner can help it. It is 
absolutely true that if one more pound is added, the llama 
refuses to move which proves that llama intelligence is no 
myth. 

In Morococha we met a group of musicians, one of those 
minstrel bands that travel from village to village to play for 
fiestas, weddings and dances. Gay blades they were, dressed 
in special costumes, fancy jackets and the ancient varicolored 
knitted woolen chullos y or peaked caps with earmuffs, a little 
like the helmets worn by modern aviators. For a consideration 
they performed for us on instruments that were even stranger 
than the costumes they wore. The most ancient were the quenas, 
or native flutes, hollow pieces of wood or cane with holes in 
them. There were violins and a primitive species of clarinet, 

[3053 



New Roads to Riches 

borrowed from the white man of course. But the harp was the 
wonder of all. If not ancient, it was certainly original. It seemed 
to be a sort of lyre, set upright on a giant bull fiddle with two 
legs protruding from the body. When being played upon, the 
legs stand on the ground while the neck rests upon the shoulder 
of the performer. From this assortment of instruments they 
conjure music which tends to enliven their fiestas, and to fill 
the stranger with a sense of mystery. Basically the music they 
play is as old as America, the same rhythms they played before 
white men ever saw the continent. 

Also in Morococha we found a small llama $unta carrying 
one of the strangest of cargoes blocks of ice from the million- 
year-old glaciers on Mt. Meiggs for the Yankee and gringo 
foreigners in the mining camps to use in their cocktails and 
highballs. 

We finally reached Oroya late in the afternoon and the 
wind was blowing ancient copper dust all over everything. 
Even so, crowds were still gathered in the main street. It was 
Sunday and market day. Chola women squatted on the curb- 
stones busily gossiping, spinning yarns and selling their prod- 
ucts to whoever insisted upon buying them. No one in an 
Andean market place in Peru will ever ask you to buy any- 
thing. If you look, examine, handle, ask the price and pass on, 
there will be no hard feelings. It is your privilege. The cus- 
tomer is always right. They displayed an amazing variety of 
things: cheap shoes, pottery, woven blankets, sugar cane, vege- 
tables and fruits. They had come from up and down the plateau, 
and the valleys below, some of them from as far as fifty miles 
away. Here and there entertainers were holding forth, mostly 
the carnival type of Italian, Syrian or Chinese impersonators, 
magicians or jugglers. A monkey show seemed to be taking the 
attention of all the men. 

Oroya is the smelter town of the American-owned Cerro de 
Pasco. After oil, mining is the next most important industry, 

[306] 



Peru 

while the Cerro de Pasco is the largest copper company in 
Peru. Along with its large mine at Cerro de Pasco 93 miles 
up the central plateau, it owns several smaller mines. The com- 
pany accounts for most of the entire Peruvian copper exports 
which last year amounted to nearly 45,000,000 soles or $7,- 
875,000. At some of the mines every shovelful of ore contains 
silver, zinc, and sometimes gold. In addition to its multi-mineral 
mines, it is also the leading company engaged in outright silver 
and gold mining. Nor is the mining industry in the Oroya 
vicinity new. The Incas mined gold here centuries ago and after 
the conquest the Spaniards continued doing so. 

The mining interests in Peru, according to income, rank as 
follows: silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, bismuth, and so on. 
Since it leads in the production of so many of these, the Cerro 
de Pasco becomes one of the two or three industrial giants of 
the nation. So again, as in Venezuela and Colombia, the British, 
who share in the oil and railroad enterprises, and the North 
Americans, who control so much of the metal mining industry, 
are the dominant foreign interests in one of the most important 
of the South American nations. 

Oroya is a hub of transportation for the great central plateau. 
It is the terminus of the central railroad from Callao and Lima. 
From here the same company operates seventy-six miles of line 
southward to Huancayo, on the central plateau, from which a 
narrow-gauge line leads on to Huancavelica in the direction 
of Ayacucho and Cuzco. The copper company itself operates 
the line northward ninety-three miles to Cerro de Pasco. 

In its road-building program the government plans even- 
tually to connect up all the important towns and communities 
that lie between the two central mountain ranges, restoring 
something of civilization to the high country in the region 
where the civilization of the Incas flowered, where they built 
their cities and carried on their industries. Cajamarca in the 
north, where Pizarro captured the Inca, the Oroya mining 

[307] 



New Roads to Riches 

country and the Cuzco region are all on the plateau. Pizarro's 
conquest was not made along the coast. He advanced south- 
ward down the mountains from Cajamarca all the way to Cuzco 
before he came down to the coast again. And even from Cuzco 
he had to return north to Oroya and down the Rimac valley. 
It was not preference that caused him to establish Lima on 
its present site but the fact that it was the center of a broad 
plain or delta region which could be easily irrigated, and where 
several pre-Inca cities had been built. 

A highway has been laid down and roughly graded north- 
ward from Oroya to Huanuco, then across the eastern range 
and down into the Tingo Maria country in the valley of the 
Huallaga, which, like the Ucayali, flows northward into the 
Amazon. The Tingo Maria region is similar, although not as 
highly developed as the Chanchamayo. It is already possible 
to drive from Oroya, or Tarma, southward to Huancayo and on 
to Ayacucho, while work is also under way to continue the 
highway southward from Ayacucho to Cuzco and eventually 
to Arequipa, thus completely connecting up all the otherwise 
isolated but important Andean communities. 

Pepe and I, however, were going to the Chanchamayo, and 
so we continued eastward. We began climbing immediately. 
The road upward is a continuation of the main street of Oroya. 
It makes just as many hairpin curves and spirals on its way 
over the eastern range, but the mountains are much less color- 
ful and spectacular than the western range. They suggest the 
neglected ' graveyard of eternity. For hours it was a lonely 
world, until we came to the Altiplano, for the most part a more 
or less flat stretch of country which occasionally drops into un- 
expected bottomless caverns and which the road manages to 
get down into and out of with the greatest difficulty. Now and 
then we would hear llama bells faintly in the distance. Yet 
llamas were nowhere to be seen. Then suddenly they would 
begin popping up on the horizon as if out of the ground. 

[308] 



Peru 

Finally we began to descend, and rather rapidly, down 
the eastern slopes. For an hour we descended so rapidly my 
ears clicked at regular intervals. Pepe assured me his clicked 
every thousand feet with the greatest precision. 

Suddenly we entered a deep valley or gorge. On one side 
were tiny, terraced wheatfields clinging to the precipitous cliffs, 
the first terraced farms on the eastern slopes. On the opposite 
side Indian women watched flocks of sheep graze. At the foot 
of the valley we found grass-thatched chozas, houses of the old 
Inca type, square mud huts, with thatched roofs, and all sur- 
rounded by cactus-covered walls. 

Late in the afternoon we emerged on another mountain 
shelf and looked out upon an inspiring scene. Like a landscape 
artist's model, the Tarma valley stretched out before us* There 
was green to break the brownish monotony. Suddenly I had a 
longing to emulate a Georgia friend of mine who had to spend 
two years in Arizona. He said, "If I ever get back where 
there is grass I shall get down on my all-fours and eat it like 



a cow." 



Tall eucalyptus trees waved their feathery heads above the 
brown and cream-colored houses of the villages. The eucalyptus 
seems to grow taller and slimmer here than anywhere else in 
the world. But then it must constantly compete with the moun- 
tains for a place in the sun. On the hillsides were fields of corn 
and all manner of vegetable gardens beautifully kept, every 
inch of them, of course, irrigated. Old mud walls lined the 
roads and blood-red and pink geraniums climbed over them. 

"This is Peru," said Pepe, with emotion in his voice. "This 
is one of the scenes I have been trying to tell you about." 

Today the Tarma valley does much of the gardening for 
Lima. From Tarma had gone the cabbages, carrots, radishes, 
and melons I saw in the truck in the Avenida Grau a few 
evenings before. Last year 50,000 bags of Tarma carrots crossed 
the mountains to the coast. Here at 10,000 feet spring is per- 

[309] 



New Roads to Riches 

petual and vegetables grow the year round. Four crops of 
alfalfa can be produced in twelve months. Land in the valley 
sells as high as $150 an acre, yet the farmers make money. 

Tarma takes its name from the taruma tree, which is some- 
thing in the nature of mountain ash. It is an old town and 
quaint, with a population almost wholly cholo, or Indian. 
There are not more than a dozen white Spanish families, in- 
cluding one lone Yankee, who is an institution, not only in the 
Tarma valley but all the way down to the Chanchamayo, He 
is Nathaniel Chalmers Whitten, owner and proprietor of a 
wondrous menagerie called a hotel, in which there are clean 
beds, home-made showers, wholesome food and, if you are a 
regular fellow, hours of conversation in the proprietor's cozy 
book-filled den behind the kitchen. 

Having served his engineering apprenticeship in the Mon- 
tana mining country, he migrated to Peru where he became 
engineer for the Cerro de Pasco Company. After a long service 
he retired, at something over sixty, and settled for the rest 
of life in the peaceful valley of eucalyptus trees, geraniums 
and gardens, where in quiet hours he reads history and philos- 
ophy, or indulges in amateur photography. He loves to play 
host to passing travellers, natives or others. In our case his 
hospitality went to the extent of offering himself to drive us 
to the Chanchamayo, an offer which Pepe accepted gladly, and 
for reasons which I was soon to appreciate. 

While the road from Lima to Oroya and on down to Tarma 
reveals astounding feats of engineering, the road from Tarma 
to the jungle presents one with the experience of a lifetime. 
The original old Spanish mule trail from Tarma about twelve 
miles to Palca, later widened to accommodate vehicular traffic, 
was long the only stretch of highway eastward. Thirty-five 
years ago one Senor Capello, an Italian engineer, native of 
Peru, undertook the task of constructing a mule trail from 
Palca on down to San Ramon and La Merced, in the lower 



Peru 

foothills, a task which called for all the road-building instinct 
and ingenuity of his Roman ancestors, as well as those of the 
ancient Incas who, from the standpoint of empire and road- 
building, were the Romans of the Andes. 

The difficulties that confronted Meiggs in constructing his 
railroad were simple compared with those that presented them- 
selves to Capello. For several miles it was necessary to carve 
a succession of descending half-tunnel switchbacks along the 
perpendicular solid rock face of a 3000-foot canyon. In some 
places the walls jut far out over the valley like overhanging 
balconies. Little did he realize that Peruvian engineers would 
come along later and blast out more rock, build stone and 
cement supporting walls, so that an automobile might, if the 
driver is endowed with iron nerves and a capacity for gauging 
space and distance in inches instead of feet and yards, get down 
it without disaster. Much of the road is actually supported and 
braced up with underpinnings of stone masonry typical of the 
old Inca builders, the work having been done by their de- 
scendants who still excel in the art. 

Although originally built for pack trains, the old Italian 
charted his grades well. They have proven perfect for automo- 
biles or even heavily loaded motor trucks. It is still a one-way 
road, however, the traffic going down one day and returning 
the next. Its width leaves little or nothing between the outer 
wheel of a car and eternity below. In some places the clearance 
is actually not more than six inches, and the running board 
always seems out over the edge. As Whitten expressed it, "shift 
your eyeballs too suddenly and the car might go over." 

Frequently trucks plunge over and are lost; even buses have 
slid over, taking their passengers on a hurried trip to the here- 
after. A few weeks before our trip an old padre, who had 
spent his life in the Andes, admitted when he arrived in San 
Ramon that he had said his prayers all the way down. I would 
not have missed it for anything, but I have no wish ever to 



New Roads to Riches 

repeat it. That same day Major Francisco Villanueva, an aviator 
hero and commander of the army air base at San Ramon, told 
me that he never allows himself to be driven over the road 
without first drinking himself numb. 

Once down the face of the cliff, the road clings to narrow 
shelves just above the foamy yellow river. In several places the 
shelf has been chiselled out of the base of the overhanging and 
protruding cliffs resembling canopied theatre boxes. One is 
called El Balconcillo de San Lorenzo, while another bears the 
name of Peru's great naval hero, Miguel Grau. Farther down 
the canyon the road darts back and forth across the river over 
slender suspension bridges patterned after the old Inca bridges, 
some of which swing and sway up and down like a hammock 
as you pass over. Terrific floods sweep down the canyon in the 
rainy season and no wooden or even concrete bridge has ever 
withstood them. At one crossing a dozen such bridges were 
swept away in as many years. 

Even before the road emerges from the canyon it enters 
another world. The dusty, brownish, lifeless Andes are only a 
memory. Here life and color riot together. All manner of 
lianas, vines, hundreds of feet long, swing down the cliffs. As 
one old writer expressed it, "The jungle hangs suspended over 
the road like velvety green portieres in a hallway." Once out, 
it is lined with colorful achote plants, loaded with red berries, 
and the giant oropel tree covered with scarlet blossoms. In one 
place the road was arbored with them. Here the honeysuckle 
plant becomes a tree instead of a vine. But the most glorious 
of all is the cam$ana4ttoc tree, with its bell-shaped flower, six 
inches long, two inches in diameter and in many colors. A 
smaller species, which is called k&ntuta, the flower of the Inca, 
is the national flower of Bolivia. 

"The best way to describe all this," Whitten suggested, "is 
just to copy all the unusual adjectives in Webster's t/#- 
abridged" But I am afraid even these would not adequately 

[3*2] 




Courtesy of Whilten 



Terraced Farms in the Tarma Valley 



Peru 

express the color, grandeur and beauty to be seen during a trip 
up, over and down. 

In this region dwell the Chunchos, another type of Indian. 
The Incas and their predecessors were coastal or highland 
dwellers and highly civilized. Down here the lowlanders or 
jungle Indians are generally of a very low order of civilization 
who live by hunting, fishing and gathering the wild fruits of 
the jungle. Curiously enough the original natives of the moun- 
tains or coastal regions never refer to themselves as Indians. 
To them the word Indian denotes a member of the lower class, 
a semi-civilized inhabitant of Amazonia. Just outside of San 
Ramon we met several groups of them wandering aimlessly 
along the road as if there were no place in particular to go, 
and no reason to go if there were. 

"Now," said Whitten, "you can meet the denizens of the 
jungle without having to go exploring for them. And they are 
just as primitive as those described by the majority of the brave 
and intrepid explorers, too. Make no mistake about that. Most 
of these fellows stop at my place on the way out of the jungle 
and I have to listen to their tall tales." 

The Chunchos, except those who work on some of the plan- 
tations and have absorbed a little, very little, veneer are way 
down in the scale of civilization. They may be descendants of 
the Red Man, but their skin is almost black. They wear long 
and exceedingly dingy smocks made after the fashion of a 
Jesuit's cassock. In fact, the Jesuit missionaries introduced them 
to this most unbecoming dress. The moral-conscious padres 
could not bear to see the sleek bodies of the innocent-minded 
creatures glistening in the tropical sunshine. Besides robbing 
them of any grace or charm, it makes it almost impossible to 
distinguish between male and female. The only way to tell 
them apart is to examine the cut of the neck of the smock, 
which is sloping for the men and square for the women. 

We met several families of them in the valley. The men, 



New Roads to Riches 

like their ancestors for thousands of years, were equipped with 
bows that shoot the longest, slimmest arrows I ever saw even in 
a museum, and a machete^ or long bush-knife, an instrument 
borrowed from the lower rung of the white man's civilization. 
The women carried a few pots and long slim gourds, or cala- 
bashes, filled with mas&to, or liquid lightning, made of the 
juice of the potatolike root of the yuca plant. The faces of 
all were streaked with what any one whose knowledge of jungle 
Indians had been gathered from story-books would think was 
war paint but which turned out to be red juice of achote seeds 
put on not for ornamental purposes, but to drive away insects. 
All had perfectly black teeth stained by the bark of the 
chamairo tree, which they chew as a preventive of fevers, as 
well as fatigue. 

The country around San Ramon and La Merced consists 
of rolling hills, crowded with haciendas, which grow oranges, 
bananas, alligator pears, coffee and sugar. We visited Chal- 
huapuquio, one of the largest and oldest of the coffee haciendas 
where Seiior Jose Signori, a friend of Whitten's, welcomed us 
with large glasses of fresh orange juice flavored with grated 
cinnamon. This was almost as tasty as the Chilcano cocktails 
served us at Demarini's gasoline store and bar when we reached 
La Merced. Made of Pisco rum, orange juice, bitters and ginger 
ale, three of them give the novice a feeling of having suddenly 
met head on with a moving truck. 

At the Demarini's bar we met the fabled Deluduchi (whose 
name is spelled differently by every one of his acquaintances 
but this way by himself), the man who handles the Peruvian 
mail and any terrestrial travellers who wish to avoid as many 
difficulties as possible on the trip between Lima and the 
Amazonian city of Iquitos. A soft-voiced giant of a man, he 
succeeded his father who before him held the Lima-Iquitos 
overland mail contract. From La Merced it is a seven- to ten- 
day mule trip to Puerto Yessup on the Pichis River, from where 



Peru 

it is one day by canoe with good paddling to Puerto Bermudez. 
Gradually rising in scale of transportation, a motor launch 
makes the remainder of the trip on down to Masisea on the 
river of the same name, then down the Ucayali to Iquitos. It 
usually takes about sixteen to eighteen days for mail to reach 
Iquitos from Lima by this route. By air from San Ramon it is 
only a six-hours' flight. Anyway, if you wish to travel from 
La Merced to Iquitos, you will find that Deluduchi is the king 
of the region. 

"The Chanchamayo valley itself," says Whitten, "is one of 
Peru's treasure houses. In one year its plantations have pro- 
duced coffee worth nearly $750,000, and over $500,000 worth 
of fruit. Its hardwood lumber is worth nearly $100,000 a year, 
rice and achote seeds another $io,OOO and 50,000 arobes of 
aguardiente, common rum made out of sugar cane. Incidentally, 
this rum yielded $52,500 in taxes to the government last year. 
Enough excitement for every man, woman and child in the 
coastal cities." 

This alone justifies the herculean task of building a road 
across the Andes. Due to this road making possible speedy truck 
haulage, it has reduced the cost of freight transportation from 
the Chanchamayo to Lima from seven soles to one and one- 
half soles per quintal, or from twelve dollars and a quarter a 
ton to two dollars and sixty-two and a half cents. 

The forests of this vast hinterland containing every known 
hardwood on the continent, as many as 2000 different species, 
according to one authority, constitute potential fortunes. One 
of the most valuable of the hardwoods so far is black walnut 
or nogal negro. 

Farther eastward in the Iquitos area hardwood lumbering 
has long been an important industry. One of the largest hard- 
wood mills in the world, owned by the Astoria Importing and 
Manufacturing Company of New York, and under the man- 
agement of Mr. Jose O'Neill, is located twenty miles from the 

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New Roads to Riches 

Peruvian metropolis on the Amazon. The mill has a capacity 
of 20,000 board feet per day. The products of this mill, which 
specializes in mahogany and cedar, are of course shipped to the 
United States. In 1937 some 2,500,000 square feet of cedar 
were shipped by steamer from Iquitos. 

Before the present era of road-building, and the opening 
up of the Trans-Andean road, very little of any of the hard- 
woods from the Amazonian area could reach the coast of Peru 
except by way of the various rivers to Iquitos, then by boat 
down the Amazon to the Atlantic, around the north coast of 
South America, through the Caribbean Sea and -the Panama 
Canal and down the Pacific coast. Oil prospectors are also 
frantically busy in these wild regions and reports are trickling 
out to the effect that there is black gold along the eastern 
Andean foothills. 

On the return trip to Lima and the sea, I refreshed my 
memory on the unbelievable difficulties the engineers had over- 
come in the building of the central Trans-Andean highway 
and I realized that the material transformation of this age-old 
land of Mochicas and Chimus, of Incas and Spaniards is already 
under way. If automobiles can now cross the Andes at their 
highest point and the fruits of the jungle can be brought to the 
sea in one day, roads through the country are only a matter 
of time and money and given time they produce the money 
with which to pay for themselves. 



IV 

Renaissance in the South 



LAROLD HARRIS and John D. MacGregor, long the David 
and Jonathan of the Pan-American Grace Airways, were making 
one of their customary survey trips to southern Peru to look 
over landing fields and other facilities for the safety and com- 
fort of Yankee bank vice-presidents, Peruvian commercial 
salesmen, lady tourists and Inca Indians now being flown in 
ever-increasing numbers up and down western South America. 
They invited me to go along. Since they were flying in a small 
"staff runabout plane" they didn't promise me all the comforts 
and conveniences of the regular passenger liners, but they could 
promise me new, and perhaps novel, glimpses of the Andes and 
their snowy peaks, the city of Arequipa, a few of the other 
interesting towns and cities, and a chance to inquire into south- 
ern agriculture and industry. Harris, a red-faced, big-shoul- 
dered war ace with a Fuller-Brush mustache would be the pilot. 
Meantime John D., with whom I have shared so many flying 
adventures around the continent, suggested a visit to one of 
Lima's oldest museums* "I want you to see something of the 
past as well as the present of Peruvian aviation," he said. 

At first we looked at the usual dried corpses of ancient In- 
dians, old pottery and huacos enough to fill three museums, 
and even drums, blow-guns and arrows from the primitive 
tribes of the Amazonian regions. Also there were such memen- 



New Roads to Riches 

tos from colonial days as gilded coaches, guns and swords. 
John D. led the way up and down aisle after aisle, chatting 
with the curator in his suave Spanish. Finally we stopped and 
he drew himself up to his loftiest dignity. Then I realized 
what the museum trip was all about. There was the same bat- 
tered old machine in which Jorge Chavez, a brave young flier 
and Peruvian aviation hero, attempted without success the first 
of all flights across the European Alps. "I wanted to show 
you," he said, not unmindful, I am sure, of the critical ears of 
the patriotic curator, "that our Peruvian friends need not feel 
humble in the presence of all the modern flying activities in 
their country. And I thought we would do well to come here 
and pay our respects before we started south tomorrow." 

A tall slender pyramid with figures in flight circling upward 
around it, a symbolic and appropriate statue to Chavez, has 
been erected in the place of honor on "The Field of Mars," one 
of the newest parks and parade grounds of the city. Since 
aviation came to play such an important part in Peruvian trans- 
portation, the statue has become a place of pilgrimage for flyers 
and enthusiasts on the subject, as well as diplomats who wish 
to court favor with the government in order that their nationals 
may be able to increase their sales of aviation equipment in the 
country. There is seldom a week that some visiting group 
does not place a wreath at the foot of the Chavez monument. 
At one time "propagandist firemen" from the land of the 
Blackshirts kept a smooth path beaten to it. 

As usual, on the morning of our departure southward when 
we arrived at Limatambo, Panagra's new airport and flying 
field on the outskirts of Lima, fog and mist shrouded the entire 
countryside. But by the time we had breakfasted on ham and 
eggs and coffee, black and potent enough to buoy us up even 
without the aid of the plane, there was ample ceiling for a 
take-off. With Harris in the pilot's seat and John D. and I 
bringing up the rear, we pierced the fog and were soon high 



Peru 

up above the brown, seared coastal country, which in this section 
is even more dismal than that of the north, except for the 
rolling country immediately south of the city, the broad plains 
around Pisco and lea and the occasional strips of green that 
follow the rivers and streams down to the sea. 

After five hours of bleak and dusty brown with only an 
occasional verdant streak or splotch to relieve the monotony, 
the northern end of the Arequipa valley, resembling a green 
carpet spread out over the floor of the Andes, was a welcome 
sight. To me, it had been a tiring trip. John D. had slept all 
the way. A plane seems to have the same effect upon him as a 
rubber-tired cradle would have on a baby. But much as I have 
flown, I am always alert when in the air. The sky was clear, 
as is always the case when the coastal plain is foggy, and the 
three great peaks that look down upon the southern metropolis 
Chachani, Pichupichu and the now silent and peaceful vol- 
cano, El Misti were bathed in sunshine. El Misti, the grand, 
snowy-haired "old man of the Andes," is one of the tallest 
peaks in Peru, over 19,000 feet high. The city of Arequipa 
nestles at its very feet. About this mountain there are more 
legends, mysteries and tall stories than any other in all South 
America. Perfect in form, in the midday sun it looks exactly 
like an inverted ice-cream cone with the cream oozing down 
its tip, and dominates the city, the surrounding country, the 
people, their beliefs and lives. 

"Sons and daughters of Misti," the Indians call themselves. 
"The old man" used to go on rampages and shake the city to 
pieces and send all his children hurrying to the church altars 
and shrines to beg his forgiveness. Even before the Spaniards 
came the ancient Indians worshipped Father Misti. The re- 
mains of their temples and altars are found at his feet. Even 
the early Spaniards stood in awe before him. A long cross 
stands near the summit, planted there by the good padres in 
1677, when "they climbed up and exorcised him," at least 

[3*9] 



New Roads to Riches 

implored him to stop his crazy spells and not shake them up 
any more. Along one of the roads from the city to Misti there 
are two piles of stones, half a mile apart. Since time immemorial 
Indians passing that way have carried a stone from one pile 
and placed it on the other. For what reason? Evidently Misti 
does not like idle hands. 

As we approached the city in our little tin bird that day and 
swooped down onto the long, dusty field, I myself could not 
help feeling the powerful influence of the "old man." As we 
drove through the city I could not get away from him. He was 
always there, down every street, through every arch and 
towering above everything. No wonder Arequipa is a city of 
classic culture as well as everyday commerce. As the .late Harry 
Foster, that observant and amiable tropical adventurer who 
wrote the best of all guide-books on South America, used to 
say, "a city of art, religion and endless oratory, a city whose 
people spend their time going to church, writing poems, making 
flowery speeches, going to church again, rewriting the speeches 
they have already made, and publishing the poems at their own 
expense, regardless of whether any one else reads them or not." 

The second largest city in Peru, Arequipa is still much more 
Spanish colonial than Lima. Unlike the Plaza de Armas in the 
capital, its principal square is notable for its sidewalks under 
old Spanish arches, its overhanging balconies and the imposing 
cathedral that stands broadside to the square, a cathedral whose 
cornerstone was laid eight years before the Pilgrims got to 
Massachusetts. Leading off from the square are narrow streets 
lined with high, battered walls behind which are some of the 
finest old Spanish colonial houses and private clubs in all Peru. 

The various foreign colonies, the Germans, Anglos, and 
others, as everywhere else in the world, have their own clubs. 
Some of them are cosy and accommodating. But the Arequipa 
Club is. the "holy of holies" of high-toned Arequipanos. From 
its main entrance flush on the narrow sidewalk, just another 

[320] 




I 

u 



<u 
g 

s 

>> 

I 




Father Misti Over Arequipa 



Peru 

door in a wall, you would not suspect that inside there are 
palatial lobbies and ballrooms, tapestried banquet halls and 
private dining-rooms, gaming-rooms, as well as bars, barber 
and "hair dressing" shops respectively equipped with all the 
modern gear and gadgets to take care of the most fastidious 
tastes and requirements. 

Unless he has had the good fortune to be invited to this club, 
the casual observer in Arequipa may easily assume that the 
city is a typical cholo and Indian community, with a good 
sprinkling of foreigners ranging all the way from slant-eyed 
Orientals to tall blonde Nordics. When the proud and cul- 
tured citizen of pure Spanish antecedents, a member of one of 
the old families, and usually a hacendado living on the income 
from his plantation in the surrounding valley, a lawyer, or 
more often a scholar, say an honorary professor at the Univer- 
sity, leaves the luxury of his own patio, office or place of busi- 
ness, he lolls at the club, and in the late afternoon goes with 
his family to the cinema. Hollywood pictures are extremely 
popular in Arequipa. The last time I was there Deanna Durbin 
was packing them in. In the better-class houses, patronized by 
the upper strata, reserved seats are sold and the picture is 
run in two parts, giving the younger element an opportunity 
to meet and talk between times. 

Shopkeeping and mere commerce are left largely to for- 
eigners and cholos. At the present time Italians, Germans, Syr- 
ians and Japanese take the lead in the retailing of such things 
as European and Asiatic machinery, household utensils and 
textiles. But the native cholos dominate in the sale of American 
manufactures, radios, canned goods, automobiles, tires and local 
products. Arequipa is Peru's principal market for the highly 
popular products made from vicuna skins and alpaca wool. All 
articles made from vicuna skins,- once so cheap, are now very 
expensive because of the diminishing vicuna family. The vicuna, 
a delicate animal resembling a small deer, with one of the 



New Roads to Riches 

softest silken furs in the world, like the original buffalo of our 
own West, has been the victim of greedy hunters who have 
tried to supply the ever-increasing demand for its downy coat. 
It is about the shyest of all creatures and until recently no one 
believed it could be domesticated. It would become a household 
pet, but would not cohabit in captivity. Its moral sense was 
very high. You could not take a female from one male and 
give it to another. Besides, the second male would not accept 
her. The old conquistadores may have succeeded in destroyng 
the high morals of many of the Incas, but they and their de- 
scendants tried for four hundred years without success to do- 
mesticate the love-life of the vicuna. At last one man thinks 
he has succeeded. And while it is to be regretted that the end 
of vicuna monogamy is in sight, the possibility of being able 
to purchase and export a vicuna blanket without risking jail, is 
a happy one. For in the words of the two old black crows, 
"they are so soft!" 

The pure delight of sleeping under stacks of these glorious 
bedcovers is one of the innumerable reasons one never forgets 
a visit to Quinta Bates. The Quinta is the hotel, or inn where 
the immortal and inimitable gray-haired Tia Bates plays hostess 
to travellers from all over the earth. At this old colonial estate, 
with its gardens and parks, its roses and magnolia trees, sur- 
rounded by enormous walls, princes, premiers, explorers, ad- 
venturers and poets have enjoyed Tia's conversations, cocktails 
and courtesies for thirty years. Among them have been General 
Pershing, the former Prince of Wales, the ex-King of Bulgaria 
and the late Eleutherios Venizelos, the venerable old Greek 
statesman. In fact, Venizelos selected the Quinta for his last 
honeymoon. Once within the gates at the Quinta, aviation, air 
travel and going places are all forgotten. The world is on the 
outside. Within life becomes a garden of flowers and trees, 
swings and wicker rocking-chairs and a house with deep-cush- 
ioned divans, soft lights, relaxation, peace, good drinks, good 

[322] 



Peru 

food and servants who administer to your every want, the same 
kind who served Inca princes and emperors ages ago, and 
most important of all, Tia bubbling with humor, wit and 
kindness. 

"Around the tables in her dining-room," says Blair Niles, 
"you hear many languages, while Tia herself drops from 
Spanish to English and English to Spanish unconsciously. The 
Quinta is the only place on earth where you have to beg for 
your bill. If you don't Tia will forget all about giving it to 
you. And when you do extract one from her, it seems miserably 
little in return for the favors, the hospitality and the happiness 
you have enjoyed." 

If you ask Tia how she happened to go to Peru and start 
the Quinta Bates, she will ask you, "Who cares about that?" 
But insist and she will say, "If you really must know, when I 
was just a girl my father was superintendent of a railroad in 
northern Chile. I stayed there with the family until I was 
grown up and then decided I would like to find a job for my- 
self. I always loved entertaining at home, or any place. Then 
I found this house which seemed to me the most beautiful place 
in the world, so here I am." 

Every foreigner is curious about why she is called "Tia," 
which means Auntie. She doesn't remember who first called 
her by that endearing term, or when. But every one calls her 
Tia, including the policeman. She is more definite on the sub- 
ject as to why her house is called "The Quinta." Qmnta means 
a small villa. "I have always thought of it," she says, "not as a 
hotel or inn, but as a small villa or home for my friends." 

The most worldly-wise of women, who knows personally 
and intimately most of the great who venture far from home, 
Tia is still as simple and unaffected as a child. "One evening," 
she recently told me, "my butler announced that two young 
men, one a Mr. Coward, were arriving that night from Mo- 
llendo, but they would be a bit late, as their train had broken 

[323] 



New Roads to Riches 

down. I was playing bridge with friends that evening, so when 
the party broke up, knowing that the boys should be along 
fairly soon, I decided to wait up. Mr. Coward's first name was 
Noel. You will laugh, but until then I had never heard of 
him. I found him extremely interesting and we began to talk, 
and the first thing we knew it was six o'clock in the morning. 
We had talked all night." 

If you are lonely, or if you have undergone a great sorrow, 
Tia will drink highballs with you, tell you stories until she 
cheers you up. If you so far forget yourself as to become a 
nuisance, she will also give you a good verbal kick in the pants, 
and a second one if you look as if you are worth it. Become 
ill and she will nurse you back to health, die and she will bury 
you in the proper manner, heap flowers on your grave, send 
pictures of your last resting place to your familyand maybe 
a bill, if the family insists. I visited Chicago with her recently 
when, on her way to Los Angeles, she stopped off just to pay 
a visit to a man she had never met but whose sister had died 
in her house and lies buried in an Arequipa cemetery. 

If I were looking for an aviation enthusiast, one of the out- 
standing boosters of the industry in South America, I should go 
directly to the Quinta Bates to find her. Tia, at how near 
seventy, and on which side, I would not say even if I knew, 
has been commuting between Arequipa, Lima and New York 
for years. Recently she flew from Los Angeles via Mexico 
City and Panama to Arequipa in four days. 

But then the Peruvians themselves, all classes and conditions 
of them, both Indians as well as the members of the Spanish 
upper classes, are unusually air-minded, and their young men 
make good flyers. If their daring countryman Chavez could 
pioneer in the flying business, they must keep up the tradition. 
The Peruvian Army Air Corps, with some 150 airplanes, is 
one of the two or three crack air forces in South America. 
There are five regular commercial lines in the country, the 

[324] 



Peru 

International Pan-American Grace Airways operating between 
the United States, Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay, 
one line going by way of Santiago, Chile, and the other by La 
Paz, Bolivia, and the Faucett Aviation Company, operating 
locally within the country. Both are American-owned. The 
Peruvian or National Air Line and the Aerovias Line, now 
merged with the Faucett Lines, both operate locally. Then 
there is the German-owned Condor Company, with one local 
line and a section which joins up with the International System 
operating across Bolivia, Brazil and the Atlantic to Berlin. All 
the locally operated companies do a great deal of charter work, 
making special trips for industrial and mining organizations. 
In 1936 the Condor Line transported nearly 1200 tons of gold- 
mining machinery from-Trujillo to the new gold-mining de- 
velopments of Parcoy on the Upper Maranon River. 

Last year the five companies flew 2,135,456 miles within 
the country, carrying 34,571 passengers, nearly 1000 tons of 
cargo, almost fifty tons of first-class mail and seven and a half 
tons of parcels post. Significantly enough, two-thirds of the 
passengers, natives and foreigners, travelled by the American 
lines, while the National Line and the two American lines 
together transported most of the mail and parcels post. The 
German Condor Company handled nearly half the cargo. 

The air bases, landing fields and terminals built by the 
Panagra in most of the towns and cities from Talara to Are- 
quipa, especially those in Lima and Arequipa, are among the 
finest in South America. Limatambo in the capital city rivals 
many of the finest terminals in the United States. In view of 
rumors regarding air bases and terminals owned and operated 
by the Germans, it may well be pointed out that the German 
Condor line utilizes Panagra terminals both in Lima and Are- 
quipa, paying adequate rentals for the service of course. 

Arequipa is the hub of international air travel in southern 
Peru for the planes of both the Pan-American Grace and the 



New ' Roads to Riches 

German lines. Planes bound to and from Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, 
Argentina and eastern points, check out of or into Peru at Are- 
quipa, while from the southern metropolis local Peruvian planes 
make Cuzco to the north, Tacna and Mollendo in the south, 

On the MacGregor-Harris tour of inspection, we made a 
special flight from Arequipa down to Tacna. Tacna is now the 
Peruvian portion of the Siamese Tacna-Arica combination that 
kept Chile and Pern fighting or glaring at one another for 
half a century. Along with the desperate and disastrous wrangle 
between Bolivia and Paraguay over the Chaco, and the still 
unsettled Ecuadorean-Peruvian dispute, the Tacna-Arica trouble 
was long down on the books as one of the three major interna- 
tional sore spots on the Continent. It will be remembered that, 
in the Warren G. Harding regime, General Pershing was sent 
to arbitrate the matter, but after months of arbitrating, during 
which time the more he arbitrated the matter the more unman- 
ageable the Chileans and Peruvians became, the General finally 
developed such bad health, diplomatic or otherwise, that he 
sailed for home leaving the matter much more unsettled than 
when he arrived. It was not until the cool and calm days of 
Messrs. Coolidge and Kellogg that the Solomonian operation 
was performed definitely and finally giving Arica to Chile and 
Tacna to Peru. 

Tacna is the last Peruvian center of habitation before you 
reach present-day Chile. It is another of those irrigated green 
valleys surrounding an old Spanish colonial town. A trucking 
and fruit-growing section, it produces oranges, grapefruit, 
peaches, and the largest, juiciest, best-flavored pears I have ever 
eaten. Due to lack of transportation, except by air, or railroad 
down to Arica, what might otherwise become a flourishing 
community awaits quietly the inauguration of a new highway 
to Arequipa, a highway already projected by the government. 

Mollendo is the Pacific port for Arequipa and is 107 miles 
away by railway, or a half an hour straight down by air. Either 



Peru 

route leads across the Islay Desert. The trip by air reveals a 
strange scene. Continuing my southern commuting with Harris 
and John D., we spent a day in Mollendo. As usual we were 
up as the first rays of light began shooting up from behind the 
Andes. It is always a bracing experience to get up at Arequipa. 
The cold of the high plateau sent shivers up and down my 
spine as we hurried off to the field, through trains of burros 
and llamas bringing in the produce of the countryside to the 
markets of the city. The moment the yellow beams of Old 
Sol glistened against the head of El Misti, we were in the 
heavens and out over the desert of glaring white sands across 
which mysterious medanos, or crescent-shaped sand dunes, 
move steadily from the sea to the mountains. A hundred feet 
from tip to tip and ten to fifteen feet high, these little sand 
hills start at the edge of the sea. Spanked by the prevailing 
winds from the south that follow or precede the Humboldt 
Current, they travel about sixty feet a year, always maintaining 
their perfect figures and graceful movements, one of the phe- 
nomena of nature. 

Perched on the very edge of a high bluff overlooking the 
open Pacific, Mollendo as a port not only rivals but surpasses 
Salaverry and the ports of the north for the thrills and perils 
encountered by passengers leaving or boarding ships. At times 
the swells and rolls of the sea are so great that steamers do 
not attempt to discharge or take on passengers. And even light- 
ers have been swamped in an attempt to take cargo ashore. 
Until the coming of airplanes there was no other way for 
citizens, officials, businessmen or others to travel between Lima 
and Arequipa. 

This condition will not prevail much longer. The change is in 
process. When the magnificent port facilities and new extensions 
at Callao were completed, the Frederick Snare Corporation 
immediately began work on a $2,625,000 modern port and 
dock system for Mollendo. But not at Mollendo itself. The 

[327] 



New Roads to Riches 

new port is to be on the Matarani Bay, twelve miles to the 
north of the old town proper. At Mollendo there isn't an 
indenture in the shore line where a breakwater could be built. 
For that matter Matarani Bay is not exactly a bay, but a bite 
into the precipitous coastline. But it has a small island a little 
way offshore to which one end o a breakwater can be success- 
fully anchored. In any case the new port will give a new boost 
to the southern railway system and the southern metropolis 
of Arequipa. It is expected that tourist travel alone will grow 
by leaps and bounds, because this is the only land route to the 
historic Inca ruins in the Cuzco country. 

Along Peru's extensive coastline numerous railroads make 
brave starts for the mountains, but usually give up after strug- 
gling twenty, thirty, and at the most thirty-five miles up river 
valleys. Only two lines actually reach the cordillera, the Central 
from Lima to Oroya and the Southern from Mollendo to Are- 
quipa, then up to Juliaca, where branch lines lead south- 
ward to Lake Titicaca and the other northward to Cuzco. The 
500 miles of narrow-gauge trackage operated by the Southern 
Railways is the longest single system in the country, and is one 
of the 1167 miles of British-owned lines operating in various 
sections of the republic. The state-operated lines, all of them 
short, amount to only 490 miles. In addition some 825 miles 
are operated by various industries, mines, large haciendas and 
oil fields, part of which are open to regular public traffic. In 
other words, in the entire country there are only 2792 miles 
of railroads, mostly narrow-gauge, hardly 300 miles of which 
even suggest a modern, up-to-date railroad. 

Like the Talara-Chiclayo-Trujillo districts in the north, 
and the central regions around Oroya and Cerro de Pasco, the 
southern section of the country, that is, the Arequipa area, 
is becoming an important mining center. In fact, the gold-mining 
interests are shifting southward. Arequipa is headquarters for 
several of the new companies, some of which are American 

[328] 



Peru 

owned or financed. At Quinta Bates in the past year I have 
met numbers of officials of gold-mining companies, and nu- 
merous lone prospectors, solo geologists and adventurers, down 
from the mountains on vacation. One Scotsman had grown 
gray looking for the end of the rainbow high up among the 
peaks and crags, and had finally succeeded in finding it. Down 
to get supplies and finances to carry on, he could hardly wait 
to begin the perilous trip back. "It has been a long trail of 
hardship and disappointment through the years," he said philo- 
sophically, as he leaned back in one of Tia's easy chairs and the 
smoke floated lazily up from his pipe. "And now that the trail 
ends in success I can hardly believe it." 

The Pan-American Grace Airways furnished the first spec- 
tacular example of the use of airplanes for transporting heavy 
mining machinery in South America. Three years ago it con- 
tracted to fly equipment for a mine in the eastern foothills of 
the mountains beyond Cuzco. In thirty minutes the plane made 
a trip which required three weeks by mule train even in dry 
weather. 

South of Arequipa and up in the Lake Titicaca region are 
several mining properties. It is even expected that oil is to be 
found along the shores of the lake. Incidentally, most people 
are under the impression that Lake Titicaca is a Bolivian lake. 
The Bolivian-Peruvian border line practically cuts the lake 
in half at a northeasterly-southwesterly angle. Anyway, it is the 
dream of Peruvian officials that the Peruvian shores of the lake 
may soon be dotted with oil derricks. The government is already 
exploring and expects to begin experimental drilling within the 
next few months. 

Returning northward to Lima after my visit to the south 
and the Arequipa country, I flew with my scouting friends as 
far as the city of lea. I wanted to travel from this section north 
over the new highway which is steadily advancing from Lima 
to Arequipa, and which at that time had been paved as far as 



New Roads to Riches 

lea. Within the next twelve months, if all goes well politically 
in Peru, it will be possible for the first time in history to travel 
by automobile overland between the nation's two largest cities, 
cities which for four centuries, except by sea or air, have been 
as far apart as Moscow and Shanghai. "When that is possible," 
a Peruvian professor told me, "southern Peru will experience 
a new renaissance," Even the Ica-Pisco-Lima stretch inaugu- 
rated in June, 1938, brings into close contact with the markets 
and industries of Lima one of the most important regions of 
coastal Peru. Back in the mountains from lea a third of the 
country's output of gold is mined, while the surrounding 
lowlands constitute a large farming section. Farther along in 
the Pisco section grapes are turned into a famed, potent and 
palatable rum of the same name. 

At Pisco, history once again becomes hopelessly entangled 
with national economy. The near-by Paracas Peninsula has 
yielded some of the most priceless archaeological finds in Peru. 
From the Mochica and Chimu country of the far north have 
been gathered valuable pottery, huacos and golden crowns. 
From an ancient burial ground for the priests and nobility of 
a pre-Incan race at Paracas, Doctor Julio Tello, Peru's most 
noted archaeologist, has dug up mummies wrapped in the most 
gorgeous hand-woven mantas or tapestries five by seven feet in 
size. Many of them are of the texture of Gobelin tapestries. 
Some are even more delicate in texture. The figures on the 
finest of Gobelins show plainly on one side only. The figures 
on the Paracas mantas are equally distinct on both sides. 

Incidentally it was interesting, not to say amusing, to see it 
announced in the New York papers recently that the Brooklyn 
Museum, on the requisition of Doctor Herbert J. Spinden, Cura- 
tor of American Indian Art and Primitive Cultures, had ac- 
quired one of those mantas, calling it "the most famous textile 
of its kind . . . found in a pre-Inca tomb." Surely so eminent 
an archaeologist as Doctor Spinden would know that this is 

[330] 



Pern 

by no means the most famous and that Doctor Tello has dug up 
hundreds of them, many in a perfect state of preservation. 
It is only necessary to go to the National Museum in Lima 
or Doctor Tello's headquarters in the old Bolivar Museum at 
Magdalena Vieja to see them. 

The people of the Pisco section expect the new highway to 
bring them tourists and sightseers as well as afford them new 
outlets for their products > especially their cotton. Interestingly 
enough, cotton is indigenous to the Pisco country. The ancients 
of this southern coastal region specialized in cotton, as well as 
woolen textiles, and cotton is today the most flourishing of its 
industries. Over half of Peru's hundred-thousand-ton produc- 
tion of cotton is grown in this region between lea and Lima. 
What is more important, two crops are grown every year, one 
being picked or gathered from February to April, and the other 
from May to November. 

Most of the cotton produced in Peru is literally Peruvian 
cotton. It is known as tcmgws y a type developed in Peru by a 
Peruvian citizen, Fernando Tanguis. In this deserty dry coun- 
try ordinary cotton is subject to wilt. The tangms variety re- 
sists wilt. There are types known as alcala and pma > the latter 
said to be a variation of that produced in the Yuma Arizona 
region. They do very well in the far north. But in the south 
tanguis predominates. It is only a medium staple cotton aver- 
aging a little more than one inch, but it said to be the whitest 
in the world, and is used in foreign countries principally for the 
manufacture of fine dress collars. Evidently the stiff-collar in- 
dustry is looking up, for last year three quarters of the entire 
Peruvian crop was exported. 

If you are travelling northward by water along the Peruvian 
coast nowadays, your steamer is always certain to anchor off 
several places between Pisco and Lima to take on cotton, while 
if you travel the highway you find yourself continually dodg- 
ing trucks loaded with cotton for the mills of Lima, as well as 

[33 1 ! 



New 'Roads to Riches 

grapes, rum and countless other products from these rich agri- 
cultural regions. Another indication of the progress that de- 
velops so quickly in the wake of new roads in these Other 
Americas. 

Peru's road-building campaign is probably the most am- 
bitious on the continent. Following the tendency in so many 
other countries which have adopted three-, five- or six-year 
public works plans, in 1936 the Peruvian Government decreed 
a three-year-highway plan, for which eight and three-quarter 
million dollars, approximately thirteen per cent of the entire 
national budget, was set aside. 

By the end of 1938 the plans were already well under way 
and 35,000 men with two million dollars' worth of new road 
machinery were engaged in highway construction. At the be- 
ginning of 1939 nearly 15,500 miles had been surveyed or 
built throughout the country. Half of the completed roads had 
been paved with either macadam, concrete or crushed stone. 

At J:he present rate Peru will be the first of all the large 
countries to complete its portion of the north and south Pan- 
American highway. Only a few sections of the grading from 
Lima northward remain to be done, while work on the Lima- 
Arequipa-Bolivian section is progressing rapidly. Since most 
of Peru's cities lie along the Pacific and the coastal region west 
of the Andes, the Pan-American highway is really a vital Peru- 
vian trunk line, and its completion will serve Peru as well as 
international traffic. Meantime the government and the engi- 
neers are thinking of the importance of the high Andean val- 
leys which, except for the Cerro de Pasco and Chanchamayo 
regions, have seen little development. So at the present time 
work is also proceeding at full speed on roads to connect the 
upper valleys with the main north-to-south road. 

Not content with building roads, the government encourages 
the public to buy and use automobiles. Heretofore if you at- 
tempted to travel about on the few roads already built in the 

[332] 



Peru 

country, you were stopped every few miles to pay fees at toll 
gates. All toll gates have now been abolished. Along with the 
abolition of toll roads comes a new law providing for uniform 
license plates. The result is that within the past year Peru has 
become one of the leading world markets for American trucks, 
automobiles, tires and auto accessories, and the oldest of the 
countries of South America becomes the newest of all in trans- 
portation and communication facilities. 



[333] 



V 

Death and Resurrection 



J 



ULIO TELLO was only a barefoot Indian boy when he came 
down from the mountains to look for an opportunity to go to 
school. The opportunity finally came, even if it was largely 
of his own making. Determination, perseverance and an apt 
mind enabled him within a very few years to complete his 
course in Lima and win a scholarship to Harvard University. 
To the banks of the Charles he brought the same mental and 
spiritual equipment that served him so well in the capital of 
his own country. In what to him at least was the extremely 
democratic atmosphere of Cambridge, he gained a new reverence 
for the great races whose blood and traditions he had inherited. 
Students and professors alike were not only interested in him, 
but admired him. Their expressions of admiration for the an- 
cient and fabulous civilizations of his country inspired him with 
the idea of devoting his life to making them known to the 
world and to posterity. Archaeology and anthropology became 
his favorite subjects. 

In due time he returned to Peru with his degree, a broad 
outlook upon the world and the tools with which to ply his 
profession. In the years that followed he led expeditions to 
the north and to the south. He lived among the natives in re- 
mote mountain valleys. After hundreds of years of persecu- 
tion, they offer the white man few confidences. But Julio Tello 

[334] 



Peru 

is of their flesh and bone, and, although he is as reticent on 
the subject as they, there is little doubt that he gained from 
them knowledge which has enabled him to uncover cities, 
temples and ancient burial places full of archaeological treas- 
ures that might have remained unknown. Anyway, from pot- 
tery and huacos from the hitherto unknown ruins of Chavin 
beyond the cordillera and north of Cerro de Pasco, the price- 
less textiles and tapestries from the Paracas Peninsula and the 
revelations from numerous other discoveries, he has pieced to- 
gether much of the dramatic story of Peru in the days before 
Pizarro, a story as full of war and conquest as the years that 
have followed. 

Lima is full of museums, most of them maintained by the 
government, at present under the administration of the schol- 
arly and suave Doctor Luis E. Valcarcel. But Julio Tello, quiet, 
suspicious, and no doubt inwardly sharing the contempt of his 
race for politicians and white men, works unobtrusively and 
almost unnoticed in the Bolivar Museum, the rapidly crum- 
bling old colonial house out in the suburb town of Magdalena 
Vieja between Lima and the sea, where Simon Bolivar lived 
with his inamorata, a remarkable Ecuadorean, while he was 
attempting to build an independent nation out of Pizarro's 
toppled Spanish province. I met Doctor Tello the first time 
in company with Doctor Wendell Bennett, the brilliant young 
American archaeologist who has led many expeditions to South 
America for the American Museum of Natural History. It 
was just after Nelson Rockefeller had paid a visit to Magdalena 
Vieja. If any Indian could be on the brink of emotion he was, 
because young Rockefeller had been so impressed with the 
gorgeous Paracas tapestries that he had contributed several 
thousand dollars for their restoration and preservation. He 
showed me scores of them, and in room after room pointed out 
shelves stacked high with other articles that had been care- 
fully studied and restored, great volumes filled with records 

[335] 



New Roads to Riches 

and analyses of them, and tons of huacos and pottery, mounds 
of Paracas mummy bundles, some four hundred in all, still 
untouched and unopened. The hours slipped by like minutes, 
and just at nightfall we entered a great circular room where 
the mummies are unrolled as carefully and lovingly as if they 
were newly born infants, and the work of classification goes on. 
The entire floor, except a space in the center large enough for 
a desk and a chair, was covered with long row after long row 
of skulls of the priests and nobility of the ancient races, while 
the shelves which extended from the floor to the ceiling were 
jammed with their handiwork. As we stood with him in the 
almost semidarkness of that room, the thought came to me that 
here in the keeping of a man in whose veins flows the blood 
of all these ancient peoples reposed the mute but tragic record 
of old Peru before the coming of the white man, an age-old 
record of death and resurrection. 

The story of Peru, both in the days of the red man's as- 
cendancy and in the four hundred years that have followed, 
is the story of the rise of one tribe and its subjugation by a 
stronger, the story of the assumption of one viceroy, president 
or dictator and his violent overthrow by another. Peru's con- 
tinual state of political change began with the Mochicas, who 
managed to dominate the north from about 200 to 600 A.D., 
when they crumbled and were succeeded by various races who 
descended upon them from every direction; one from Chavin 
up in the Cordillera, another from Recuay, and still another 
from as far south as Tiahuanaco on the shores of Lake Titicaca. 
By 900 A.D. the Chimus had superseded these various races and 
built their great city of Chanchan near Trujillo. Meantime the 
last of the powerful Indian civilizations, the Incas, had risen to 
power in the south around Lake Titicaca and begun their 
steady march northward. About 1300 A.D. they got around to 
wiping out the Chimus and extending their domain all the way 
from the Pacific to the Amazonian lowlands and from the 

[336] 



Peru 

Bogota Sabana in Colombia to Cordoba and the edge of the 
great ^pam^a of Argentina. But by the time the Spaniards ar- 
rived, the Inca empire had begun to show signs of decadence. 
It had been divided between two Incas or kings, one having 
established his capital in the northern city of Quito and the 
other in Cuzco in the south. Worst of all the two rulers had 
already fought among themselves and Atahualpa, the southern 
ruler, had taken the other prisoner, thus presenting a divided 
and depleted authority to the enemy. Some have even ascribed 
the ease and quickness with which Pizarro and his handful of 
tramps overcame the entire Inca armies, as much to a shaken 
allegiance, division and disloyalty in the Incas' own ranks as 
to the possession of horses, guns and cannon by the Spaniards. 

But the rise and fall of races and governments before the 
conquest by white men cannot equal the succession of govern- 
ments and rulers that have followed since. After the brief nine- 
year reign and tragic end of Pizarro, and a three-year rule by 
Governor Vaca de Castro, the Spanish crown for nearly three 
hundred years occupied itself with recalling and appointing its 
forty-one different viceroys, about one for each six or seven 
years, beginning with Blasco Nunez Vala, and including the 
oratorical Father de la Gasca and the romantic Don Manuel 
de Amat y Junient. Besides these and two or three other notable 
exceptions, hardly any of them succeeded in ruling for any 
length of time without rude interruption, or having to leave 
under fire, both literally and figuratively. 

In the early 1 8oos the Spanish-born Peruvians began a steady 
agitation and fight for separation from the motherland. These 
early Peruvian stirrings for independence were going on at 
about the time Napoleon was retreating from Moscow, and 
while we were having our second war with the British, as well 
as disagreements and fights about it among our own people, 
during the time, it may be remembered, when the English 
redcoats captured Detroit, incited their Indian allies to mas- 

[337] 



New Roads to Riches 

sacre the entire garrison at Fort Dearborn in Chicago, and 
finally invaded and burned Washington. The Peruvians finally 
declared independence on July 28, 1821. The next two years 
they spent mopping up the royalists, getting rid of the last 
viceroy who had fled up into the mountains to Cuzco, and de- 
bating and writing a constitution. The first elected President 
got under way September 28, 1823, a few months after the 
first steamboat sailed up the Mississippi and some two months 
before James Monroe announced to the world that it would be 
bad business, both for us and the European governments, if the 
latter should try to seize any more territory or attempt to trans- 
fer any of their political systems to this hemisphere. 

When Don Jose de la Riva Aguero, the first President, took 
over in the old vice-regal palace on the Plaza de Armas in 
Lima, the government of Peru became a widely distributed 
if centrally directed affair. The country was divided into de- 
partments corresponding to our states, whose governors were 
and still are called prefects, provinces headed by sub-prefects, 
districts administered by gobernadores, cities ruled by alcaldes, 
and a congress, a judiciary and other governmental accessories, 
all roughly patterned after those of the United States. 

From that time until now many periods in the republic's 
existence, like the greater portion of the life of the vice-royalty, 
have been characterized by forced presidential resignations, 
shotgun elections, assassinations, military coufs d?etat> and 
what might be called comic-opera revolutions. Few have been 
the number of elections or changes of government in the past 
fifty years that have not been accomplished by intrigue, force 
or even violence. Not only political but economic and social 
progress has been held back on this account, and few admin- 
istrations, even those backed by force, have been able to remain 
in power long enough to carry out any lengthy constructive 
program. Until the present unprecedentedly busy regime of 
Oscar R. Benavides, the longest and most noteworthy in recent 

[338] 



Peru 

years was the administration of the dictatorship of Augusto B. 
Leguia, who came to power by a coup tfetat in 1919 and ruled 
for eleven years. 

Leguia's long reign was a combination of constructive and 
useful developments, unfortunate mistakes and intermittent 
dictatorial intolerances. Energetic, educated abroad, trained in 
the United States, where for years he was an insurance sales- 
man, and businesslike, Leguia had great ambitions for his coun- 
try. He was a tiny man, five feet four inches tall, and weighed 
about 125 pounds. He was of pure Spanish blood, with fair 
skin and in later years wore a trim gray mustache and looked 
at you through clear, keen, gray eyes. If the late Andy Mellon 
had lived in Peru, he and Leguia might easily have served as 
doubles for each other. 

Leguia possessed some of the Mellon financial ability too. 
At least he could raise money. He not only induced many for- 
eign enterprises to come into the country, invest and develop 
resources, but in the boom days succeeded in borrowing from 
American bankers, that is, from widows, doctors and school 
teachers upon whom the bankers unloaded the bonds, a hun- 
dred million dollars. With this he made vast improvements in 
Lima and the surrounding country, as well as in other cities. 
He built the first paved highway between Lima and Callao 
and drew up elaborate plans for many other civic improve- 
ments and public works. 

But he was what no dictator can afford to be, an indulgent 
father and friend who allowed some members of his family, 
as well as some of his own cronies, to have too much rein. His 
sons were not only extravagant, but behind the back of their 
father engineered deals and engaged in activities, or got the 
reputation for such things, which the public condemned. After 
his death it was proven before a United States Senate Investiga- 
tion Committee that his oldest son got $415,000 in one lump 
sum out of United States bankers for helping to engineer one 

[339] 



New Roads to Riches 

of the loans made to his father's government. The sons took 
advantage of the father's strong-armed government to lord it 
over the citizens and even officials in ways the father himself 
would not have thought of doing, but all of which was checked 
up against the dictator. 

He maintained all the forms of a republic. The courts func- 
tioned, the Congress and Senate sat, although they took orders. 
He built up a strong army, a first-class, if small, navy trained 
by United States officers, and one of the finest national police 
forces in South America. Even today the national police func- 
tion efficiently and courteously in every city and district of the 
country, in Talara and Tacna, in Lima and Arequipa, in Iquitos 
and the Chanchamayo. Under Leguia some effort was made to 
improve the lot of the Indians, and to compel property owners 
to pay living wages to their workmen. He brooked no inter- 
ference with his government from any native or foreigner. He 
often shot Peruvians guilty of treason and usually jailed or 
banished his critics. The editor of El Comercio, a scion of one 
of one of the oldest Spanish families in the country, was ban- 
ished, and the paper was not allowed to publish an editorial 
for ten years. 

It is the consensus of opinion among responsible Peruvians 
that, although Leguia was always despotic, he was personally 
honest. But in his old days he became surrounded by some very 
dishonest ministers and secretaries, and he had to reap the 
fruits of his despotism and his unfortunate associates. When 
the depression struck, money ran low. Many activities had to 
be discontinued. It became more and more difficult to pay the 
armed forces, always the first nail in the coffin of a dictator- 
ship. And then came that fatal night in August, 1930, when a 
diminutive, dreamy-eyed cholo y Lieutenant-Colonel Luis M. 
Sanchez Cerro, commander of the garrison in Arequipa, re- 
volted and took the leadership of the already ripe revolu- 
tion. 

[340] 



Peru 

"I went aboard the cruiser Almirante Grau at n o'clock/* 
the naval officer in charge o the fleet that night told me a few 
days later when I arrived in Peru. "Early in the evening I had 
called at the Presidential Palace in Lima and they had told 
me of the defection in the garrison at Arequipa. No doubt that 
the situation was well in hand, though. Anyhow, the strong 
man was at the helm. Many a disturbance such as this had been 
put down in the eleven years of his regime so to sleep. 

"I was hardly in bed when there was a knock at my door. 
A message from the President? Strange, I thought. Surprising, 
when I read it. I leaped into my uniform, sent orders to all the 
officers, dispatched a launch and waited. Finally the chug of the 
motor and the return of the launch. Up the ladder came the 
diminutive figure of a very old man. The crew stood at atten- 
tion. Officers saluted. The President was aboard! 

"Rumors spread. Nobody knew what it was all about. The 
President had said nothing. Was he still the President? And 
what was his mission on board a warship in the small hours of 
the morning? 

"There was a hurried conference of officers. Each contributed 
the rumors he had collected and offered his suggestions. Finally 
we invited His Excellency himself to tell us the state of affairs. 

"Haggard and nervous he came before us, a group of officers 
of the Peruvian navy, at 4:30 in the morning, and told us of 
the dramatic incidents of the last few hours a haggard and 
nervous old man who until recently had been the most powerful 
figure of the Andean republics. 

"His cabinet had been forced to resign. A group of army 
officers had urged a military cabinet in its place. Yielding, he 
appointed one and went to bed. Shortly they called him to 
his oiSce and demanded changes. Inviting their suggestions, he 
appointed another and started to swear it in. Some one objected 
and said the colonel at Arequipa, Sanchez Cerro, who had 
started the revolt in the army, should be in the cabinet. The 

[341] 



New Roads to Riches 

President acceded. But there were further objections on the 
grounds that some of the appointees were not present, notably 
the colonel from Arequipa. Several spoke in a disrespectful man- 
ner, some were even intoxicated. Suddenly a lieutenant pushed 
his way in and with a revolver drawn demanded the immediate 
resignation of the Chief Executive. The entire group then 
flopped and joined in the demand. The resignation was penned 
and the President fled to the cruiser in Callao harbor. 

" 'But/ said the President, c only the Congress has the right 
to accept my resignation. Until Congress meets and accepts it 
in the constitutional way, I am President of Peru! 5 And there 
was a momentary spark of the old Leguia. The group snapped 
to attention and saluted. The President returned the salute and 
went back to his quarters. 

"Immediately he sent for me, and there, as the first streak 
of dawn crept over the mountains behind Callao and Lima, he 
complained that he was tired. He looked it not only tired, but 
broken. His hands twitched. His eyes were sunken and blood- 
shot. What should he do? Imagine the Leguia of other days 
asking such a questionthe Leguia who more than once had 
defied mobs and resisted assassins! The power of decision was 
gone. Nearly eighty years of a vigorous and eventful life had 
exacted their toll. 

"The navy would have stood by him. He could have held 
the chief support and the key to the capital. One word and he 
would have been master of the situation and maybe still master 
of Peru. But the final punch was lacking. One word and the 
ship could have proceeded to a foreign port. But no word! 
Later the old man confessed he did not know what to do. He 
couldn't go away, for he hadn't a penny to his name. Besides, 
he wanted to leave Peru in the hands of a constitutional 
government. 

"Later in the day orders came from the military junta which 
had taken over affairs at Lima, ordering the ship to proceed 



Peru 

with the former President to Panama. An hour later the colonel 
at Arequipa ordered it back. He did not recognize the group 
of senile and fat old generals. And so Leguia came back to be 
sent in disgrace first to the bleak island of San Lorenzo and 
later to the historic old prison in Lima, there to await the fate 
that has overtaken many another man in the stormy career of 
Peru, and, curiously enough, the fate he himself had meted out 
to scores of his enemies." And in the officer's own words, "An- 
other period in Peruvian history is closed." 

Leguia's successor, the little colonel from Arequipa, one of 
the first men of Indian blood to become the head of the nation, 
was a picturesque little man. I met him two days after he 
arrived in Lima. And he impressed me greatly. There was no 
show of importance, no attempt to impress a foreign writing 
man, but marked simplicity and unmistakable earnestness. I 
have had opportunities to meet many South American per- 
sonalitiesstatesmen, generals and scholars. This little colonel, 
who had so suddenly, almost overnight, caused the overthrow 
and imprisonment of the most spectacular figure in modern 
Peruvian history, a feat eminently sufficient to warrant a feeling 
of importance, was about the most unassuming figure that I 
have ever met south of Panama. 

Born in 1889, Sanchez Cerro was graduated from military 
school in 1910 and thereafter served in various regiments until 
February 4, 1914. On that date came the revolution which 
overthrew President Guillermo Billinghurst, Sanchez Cerro 
played an active part in that revolt. 

In 1919 Leguia became president by a coup d?etat. A revolt 
was expected and in 1922 it came, with the dreamy-eyed San- 
chez Cerro at its head. He took possession of the city of Cuzco, 
but was so seriously wounded that he lost whatever advantage 
he had obtained and the revolution ended. Sanchez Cerro suc- 
ceeded in evading arrest and left for Morocco, where for four- 
teen months he fought in the Riffian war against Abd-el Krim. 

[343] 



New Roads to Riches 

Later he went to France, devoting several years to advanced 
military courses. 

Back in Peru again, he obtained command of a battalion and 
was finally promoted to a lieutenant-colonelcy. But his bold 
career as a revolutionist was not ended. In his second revolt 
against Leguia, his fearlessness brought success. Following his 
bid for power in the south, and in the face of an uncertain state 
of affairs in the capital, he took a couple of aides with him, 
flew to Lima ahead of his forces, deposed the self-appointed 
junta, jailed them and proceeded to organize his own military 
government. 

But Sanchez Cerro did not last. The old aristocratic families, 
who feel it their divine right to rule, many of whom had re- 
ceived scant recognition from Leguia, now saw a chance to 
recoup their lost power and prestige. Having the financial ad- 
vantage, their bid for rule could not be easily put aside. Besides, 
Sanchez Cerro was not of the elite socially and traditionally. 
A little Spanish blood flowed in his veins, but he was actually 
more Indian than cholo. "His skin is too dark," said one promi- 
nent Peruvian at the time. "We can't have a cholo ruling 



over us." 



Anyway, Sanchez Cerro was for the moment forced out, and 
followed in rapid succession by four provisional presidents and 
ad-interim executives until a genuine national election was 
planned and carried out in October, 1931. This election will 
long stand out in Peruvian history, not only as a marvel of 
democratic fairness, but as one of the most impressive dramas 
in modern South American politics. Responsible citizens able 
to read and write were finger-printed and registered in advance. 
What is more, they 'were required by law to finish the process. 
On election day approximately ninety per cent of them went 
to the polls and voted. 

In every town and city, north and south it was not only a 
quiet Sunday but a silent one. You could not buy a drink nor a 

[344] 



Peru 

cigarette. There were no masses, early or late. Churches were 
even closed. Not a bell rang out in all the devout land. Voters 
approached the polling places with an air of religious fervor. 
It was an election without an eruption, not a shot fired any- 
where, not a broken head. It was more like a peaceful funeral 
than a political fight. 

The moment the polls closed, ballot boxes, "urns of liberty," 
Peruvians called them, were locked, sealed and sent under mili- 
tary guard to the capital city where their secrets were revealed 
in the presence of the public and the press, a process which 
required several days. The successful candidate for the presi- 
dency was none other than the tiny Sanchez Cerro, hero of 
August, 1930, the first genuinely and freely elected constitu- 
tional President and Congress in a generation. Some say the 
first in a hundred years. 

I talked with Sanchez Cerro in his own house while the 
ballots of the October election were being counted, but after it 
was quite certain he would be the winner. After ten o'clock at 
night, with secretaries, campaign managers, friends and curib 
osity-seekers filling the lower floors, the front yard and flowing 
out into the street, we went upstairs to his own apartment. It 
was a warm night and without ceremony he removed his coat 
and seated himself on a footstool. Sanchez Cerro was no longer 
the soldier, might never have fired a gunj and he certainly 
did not act the part of a Latin American about to become the 
first citizen of the nation. He was a plain Peruvian citizen ready 
to talk about the problems of his country. 

"I wish to guarantee honest investments of foreign capital," 
was the very first remark he made, knowing, of course, that that 
was the question all foreigners were interested in. "But always 
with the protection of the just rights of Peruvians. Naturally, 
Americans will want to know my attitude in regard to bonds 
which they hold. Peruvians feel that money from the bonds 
sold by North American bankers for the old government was 

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New Roads to Riches 

very badly invested by Leguia. In spite of this feeling, you 
will remember that when I came to power as provisional presi- 
dent one of the first things I did was to let it be known that it 
was the fault of Leguia, not the American capitalists, that the 
money was improperly spent. 

"I made every effort to comply with the interest and amorti- 
zation payments on Peru's foreign indebtedness while I was in 
power. I want to say I have always been a lover of justice with- 
out discrimination between foreigners and Peruvians, and did 
everything possible to meet our just obligations." And it is true 
that it was not until after his resignation as Provisional Presi- 
dent of the military junta that payment of interest on Peru's 
foreign obligations ceased. 

But, alas, on another Sunday, barely two years after he flew 
from Arequipa to take over the government following the 
resignation of Leguia, Sanchez Cerro himself was assassinated 
in cold blood just as he was driving away from a Sunday after- 
noon at the races. Congress immediately assembled, elected and 
called to the helm Oscar R. Benavides, who took office April 

30. ^933; 

Benavides, a regular army officer, had bobbed up several 
times before as a political figure. In 1914 he had led the mili- 
tary movement which overthrew President Billinghurst, and 
in which Sanchez Cerro had figured. Following this, he served 
briefly as the head of the provisional government. When elec- 
tions were held in 1916 he handed over the government to 
the constitutional president, Jose Pardo, and returned to the 
army. Soon after this he was sent to France as a military ob- 
server and was assigned first to the staff of General Mangin 
and later on was with General Nivelle. He witnessed at close 
range one of the fiercest battles of the World War, the battle 
of Verdun. After the war he got into the diplomatic service 
and went as minister to Italy, but came back to Peru in 1921, 
only to be arrested and exiled by Leguia. Following the Sanchez 

[346] 



Peru 

Cerro revolution of 1930, he again essayed diplomacy by ac- 
cepting the appointment as minister to Spain, an appointment 
which he very soon gave up. He came back to Peru the last 
time in 1931, where he kept' a close watch, not to say a close 
finger, on the course of events until Sanchez Cerro was assassi- 
nated and he took over. 

Benavides is a short and paunchy little man, but stands 
straight as an arrow. He likes to wear uniforms and is proud 
of the fact he has always been a soldier, if not a hard 
fighter. He does not let people forget that he has observed 
much war and at close hand, even if he did not personally 
officiate in it. General Mangin had great respect and admiration 
for him and paid him a personal visit in Lima after he came 
to power the last time in Peru. His head is large physically, 
with little or no hair on top. He looks at you out of big, slightly 
starey eyes, wears a short stubby mustache, and when he talks 
seems to have difficulty keeping his false teeth in place. 

Possessing a fiery or typically Latin temperament, he can fly 
into a rage if somebody fails to carry out an order, or makes 
a mistake. Otherwise, he is easy-going and loves good food 
and relaxation. On a warm afternoon he likes to put on pajamas 
and slippers and loll in his private garden, a good old tropical 
custom. Business people, both native and foreign, respect him 
and say they get a square deal from him. Even his enemies 
admit that he is personally honest. He is a good administrator 
who has surrounded himself with several of the keenest and 
ablest young men in the country, especially Hector Boza, Min- 
ister of Public Works, an energetic, quick-thinking and practical 
young engineer, under whose personal supervision most of the 
Benavides program of public works has been carried out. And 
it has been a formidable program. 

When he came to office in 1933 Peru and Colombia were 
engaged in a serious dispute over a border question in the 
Amazonian region of Iquitos. In fact, the two countries were 

[347] 



New Roads to Riches 

already on the verge of war. He immediately sent a cable to 
the President of Colombia saying, "Let's put our heads to- 
gether and see if we can't settle this dispute like sensible men." 
The result was that within thirty days the two countries were 
again at peace with each other. He next tackled the financial 
situation of the government, and within a short time succeeded 
in bringing governmental expenditure into close company with 
governmental income. In fact, one of his proudest boasts is that 
the Peruvian budget has remained balanced, at least insofar 
as national affairs are concerned. No serious attempt has been 
made yet to take care of foreign obligations or bonds held 
by foreigners, but he has kept the internal budget balanced 
and carried on his program of public works without any restric- 
tion on exchange. Peru is one of the few countries in the world 
having an absolutely free exchange. 

Benavides came into office with the promise that at the end 
of his term he would turn the presidency over to a duly elected 
successor and retire to private life when that time came. In 
1936 elections were held, in which an old-line conservative and 
an extreme radical were the principal contenders. When it be- 
came apparent that the radical had won, the elections were 
annulled and Benavides became a dictator. He immediately 
instituted a tremendous plan for public works, chief among 
which has been his three-year road program. On the subject 
of roads he said in a statement to the public, "For many years 
the government should charge itself primarily with the high- 
way problem because heretofore the exploitation of the wealth, 
the growth of commerce, the development of agriculture, and 
the proper feeding of the population, have been hindered by 
the immemorial barriers to industry and transportation. Re- 
move these, open up the country so the people can travel and 
get their products out to market, and Peru will have made a 
tremendous advance toward her destiny as one of the most 
progressive countries of the Americas." 

[348] 



Peru 

In this statement it is apparent that he and his advisers are 
not unmindful of the strength of the radical opposition. For, 
of course, Benavides is backed by the old-line conservatives. 
But if you get into the confidence of some of his ablest assistants, 
they will admit that their chief concern is the smoldering "com- 
munist ideas" held by the intellectuals, students and upper-class 
cholos, and that their programs of public works and social 
legislation are planned with the idea of counteracting these 
other influences. New irrigation projects have been instituted 
in various sections so as to bring more land into cultivation. 
Serious attention is being given the live-stock industry, but 
one of the principal innovations is the program of social welfare, 
one of the most advanced plans to be found anywhere on the 
continent. First of all, social insurance has been made obligatory 
for men and women workers and has already been put into 
effect in the larger industrial districts. This means, of course, 
that all foreign industries, such as the large oil and mining 
enterprises, were the first brought into the picture. The social 
insurance applies to sickness, maternity, incapacity, old age and 
death. The beneficiaries are hired men of not more than sixty 
years who draw annual pay of not more than 3000 soles or 
$5255 apprentices even though they draw no pay; homeworkers 
and domestic employees in institutions and business houses. 
Insurance is paid by the worker, the employer and the state, 
three and five-tenths per cent by the employer, one and five- 
tenths per cent by the worker and one per cent by the state. 
To date 230,000 workers are on the rolls and it is planned to 
apply the system gradually throughout the nation. 

Various services, which the insurance is to provide, include 
hospitals, clinics, recreational facilities, and so on. Already work 
has begun on one great hospital in the heart of Lima, and 
plans for another are being projected in other cities. Special 
plans are on paper to extend these hospitals and medical services 
to rural communities, as well as to cities and towns. The pro- 

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New -Roads to Riches 

gram Is so elaborate that it will take some time to put it into 
effect. In fact, it is revolutionary in scope. 

The new social and labor laws are designed to benefit, or 
are already benefiting, not only laborers employed by the large 
industries but those employed in agricultural pursuits as well. 
Some improvements are apparent on a few of the big haciendas, 
even if much of it is purely paternalistic, such as the system 
in vogue at Hacienda Chiclin in the Chicama valley. But it 
will be a long time, I fear, before these various benefits are made 
effective on behalf of the Indians of the far interior. 

The Indians, who constitute more than half of the total 
population of the country, are the trying problem of Peru. 
There are idealists, some of them deeply sincere, but most of 
them impractical, ready to lead these children of the ancients 
in revolt against their rulers and "their betters." The outstand- 
ing and most intelligent among these leaders is Victor Raul 
Haya de la Torre, founder and head of Alianza Popular Revo- 
lucionaria Americana, the Popular American Revolutionary 
Alliance, or the APRA movement. In fact, the APRA is so pow- 
erful that the government has not dared dispose of Haya de la 
Torre, although it has succeeded in suppressing or at least 
driving the organization itself to cover. There are many who 
would like to do away with the founder but wiser heads have 
insisted that to make a martyr of him would be adding fuel 
to the flame, and their insistence has prevailed so far. 

Interestingly enough, although his movement and its philos- 
ophy are both Indian, Haya de la Torre himself is not an 
Indian. He comes of an old aristocratic Spanish family of the 
north. Having studied abroad and travelled both in Europe 
and the United States, he is highly educated, sincere and 
amazingly convincing. He grieves over the historic injustice 
to the Indians and the less fortunate cholos y and the fact that 
so little has ever been done for them. He tries to be not only 
logical but practical in his program for the salvation of these 

[350] 



Peru 

unfortunates. He writes with great facility and speaks elo- 
quently and honestly, even if some of his theories and argu- 
ments do not always stand up completely under strict analysis. 

I talked to Haya de la Torre first in the heyday of the APRA 
movement, soon after Benavides came to office. He had a 
program. First of all, if and when his party came into power, 
he would give democracy to everybody. The fact that ninety- 
eight per cent of the people to whom he would give democracy 
could neither read nor write in Spanish, or any other language, 
and their ancient Quechua language was not a written language, 
did not seem to him a great handicap. There would be, along 
with democracy for all, education for all although how people 
are to practice pure democracy successfully while waiting to 
climb the ladder from abysmal illiteracy to intellectuality was 
not explained. Large industry, which to a great extent means 
foreign industry, would be made to contribute more to the 
community and to the worker, even though he observed that 
in most cases foreign industry already paid the best wages, 
provided better living conditions, than any other enterprises 
in the nation. He was going to inaugurate great irrigation 
projects, more extensive than any that already existed, so there 
might be more farm lands for every one who wished to farm. 
Who would furnish the money for such projects and where the 
water would come from wasn't altogether clear. And as I have 
already pointed out in another chapter, the great problem in 
the country insofar as agriculture is concerned is the problem 
of water. In most sections not enough water comes down from 
the mountains to supply the acreage now under cultivation. He 
pointed out that a small number of Peru's 6,500,000 people, 
probably not more than 5000 families, own and control prac- 
tically all of the irrigated land, a fact which nobody can deny 
of course. 

Under aprismo there would be private estates, of course, but 
they would be rigidly regulated and operated for the equal 

[351] 



New Roads to Riches 

benefit of the workers as well as the owner. Most of the land, 
however, would go back to the people, not necessarily individ- 
ually, but under practically the same age-old "communistic" 
system that prevailed before the conquest. Nor is the word 
communism to be interpreted in the Russian sense. Haya de la 
Torre's communistic ideas were not derived from Russia. They 
are native Peruvian, not greatly different from those which 
prevailed in Mexico under the Aztecs. This system still pre- 
vails in some sections today, such as the comunidades of the 
Lambayeque department heretofore mentioned. The general 
idea seems to be that individuals would own the land in 
common, each working a certain tract and disposing of his crops, 
but all would share equally in the general responsibilities and 
obligations of the community from the standpoint of its eco- 
nomic and social welfare. The most amazing thing was the idea 
that all these things could be brought about without violent 
revolution. Haya de la Torre does not, or did not at that time, 
advocate or countenance violence. To me he even deplored it, 
and I believe he was sincere. Unfortunately, in the brief mo- 
ments when his followers have gained the upper hand anywhere, 
as in the 1932 outbreak in Trujillo, they have carried violence to 
the limit. I have found numbers of foreigners who can elucidate 
and make perfectly logical the ideas of aprismo. But I have not 
found a disinterested Peruvian who can explain it satisfactorily. 
One Peruvian economist suggested that "unfortunately many 
foreigners, themselves familiar with Russian economy, read into 
afrismo their own ideas and their understanding of what Lenin 
tried to put into practice in Russia, instead of the teachings 
of Haya de la Torre himself. 3 ' 

It is certain that two forces are struggling for supremacy in 
Peru. The old conservative landowners are trying desperately 
to hold on to power, and maintain the economic system handed 
down from the conquest against the revolutionary idealism of 
aprismo. The present Benavides program is a desperate effort 

[352] 



Peru 

to effect a compromise and to make a capitalistic, and insofar as 
landholding is concerned, a feudalistic system liberal enough 
to benefit all the people so that aprismo or some other radical 
theory may be staved off. As in Mexico, although not to the 
same extent, something in the Indians of Peru is beginning to 
stir. They have seen flickerings before their eyes ; they haven't 
seen them distinctly, but "only through a glass darkly." 

Travel the Sierras. Cross the mountains as I have and on 
every cliff, the edge of every mountain wall, an Indian will be 
standing motionless and silent, looking out over the valleys 
below. He will see every stranger that passes. He may have 
his alpacas or llamas grazing near by, but while they graze he 
looks out upon the passing world. He sees all things but still 
regards what he sees in silence. He deals with the palefaces, 
works for them, but he does not trust them. He still regards 
all Spaniards and other whites with suspicion. 

As one old Yankee, long resident in Peru, who made his 
stake and is now taking his ease back at home, told me recently, 
"The Indian will eventually rise up against the whites, against 
the foreigners, against the big hacendados. He probably won't 
win at first, but he will try again. He may be subdued for a 
time, but in the end he will triumph and possess his own 
country." 

Which would mean another Peruvian death and resurrection. 



[353] 



VI 

The World in Peru 



*TRANGE as it may seem, a young Irishman who began his 
career as a clerk for a trading company in the romantic land 
of the Incas, and who continued until death one of its tycoons 
of trade and industry, was twice Mayor of New York City. 

In the eighteen-fifties and sixties Peru's Guano Islands were 
the rendezvous for a large portion of the world's windjammers 
and square riggers. Annually a formidable armada of these 
picturesque old ships sailed away from Peruvian waters with 
hundreds of thousands of tons of bird droppings with which 
to fertilize lands and crops throughout the world. Having 
arrived from the snakeless realm of St. Patrick in 1850, Wil- 
liam Russell Grace, whom fate had selected to forage in many 
fields later on, very soon identified himself with the business 
of furnishing provisions for these ships. However, the high 
honors that came to him later might have passed him severely 
by except for a little incident of those adventurous days. 

In the second year of our memorable mixup between North 
and South, a group of Yankee cruisers scouting the Pacific 
for Confederate raiders wandered into Callao minus food, sup- 
plies, or cold cash. At that time the South was having its in- 
nings and while Peruvian bankers and merchants graciously 
sympathized, they were not willing to take the checks of a losing 
government. Paymaster Eldridge tramped the streets of Lima 

[354] 



Peru 

for days apparently at the end of his tether, his drafts un~ 
honored and unsung, when luckily he ran into young Grace. 

"I am in frightful difficulty, 35 he hastened to confide. 

"You are in no difficulty at all," replied the young Irishman 
with generous and characteristic impulse. "I'll get you all the 
money you need." 

Twenty years later W. R. Grace had established head offices 
for his South American activities in the city of New York. 
What was more he had ingratiated himself into the most ex- 
clusive of Democratic political circles, and flung his sombrero 
into the ring as candidate for mayor, which "piece of presump- 
tion" caused some of the oldsters to raise their shaggy eyebrows. 

"Foreigner," said some. 

"Peruvian merchant," said others. 

Whereupon Mr. Eldridge, by that time Chief Paymaster of 
the entire United States Navy, unforgetful of the time when 
the aspiring politician had snatched him from pinching cir- 
cumstances, took his pen in hand and wrote to the newspapers. 
Happily the New Yorkers were still near enough to the great 
rebellion to be fervent in their love of the Union and its 
saviors. So they rushed out and voted for the "noble and 
patriotic" adopted son. 

But a Peruvian business man he was and remained. From 
that time until now his name has remained as much a fixture 
in Lima as the name Pizarro or Calderon, and the House of 
Grace as much an institution in Peru and the neighboring 
republics as it is in Hanover Square in Manhattan. 

From a one-gallused supply business for ships that called 
at Callao and the Chincha Islands more than eighty years ago, 
the Grace Company has grown to be one of the most ramified 
business organizations in the northern and western regions of 
the southern continent. Its merchant marine no longer consists 
of a few old sailing ships that indolently skim the southern 
waters around the Horn to Chile and Peru in eighty to a 

[355] 



New Roads to Riches 

hundred days. A dozen or more steam and motor liners, some 
of them among the finest and most modern in the world, keep 
fast schedules between United States harbors and the ports 
of the Caribbean, and Pacific South America. Airplanes which 
it operates and jointly owns take the mails twice a week through 
half a dozen countries between the Canal Zone and Monte- 
video, Uruguay. While its transportation activities are a formi- 
dable enterprise, its banks supply capital and credit in the va- 
-ious cities of these regions. Importing and exporting houses, fac- 
tories, general stores, plantations and even chain groceries up 
and down all the Andean countries, fly the Grace flag. It is not 
only one of the oldest American firms doing business in South 
America, but it is one of the few Yankee firms that operates on 
the old British trading company plan. 

Without any attempt to weigh its operating faults or virtues, 
that is, its money-making aspects, if any foreign trade methods 
are likely to survive nationalism or expropriation in these days 
of nationalistic tendencies in most of the countries to the south 
of us, it will be those operated on the Grace plan, firms that 
buy as well as sell. Yankee business and industry are highly 
specialized. Therefore, most of our organizations doing business 
in the Other Americas are also highly specialized. They appoint 
agents to specialize in the products of one industry, or them- 
selves operate branch houses for the same purpose. Moreover, 
most of them are interested only in selling. Occasionally some 
organization is set up for the purpose of buying one particular 
product, coffee, copper, hard woods, and so on. But the Grace 
Company buys and sells nearly everything, imports and ex- 
ports, trades within the country in which it does business. In 
bad times and good it goes continuously on. If business falls off 
in one line it pushes something else. It buys and exports, helps 
the country and the people to dispose of their products. It 
identifies itself with the countries in which it operates. Many 
of its high officers, partners and managers are natives. 

[356] 



Peru 

Anyway, these incidents and facts concerning the Irish-Peru- 
vian Yankee, and the unique organization bearing his name 
appropriately serve up several subjects which just now excite 
the press, the commentators, business men and the inner circles 
of government. What is the outlook for United States business, 
industrial investments and trade in Peru? Are the totalitarian 
countries making commercial advances at our expense? What 
effects will the victory of Fascist arms in Spain have upon the 
country which was for so. long the center of Spanish rule in 
South America, and the scene of the last battle between seekers 
of independence and soldiers of the motherland on the southern 
continent? 

The importance of the first question is evident when it is 
realized that of the $300,000,000 worth of foreign investments 
in the country, two-thirds of them have been made by United 
States interests and firms. This amount is entirely aside from 
the $100,000,000 worth of defaulted Peruvian bonds held by 
United States citizens. Mention has already been made that 
American capital not only developed but is still prominent in 
airway transportation, in the copper and silver industries, and 
has shared with British interests in the development of the 
vast oil operations. The Lima telephone system and the All 
America Cables are operated by the International Telephone 
and Telegraph Company. 

Britain's stake in Peru ranks second to that of Uncle Sam. 
Some of the oldest foreign trading companies in Peru, aside 
from W. R. Grace and Company, with ramifications in every 
city and town, are British-owned. In the field of transportation 
and communication she not only operates and controls the 
greater portion as well as the best and most important of the 
railroads, owns the West Coast Cable Company, and through 
the Marconi Company, also operates the Peruvian Postal Sys- 
tem. The head of the Marconi Company, a Jewish gentleman 
bearing the Irish name of McNulty, directs Peruvian radio 

[357] 



New Roads to Riches 

broadcasting. For those concerned about Fascist and Nazi propa- 
ganda, it should be reassuring that whenever a citizen or out- 
sider in Lima wants to make a telephone call, send a cable, 
write a letter or postal card, broadcast or put on a radio pro- 
gram, he has to resort to facilities which are under the vigilant 
eyes of Uncle Sam and John Bull, as well as the national 
government. 

The two English-speaking countries are all-powerful in the 
fields of industry and investments. Their capital not only con- 
trols the large basic resources, the means of transportation and 
communication, but they are and have long been predominant 
in the trade and commerce of the country. Last year we sold 
Peru more than thirty-eight per cent of all the goods she 
bought in the outside world, while Britain bought from her a 
little less than twenty per cent of everything she exported. 

Three and four years ago cursory observers were excited 
about Japanese influences in Peru. Next to California, Peru has 
received more Japanese and other Oriental immigrants than any 
other region of the Americas bordering on the Pacific. About 
30,000 Japanese have settled in the country. For a time the 
Nipponese waged a lively trade campaign, the net effect of 
which was to frighten and discourage many Yankee salesmen 
and business men. In 1935 and 1936 if Japanese products had 
sold as successfully in Peru as Japanese propaganda sold in the 
United States, there would now be little use for this or any 
other country to attempt to sell its goods in that country. We are 
told so often that merchants of the Mikado had taken the 
markets of all South America that few people took the trouble 
to investigate the matter. 

I studied the Peruvian situation carefully at the time. On the 
surface all the evidence indicated that the Japs were making 
great inroads. Japanese goods were on display in every city, 
while every day the Bolivar Hotel dining room had a large 
round table "Reserved for the Japanese Trade Mission." There 

[358] 



Peru 

was even a Japanese Chamber of Commerce, with a smiling little 
secretary who reeled off Spanish with the same grace and ease 
as any other Oriental diplomat. Local newspapers were full of 
advertisements, stories and pictures concerning Nipponese of- 
ficials, visitors and activities. 

American salesmen returning from Peru, Chile or Colombia 
at that time were full of despair. After a trip to the leading 
west coast cities the foreign manager of one of our largest 
cotton-goods concerns told me there was no longer any use to 
try to compete with low-priced Japanese fabrics in these markets. 
Indeed, according to many commercial salesmen, it was almost 
useless to compete in any other line, for no matter what the 
product, the Japanese could offer it for less. 

Of course some Japanese goods were being sold. They were 
being sold not merely because of low prices, but as the result 
of high-pressure salesmanship and diplomatic ingenuity. How- 
ever, none of the important local merchants made any large 
purchases. The Peruvians, like most Latin American mer- 
chants, are not only conservative, slow to respond to high- 
pressure salesmanship, as American business men have learned 
only too well, but they are more suspicious than most other 
people of propaganda, whether commercial or otherwise. In 
order to introduce their goods into the country, it was necessary 
for the Japanese to own their own shops. Even then, to in- 
duce customers to forsake other stores, ingenious sales methods 
were resorted to. Invariably they displayed prominently Ger- 
man, English and American products along with Japanese 
products, and the Occidental goods were always offered at lower 
prices than they could be bought elsewhere. A tube of American 
tooth paste which sold, say, for forty cents in regular stores, 
could be bought for twenty-five cents in the Japanese stores. 
A cake of extra-fine, sweet-smelling American soap, which 
cost fifteen cents in the native stores, was on display in the 
Japanese shops for ten cents a cake. 

[359] 



New Roads to Riches 

Naturally most of these products were sold below cost, the 
idea being that once a customer got the habit of buying articles 
cheaper in Japanese stores than elsewhere, it would be easy to 
switch him to Japanese products, which cost even less than 
the ones to which he had become accustomed. Indeed, the Japa- 
nese product often resembled the European or American prod- 
uct. Because of the lack of up-to-date trademark laws in most 
of the Latin American countries, it is possible for Japanese 
manufacturers to prepare their wares in similar packages, if not 
to duplicate altogether the products of other countries. 

For a time these stores prospered. Japanese imports into 
Peru increased. Interestingly enough, these imports consisted 
not only of cotton textiles, rayons, silks, cosmetics, electrical 
bulbs and other fixtures which might be described as Japanese 
staples, but there were also all manner of heavier manufactures 
and radio receiving sets. At one time Peruvians were buying 
Japanese cement, sheet iron, nails, iron and other steel products, 
and buying them for 25 per cent less than superior American 
products. 

About that time Japanese manufacturers startled the motor- 
car world with the announcement that they proposed to offer 
in the South American markets a small, entirely new type 
automobile called the Datsun, which would sell for more than 
thirty per cent less than any other small car in the world. This 
story was broadcast throughout the United States, headlined in 
every important newspaper from Maine to California. Maga- 
zines and rotogravure sections of the great Sunday papers even 
carried pictures of it. That was more than three years ago. To 
date some five low-priced Japanese passenger cars have been 
imported into Peru, and all by Japanese citizens resident in 
the country. Nor are there any on display. 

Peruvians not only learned that Japanese electrical bulbs 
and cosmetics were of inferior quality, but the government has 
raised barriers against cotton goods and other Japanese manu- 

[360] 



Peru 

factures, because they were competing with their own textile 
mills and young growing industries. The cold fact is that 
Japan's share in Peru's trade for the last two years has aver- 
aged less than two per cent of the whole. 

At the moment the number of Japanese in the country is 
actually decreasing at the rate of 1000 a year. Many have gone 
home to join the fight against the Chinese, while the failure 
of the trade campaign and the growing restrictions raised by the 
Peruvian government have brought such discouragements they 
have moved on elsewhere. Even the suicide rate among them 
has been- increasing of late. 

Following the Japanese came the Italian and Nazi scare, 
which is still prominently played up in the newspapers in this 
country and by dozens of writers whose principal acquaintance 
with Peru and western South America was gained from the 
trip to the Eighth International Conference of American States 
held at Lima in December, 1938. To any one going to Lima 
for the first time there are many conspicuous evidences of 
Italian influences on every hand, including the famous Italian 
school on the picturesque Avenida Arequipa, Italian hos- 
pitals, the Italian Art Gallery and many palatial homes of 
Italians. 

Descendants of Romulus and Remus give light to Pizarro's 
old capital from plants powered by waters which flow down 
through pipes and aqueducts from the icy peaks of the Andes. 
Last year the Italians erected an airplane factory near the gov- 
ernment flying field of Las Palmas where Caproni planes were 
to be manufactured for the Peruvian armed forces. Peru, like 
Venezuela and Ecuador, has engaged an Italian aviation as well 
as a police commission to instruct its army flyers and to train 
its already efficient and splendidly equipped national police 
force. California has its Italian banking wizard, A. P. Giannini. 
Peru has its Gino Salocchi, whose Banco Italiano is not only 
the largest private financial institution in the nation, but fi- 

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New Roads to Riches 

nances a goodly portion of local Peruvian industry and agri- 
culture. 

Impressive as these activities may seem, it should be noted 
that for the most part the Italians in Peru are old settlers, and 
most of their financial interests are of long standing. Gino 
Salocchi's Italian bank was established exactly half a century 
ago. It was already a purely business and money-making 
Peruvian concern just about the time Mussolini was emerging 
from the diaper age. As for Italy's trade with Peru, she stands 
in about the same position as the merchants of the Mikado. 
Her total Peruvian imports and exports in 1937 were on a par 
with those of the Japanese, slightly more than two per cent 
of the country's total trade. 

In spite of their factory, very few Italian planes have been 
added to the Peruvian army, while several orders for military 
aircraft have been placed in this country in the past few months. 
Recently when the government-sponsored commercial line 
wanted planes suitable for flying from the national capital to 
the Amazonian metropolis of Iquitos, it bought them in this 
country. In fact, four large eight-passenger, twin-motored 
amphibians have just been flown from Long Island to Lima. 

The pretentious Italian school in Lima was founded forty 
years ago, and the Art Gallery was presented by the 13,000 
Italian citizens of the country in 1921 on the occasion of the 
nation's one hundredth anniversary of independence. At that 
time dozens of other countries including Great Britain, the 
United States, and even China presented similar gifts, monu- 
ments and memorials. And while Peruvian military flyers and 
policemen are under the tutelage of Italian aviators, a United 
States Naval Mission has been on duty with the Peruvian navy 
for more than twenty years. American naval officers even estab- 
lished and organized the system of instruction in the National 
Naval Academy. And speaking of schools, the most popular 
foreign educational institution in the country, the one patronized 

[362] 



Peru 

by the most prominent Peruvian families, is the Villa Maria 
School, maintained by Philadelphian nuns. 

German investment in Peru is represented by a few small fac- 
tories, a branch bank or two, the recently established Condor 
Airline, several trading companies and a few haciendas, includ- 
ing the Casa Grande properties in the northern Chicama valley 
owned by the Gildemeisters. It is in the field of buying and 
selling that Hitler's subjects are conspicuous. Japanese trade 
methods are not only less successful but, compared with those 
of the Germans, positively conservative. 

The Germans go out into the commercial byways and hedges 
and cultivate the ancient art of barter, exchanging Nazi-manu- 
factured goods for Peruvian sugar, cotton, hides and other 
raw materials. The largest, shiniest and newest omnibuses that 
swish up and down the broad boulevards of the city are made 
in Germany. But in order to sell them they had to agree to 
establish a shop and provide trained mechanics to maintain and 
keep them in perfect repair for two years. 

The Peruvian foreign office was in the market for a hundred 
new typewriters for use at the recent Pan-American Congress. 
Although the gathering was called to deliberate on purely 
American matters, this delicate fact did not deter German man- 
ufacturers from offering to better any proposition or quotation 
made by any competitor, Yankee or European. They offered 
the use of the machines absolutely free of charge during the 
entire conference. Afterward the government could buy them 
at second-hand rates, and what is more, pay for them in Peru- 
vian exports instead of cold cash. However, the typewriters 
were finally bought in the United States. 

When it comes to trading the Germans are just as happy to 
compete with their fellow Fascists as they are with any other 
foreigners. In 1937 while the small group of Italian Fascist 
sympathizers, mostly those with connections in Italy, steam- 
ship agents, members of the air and police missions, were 

[363] 



New Roads to Riches 

going in heavily for ceremony, receptions and placing wreaths 
on the tomb of Jorge Chavez, the Germans were busy buying 
exactly five times more products from the Peruvians, and sell- 
ing them twelve times more machinery, household utensils and 
trinkets than their colleagues were able to do. 

In view of the comment which has been made upon the fact 
that Enrique Gildemeister, member of the Case Grande Gilde- 
meister family, has recently served as Peruvian minister to 
Berlin, the comment of a Nazi diplomat in Lima made to me 
recently is rather interesting. 

a Of course," he said, "it may seem significant that a man 
with a German name should represent the country in Berlin, 
even though he comes of an old family and was born in Peru. 
On the other hand the preponderance of Peruvian officials 
trained in United States colleges and universities is very sig- 
nificant. 

"Don't forget," he went on a little bitterly, "that the for- 
eign minister who presided over the Eighth Pan-American 
Conference was formerly on the staff of Harvard University. 
The Chief of Procotol, Doctor Ortiz de Zevallos, who pre- 
sents all ambassadors, ministers and other callers to the Presi- 
dent, is a graduate of Cornell. Santiago Bedoya, another im- 
portant attache, spent more than fifteen years in this country, 
and is married to an American wife, while the chief of the 
Propaganda Section of the Foreign Office is also a graduate of 
an American university. Why, you can't call on any depart- 
ment of the government hardly without meeting Yankee in- 
fluence." 

It is also significant that while in recent years the Germans 
have been able to make some trade gains in Peru, they have 
made them at the expense of Great Britain and not of the 
United States. United States trade with Peru has been continu- 
ally increasing in recent years. Besides, it should be remem- 
bered that before the World War Germany occupied second 

[364] 



Peru 

place to Great Britain in the commerce of all South America. 
The gains she has made in recent years have been in regions 
and sections whose trade she once controlled or shared with 
Great Britain. Even so, her share of trade in Peru today is still 
much less than it was prior to 1914. 

The newest worry about totalitarian influence in our neigh- 
boring countries is the effect that the Franco victories in Spain 
may have upon governments and peoples. Already there are 
rumors that the little Spanish Generalissimo is preparing a 
tremendous propaganda campaign not only for the purpose 
of regaining lost Spanish favor in the various countries, but 
to assist Italy and Germany in furthering totalitarian doc- 
trines. 

If this were true, it would, in the first place, be an admission 
upon the part of Hitler and Mussolini that their own efforts in 
this direction have failed. In the second place if, with superior 
organization long and highly trained propaganda experts, pow- 
erful short-wave radio facilities and the desperate necessity for 
trade expansion they could not make any headway, what can 
Franco do with a shattered country, a demoralized population 
and a chaotic economic machinery? And since the first neces- 
sity of a dictator is to maintain himself, all these home problems 
are going to keep little Franco more than occupied in Spain 
for some time to come. 

Incidentally, the Spanish Loyalists themselves, hoping, of 
course, to further their own ends, were the authors of this idea. 
They were the first to embark upon a campaign to spread preju- 
dice and confusion in Latin America and to create misunder- 
standings between the peoples of those republics and the United 
States. Long before the collapse of the Madrid government, 
the Spanish Loyalist Ambassador in Washington said, "There 
can be no doubt of the influence of race, thought and ideals 
exercised by Spain over all South American countries. Should 
they see Spain influenced by such dictatorial countries as Ger- 

[365] 



New Roads to Riches 

many and Italy, the ideologies and political influences of those 
two European nations will enter South America by way of 
Spain and have a negative effect on the democratic spirit which 
the United States has always sought and maintained in the 
New World." 

There are people in the other Americas, and especially in 
Peru, who cherish their Spanish traditions, their Spanish cul- 
ture, the language, literature and music handed down by the 
Motherland, just as many old families in the United States 
treasure their British tradition. At the Plaza Theatre in New 
York, frequented by the reactionaries of the Park Avenue dis- 
trict, many members of the audience are always ready to greet 
with wild applause a news picture of the King of England and 
remain silent when one of the President of the United States 
appears. In the case of President Roosevelt they hiss of course. 
This class in Peru is a very small minority of the popula- 
tion, but unlike Anglophile reactionary North Americans, they 
would be quick to resent Spanish interference in the political 
affairs of their country. They would be the first to condemn 
any meddling upon the part of Franco. It should also be borne 
in mind that these old Spanish families in Peru and all the 
other countries from Venezuela to Bolivia, were the people who 
led the fight against Spain, who chased the viceroys out. It 
was not the Indians or the Mestizos who led the fight for 
independence. The Bolivars, the Sucres, the San Martins, the 
Torre Tagles and most of the other famous leaders of the wars 
of independence, were Spanish aristocrats. As well expect the 
descendants of the Adamses in Massachusetts or the Byrds in 
Virginia to welcome British influence at Washington as to 
think that old Spanish families in Peru would countenance 
Franco's interference with their affairs. 

Naturally all of the Latin American countries were inter- 
ested in the outcome of the Spanish War, just as were the 
people of the United States. They sympathized with the grief- 

[366] 



Peru 

stricken women and children. They looked with horror upon 
men of the same flesh and blood tearing one another to pieces. 
They mourned the destruction of Spanish culture and civiliza- 
tion. They gave aid and comfort to the homeless and suffering 
wherever and whenever possible. Their embassies and legations 
in Madrid furnished asylum for many Republicans, and with 
one accord afterward defied Franco's efforts to have them 
turned over to his firing-squad courts-martial. But no one coun- 
try of theirs became in any way involved in the conflict. 

Individual citizens or officials favored one side or the other. 
In the last year of the war Colombian sympathies swung heav- 
ily toward the Republicans. In most of the other countries, 
including Peru, sentiment among Conservatives was on the 
side of the Rebels. But no government anywhere between 
Panama and Patagonia gave any material assistance to either 
side. Not one of the governments would have lasted overnight 
if it had tried to compel a single one of its soldiers or citizens 
to shoulder a gun and cross the Atlantic to fight. 

And any Spanish politician, statesman or diplomat, who does 
not know this, is either kidding himself or has never set foot 
on the soil of the Other Americas. Nor has the outcome of 
the war had one iota of effect upon the relationship between 
these countries and the United States. Neither Venezuelans, 
nor Colombians, nor Peruvians are more pro- Yankee, or less 
pro-Yankee. 

It is true that pro-Nazi Germans and pro-Fascist Italians, 
and, I repeat, mostly diplomatic representatives and agents of 
Italian and German steamship companies or commercial houses, 
with headquarters back home, tried to exploit the Franco angle 
of Spanish South American relations. In May, 1938, I arrived 
in Lima at about the same time Captain Eugenio Montes, 
Franco's special good- will scout, arrived to give a series of lec- 
tures and otherwise drum up sympathy for the cause of his 
master. Wherever he went, appeared or spoke, Italian and 

[367] 



New Roads to Riches 

German diplomats were present. In many cases the events or 
occasions were of the latter's making. 

Forty-eight hours after Captain Montes arrived he joined 
the Italian and German ministers with their staffs, as well as 
the Papal Nuncio, in a gala -fiesta in commemoration of Italian 
Empire Day, which incidentally coincided with the anniversary 
of Mussolini's march on Rome. On the 2ist of May, the 
Peruvian-Italian Cultural Institute celebrated the founding of 
Rome, the ceremonies taking place in the presence of the Papal 
Nuncio, the ministers of Germany and Italy and Captain 
Montes. Next day the same dignitaries gave a formal reception 
in honor of the Spanish captain. 

Curiously enough, on all of these occasions Peruvian officials 
were conspicuous by their absence. For the most part only rou- 
tine officials were in attendance so that each of the ceremonies 
took on the aspect of a purely private gathering. It is significant 
that with the exception of the recent United States Ambassador 
to Peru, the Honorable Laurence A. Steinhardt, now our am- 
bassador to Moscow, not a single prominent North American, 
diplomat or business man, with more than two years' experi- 
ence in the country, has been in the slightest worried about the 
permanent effects of Hitler's, Mussolini's or Franco's propa- 
ganda. The ambassador, new to Latin America, as well as to 
official diplomacy, and plainly possessed of a Nazi-Fascist 
phobia, was outspoken in his suspicions of most Italians and 
Germans or of any Peruvian who had dealings with Italians or 
Germans. Yet members of his own official household, most of 
them men with long experience in Latin American posts, 
thought his suspicions exaggerated, if not wholly without foun- 
dation. 

The substance of what I heard from the lips of Americans, 
business men and officials, as well as from natives and for- 
eigners everywhere, was best summed up by one of the oldest 
and most important Americans in Peru. "Worried about the 

[368] 



Peru 

Francoistas, the Black Shirts and the Brown Shirts?" he said. 
"Why, all we need do is to keep them talking and saluting. 
Peruvians already realize what their line is. Since they started 
talking the Peruvian newspapers have been publishing head- 
lines in praise of Pan-Americanism. I have even lived to see 
the day when a leading Peruvian newspaper says: 'The Ameri- 
can navy is the shield of our institutions.' 

"Yes," he went on, "let them tell the Peruvians how won- 
derful they are. If we keep quiet, and attend to our business, 
the Peruvians will continue to speak and think well of us. 

"Besides," he concluded, with a stunner, "isn't it a little 
naive, not to say childish, for a mere tourist, or a round- 
tripper, to suppose that any South American government or 
citizen wants to be taken over by a foreigner, any more than 
you or I want anybody with a protruding chin, or trick mus- 
tache, to take over the United States?" 

Some of our people here at home who entertain grave sus- 
picions about various European isms penetrating South Amer- 
ica have fallen into several unfortunate habits. One is the 
tendency to apply Russian communistic, Fascist or Nazi termi- 
nologies to South American social or political movements that 
have long existed and which, except for a few individuals, have 
always been appraised by the people themselves as merely 
radical, liberal or conservative. Naturally some of the political 
and social theories existing among various groups in these coun- 
tries are similar to some of the theories of Russian communism, 
Italian Fascism or German Nazism. But then some of the 
theories of communism are found in the teachings of Jesus, 
while here and there, in M ein Kampf, as well as in some of 
the phrases of II Duce's eloquent efforts, is phraseology not 
far different from some of that in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence and the writings of Thomas Jefferson. 

It is also the invariable habit of the itinerant traveller or 
observer fresh-from-Europe, or fresh-from-reading-ali-the- 

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New Roads to Riches 

jargon-and-catch-phrases that have emanated from Europe, to 
be unusually impressed with the fact that there are great num- 
bers of people of Italian or German birth in these countries, or 
people with German or Italian names holding high positions 
in various governments. He allows himself to draw false con- 
clusions from these facts, forgetting that there are little Italys 
in New York and Detroit, little Germanys in Chicago, Newark 
or Milwaukee, and that there are federal judges with Italian 
and German names, that the great cities of New York and 
San Francisco have mayors of Italian ancestry. He does not 
realize that there are more people of German birth in New 
York and Chicago than there are in all of South America. 

When he hears some one in Lima listening to a German or 
Italian short-wave radio broadcast from Berlin or Rome, he 
jumps to the conclusion that people are swallowing, without 
chewing, European totalitarian propaganda. He passes up the 
fact that the speeches of Hitler and Mussolini are usually re- 
broadcast verbatim throughout the entire United States. A 
little investigation would reveal that in the city of Chicago 
commercial broadcasts go out many hours of the day and night 
over local stations in German and Italian, as well as several 
other European languages. Most such observers have recently 
commented at length about Italian and German clubs, news- 
papers and magazines published in the Italian and German 
languages in the South American countries. But they over- 
looked the fact that in Lima, as well as other cities south of 
Panama, there are American and English clubs and newspapers 
and magazines published in English. As for Panama, mention 
has been made earlier about the two leading newspapers of the 
republic being published in English as well as in Spanish. 
The American and Anglo-Saxon clubs in most of these cities 
are the most exclusive among such organizations. The imposing 
country club in Lima, the finest of the city and perhaps the 
finest in South America, was founded, built and is maintained 

[370] 



Peru 

by Americans. And if any one present at the reception given 
there by the American Society of Peru in honor of Secretary 
Cordell Hull and the American delegation to the last Pan- 
American Conference still doubts the tendency of Yankees to 
stick together and remain Yankee, he was blind, deaf and 
dumb. 

"You Yankees amuse me/' one of the highest officials of the 
Peruvian Government told me recently. "You read so much 
and listen to so much radio comment about European affairs, 
about Fascism and Nazism, and become so imbued with the 
jargon and catch phrases emanating from the totalitarian coun- 
tries of the Old World, that every German and Italian you find 
down here is wearing horns. Just because you see an Italian 
flag on an Italian business house, or a swastika on a German 
trading company, or hear people in the streets talking Italian 
or German, is no reason to believe we are threatened with 
Nazism or Fascism. Have you never travelled in the big cities 
of your own country, and can't you understand that we think 
of our country just as you do of the United States? To a Peru- 
vian his country is the greatest country in the world and he 
isn't sitting down holding his hands waiting for anybody to 
come in from the outside and try to rule him." 



LIVIA 



I 

The Lake in the Sky 



SPANISH traveller to the Andes once called Bolivia the 
Switzerland of South America, "a landlocked country, cut off 
from the outside world, with jagged mountains etched against 
the sky, lakes as blue as indigo, and people who dress as color- 
fully as the Tyrolean Highlanders." 

Except that it is geographically hemmed in from tidewater 
and has no use for a navy, I find little similarity between the 
third largest country on the southern continent and the tiny 
Old World republic. If you multiplied Switzerland by forty, 
made its tallest mountains a third higher and ten times as 
bleak and rugged, poured down among them crystal-clear 
ice water enough to make one lake 3220 square miles in area, 
over a fifth the size of Switzerland itself, and another of over 
a thousand square miles, put in half a dozen old Spanish 
colonial cities and towns, scores of primitive villages, and peo- 
pled them with a mere sprinkling of Spanish aristocrats, a half 
million cholos and two and a half million descendants of al- 
most legendary races, you might have something slightly re- 
sembling a Switzerland of South America. 

No two authorities or officials, foreign or native, agree on 
Bolivian statistics of populations and areas. But more accurate 
comparisons, along with more logical contrasts, could be found 
closer home. Spread Bolivia out over the middle Rocky Moun- 

[375] 



New Roads to Riches 

tain and southwestern plains section of our own country and 
it would cover roughly the states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, 
Arizona, New Mexico and a portion of Texas. The great 
Bolivian altfylanO) or plateau, averaging twelve and thirteen 
thousand feet above the sea, would be almost as high as Utah's 
loftiest mountains, and the flat, hot Texas plains, with their 
mesquite and sage brush, would be a highland heaven com- 
pared with the tropical Chaco lowlands. Titicaca would occupy 
about the same position, except that it is much larger than 
Great Salt Lake, and the Bolivian metropolis of La Paz would 
be in about the same location as the Utah capital. 

Bolivia has its deep valleys and canyons, deeper and wider 
than those of the Colorado. Its immensely rich mining towns 
of Oruro, Potosi and others are no less active than those of 
Wyoming and Utah, The oil wells in its eastern foothills cor- 
respond in location with those of Amarillo and the Panhandle. 
The Pilcomayo River rising in central Bolivia and flowing 
southeastward eventually becomes the frontier with neighbor- 
ing Argentina, as the Rio Grande marks the border between 
Texas and Mexico. The principal rivers of Wyoming and Colo- 
rado flow northward and eastward into the Missouri and then 
the Mississippi. Likewise Bolivia's leading rivers, the Madre de 
Dios, the Beni and the Mamore flow northeastward into the 
Madeira, which eventually joins the Amazon. 

Shut in from the sea on all sides by much more highly de- 
veloped nations, all the avenues of transportation and com- 
munication, both land and air, into or out of Bolivia, lead 
through alien territory. It is impossible to ship a sack of flour, 
or a case of condensed milk directly into the country from any 
part of the world beyond the Continent. Every piece of freight 
must be consigned to an agent at a port in a neighboring coun- 
try who receives and transships it to its Bolivian destination. 

Even so, in the matter of transportation to the outside world, 
it is more fortunate than any of the other Andean republics. 

[376] 



Bolivia 

With only 1399 miles of railroads within its own borders, it 
is the only one of the five countries with complete rail con- 
nection both to the Pacific and the Atlantic. It is possible to 
leave a ship at Mollendo, travel up to Arequipa and Puno 
at the Peruvian end of Lake Titicaca, cross the hundred-mile- 
long body of water by steamer, take a train to La Paz, 525 
miles, and then another train southward across the country 
into Argentina and to Buenos Aires, a total distance of 2000 
miles. Another railroad begins at the city of Antofagasta, Chile, 
runs northeastward across the western cordillera to a point on 
the Mollendo-Argentine line and thence to La Paz, 719 miles. 
The most direct route from the Pacific is the line from the 
Chilean port of Arica eastward straight up the mountains 274 
miles to the capital. 

By air there are connections from Chile, Peru and Argen- 
tina by the Pan-American Grace Lines and from Brazil over 
the German lines. The sparsely inhabited northeastern low- 
land regions may be reached by water and rail from the At- 
lantic. Small ocean steamers sail up the Amazon and the Ma- 
deira Rivers to Porto Velho in western Brazil, the beginning 
of the great rapids. From Porto Velho the famed Madeira- 
Mamore Railroad, built in the days of the Amazonian rubber 
boom, operates, as a Brazilian friend says, "with uncertain fre- 
quency," as far as Villa Bella on the Bolivian border, from 
which launches make their way on up the Beni and the Mamore 
to the very heart of the interior. Considerable rubber is still 
produced in the Mamore Valley and this is the route by which 
the product goes out to the world markets. 

I have travelled to Bolivia both by railroad and by plane. 
Each has its advantages and attractions. One is a slow, laborious 
journey. The other, for the seasoned air traveller, is quick, 
convenient and comfortable. If altitude is not a problem, I 
would suggest flying from Peru from Lima to Arequipa and 
then up to La Paz. There are volcanoes to gaze down into and 

[377] 



New Roads to Riches 

Titicaca to feast the eyes upon from above, and from very 
much above, too. Often it is necessary to fly at eighteen and 
nineteen thousand feet to get over the cordillera. Those with 
weak hearts, and lungs, and especially those with susceptible 
natures, minds, innards, or whatever controls or permits soroche , 
as well as those who care for the spectacular, odd or unusual 
experiences, or have a mind for history, will do well to travel 
more leisurely. 

My most interesting trip was by railroad from Mollendo 
and Arequipa, Peru. During an interlude at Arequipa, at 7500 
feet, I trained my lungs for the 13,000 alti$lano of Central 
Bolivia. In the meantime I revelled in the hospitality of Tia 
Bates' Quinta, and met interesting people, Bolivians and for- 
eigners, on their way to La Paz. Prominent citizens, diplomats, 
leaders in government and politics from the City of Peace -are 
usually travelling up from Arequipa and all are eager to talk, 
tell about their country, its attractions and activities. In the 
warm atmosphere of the Quinta, and under the democratic 
spell of Tia, they often reveal inside affairs of Bolivia that they 
would not think of hinting to an outsider in La Paz. 

It was here that I heard from a Peruvian diplomat of the 
acceptance of the peace terms ending the war between Bolivia 
and Paraguay in the Chaco before they were ever made public 
in the Bolivian capital. He had rushed to Arequipa by the first 
plane, after the Peruvian representative 'on the Peace Com- 
mission sitting in Buenos Aires had reported the agreement to 
Lima, and was flying on the following day in order to deliver 
a special message to the La Paz government. 

It was also here that I met Father Velarde, a venerable 
Peruvian priest, who loves history, tradition and the folklore of 
the Andes. Father Velarde often travels up to Bolivia to spend 
his vacations at Tiahuanaco and the villages of Lake Titicaca, 
where he wanders among the ancient ruins and talks to the 
old Ay mar a Indians about them. This time he was going up 

[378] 



Bolivia 

in July both for his vacation and to be present at the Festival, 
or the Coronation of Our Lady of Copacabana, which takes 
place every August 6 at the Shrine of Copacabana on one 
of the Peninsulas of the lake. 

But for Father Velarde, I, like many another traveller, 
would have found the trip over the mountains and across the 
lake woefully prosaic. With only the naked eye through which 
to see, the bleak mountain gorges soon become monotonous 
and Titicaca only another lake dotted with islands and swept 
by the iciest of winds. Naturally I would have planned to 
cross the lake by daylight so as to see whatever sights there 
were. But by day there are few sights, only water and the dis- 
tant mountain ranges. "It is by night when there is a full 
moon," said the good Father, "that the lake is at its best." 

So we left Arequipa at night for the rail junction at Juliaca 
on the central plateau from where one branch of the Peruvian 
Southern Railway turns north to Cuzco and the other south- 
ward to the lake port of Puno. The following evening we sailed, 
appropriately enough, on the S.S. Inca for Guaqui, Bolivia, 
the port of La Paz. The Inca is one of two sister ships of about 
1000 tons that ply between the two ends of this highest navi- 
gable body of water in the world. We were given two of the 
best staterooms, which could have been much less comfortable 
than they were, although we didn't stay in them very much. 
Titicaca may lie in the heart of the tropics but the cold winds 
are not merely penetrating, they are piercing. "Because of the 
altitude," according to Padre Velarde, "the kind of cold that 
is particularly dangerous to lowlanders whose lungs are not 
accustomed to it." 

When dinner was over, dressed in all we had in sweaters, 
mufflers, heavy coats, and I in two pairs of pants we went on 
deck, shivered and waited for the moon. Meantime the old 
Padre reminded me of the stock joke about the steamers having 
been built in Scotland, sailed across the Atlantic, then brought 

[379] 



New Roads to Riches 

up the mountains piece by piece, set up on the shores of the 
lake and launched for a second time, long before the day of 
Sears & Roebuck mail-order-prefabricated-houses. Hour after 
hour he related the fables and the actual history, although it 
was difficult to distinguish between the two, and commented 
on the philosophies and religions that surround the lake and its 
peoples. "For," as he said, "on the islands and around this lake 
most of the great cultures that have flourished and faded in 
the Andean regions had their origin." 

It was July, the dry season in the mountains, when the sky 
is clearer, it seems, than any other sky in the universe. Just 
before midnight there was a pale glow in the east, then a rim 
of burnished metal appeared from behind the snowy peaks 
which was presently a silvery shield suspended in the eastern 
sky. As it poured its pale light down on the waters it seemed 
so incredibly close, just beyond the railing of the boat. 

I have travelled in the moonlight on the Texas plains, once 
in a dilapidated Ford from Boulder to Denver, Colorado, in 
the early morning hours, and another time, on a frozen De- 
cember night, in an open wagon on sleds from Carnarvon to a 
neighboring town in Saskatchewan, when the northern lights 
were engaged in one of their most glamorous displays. But 
even a clear wintry moonlight night in Canada with the Aurora 
Borealis thrown in cannot compare with a moonlight night on 
Lake Titicaca nearly two and a half miles above the sea. 

"Even I," Father Velarde admitted, "could not find fault 
with those ancients of the Andes who worshipped the moon. 
No sight such as this could be other than divine." 

"Nor do I wonder," I replied, "that the sun god became 
romantic, fell in love with the moon goddess and took her as a 
wife. Even a god of the primitives could hardly resist such 
a sight." 

"And when you see the sunrise in the morning," Father 
Velarde came back, "you will also understand why the fable 

[380] 



Bolivia 

of the sun god and his goddess originated here on Lake Titicaca. 
People who are permitted to look upon such a perfect phe- 
nomena of nature year in and year out cannot help attaching 
to them some mystic significance." 

For thirty minutes I had been hearing a putt-putt-putt-putt 
sound, like an outboard motor. And sure enough, out of place 
as it seemed, a small launch darted across the path of the moon. 
"That means," said Father Velarde, "that we are crossing the 
imaginary line which separates Bolivia from Peru, and the Bo- 
livian customs police are out to see that no other launch, sailboat 
or balsa approaches near enough to pick up contraband that 
might be thrown off our ship. Even in the midst of beauty and 
romance, on this sacred lake of the sky," he observed, "we 
must be reminded of smuggling, the police and the transgres- 
sions of our fellowmen." 

Smuggling is a thriving business on the lake. The highlands 
of Bolivia being a mineral region, in which very few of the 
necessities of life, and almost none of the luxuries are produced, 
and all of which must be brought in through other countries, 
bootlegging flowers as nowhere else in the world. And since 
Titicaca is divided fifty-fifty between the two countries, it is 
ideal for the purpose. 

Our view of the two sacred islands Titicaca and Coati, better 
known as the Islands of the Sun and Moon was a little 
spoiled by the persistency of the law. As my poetic companion 
put it, "it is hard to imagine the spirits of the ancient kings and 
nobles taking their ease in their royal barges or balsas with a 
gasoline motor putting in your ears." Titicaca Island, where 
Manco Ccapac, the first Inca, appeared, and Coati, the birth- 
place of his Queen, Mama Occllo, lie just off the northern tip 
of the Peninsula of Copacabana where the lake squeezes through 
a bottleneck after which it spreads out into a maze of bays 
and inlets filled with tiny islands. But by now the moon 
was just right, almost overhead, and the islands stood out 

[381] 



New Roads to Riches 

boldly, a bright glow over them. And it was not difficult to 
imagine that I saw the great temples and palaces and the streets 
of gold that once existed on them. 

Smothered with mythology and legends though they may be, 
there are plenty of evidences of their past glory. On the Island 
of the Sun, are the ruins of many old palaces, stone-paved roads 
and the great temple of Pirco-Caima. One of the principal 
attractions is the famed three-spouted fountain of the Inca. 
Salt water is supposed to flow from two of the spouts and fresh 
water from the other. Evidently the legend has ceased to work, 
because fresh water now flows forth from all three. The ruins 
on the Island of the Moon are almost as elaborate and are o 
much more recent construction than those of the Isla del Sol. 
In the stepped-niches and elaborate doorways of the Temple 
of the Moon you may still see the highly-colored mud plaster 
which once decorated the entire structure. 

Both islands are meccas for many of the old Indians around 
the lake, while the shrine on the Peninsula of Copacabana, 
with its gaudy image of the Virgin, is one of the most famous 
on the Continent. The August Festival is attended by pilgrims 
from all of the Andean countries, from every section to which 
the ancient empires extended, particularly from northern Peru 
and Ecuador. They come to ask the Virgin to bless their fields 
and crops. 

It was three o'clock in the morning when we finally gave up 
the long vigil and retired, and it was just as well for the sake 
of my nerves, and peace of mind. During the last part of the 
night the ship passes through the narrow Straits of Tiquina at 
the southern end of Copacabana and then plays hide and seek 
with strings and nests of tiny islands without the aid of a single 
lighthouse or signal. This I did not know until late next morn- 
ing, when I gave thanks for the captain's perfect eyesight, un- 
varying memory, instinct or whatever guided him safely over 
the uncharted course. 

[382] 



Bolivia 

Indeed, I did not learn about it until I had already experi- 
enced the inspiring sunrise, compared with which the rising 
moon, magnificent enough, was more than pale. Here was color, 
all the shades. First the yellow glow behind the mountains, then 
the peaks glistening like molten gold, and as it splashed down 
on the lake the water was streaked with blue, purple and ver- 
million. The sailboats and balsas^ that were by now on their 
way between the islands and villages of the mainland, looked 
like giant waterfowl with brilliant plumage. 

The Indians themselves still travel Titicaca in the unique 
balsas made of the twisted totora reeds that grow in profusion 
in the shallow waters. Picturesque as they are, they are of very 
simple construction. Four bundles of dried reeds, two large 
bundles for the bottom, and two smaller ones for the sides, are 
lashed together and bent upward at the ends, forming the 
body of the boat. Power is furnished by a single sail, also made 
of reeds plaited together and raised or lowered like a Venetian 
blind. Occasionally water soaks into the reeds, but drydocking 
becomes a very simple matter. The craft is merely pulled up 
on shore and the sun does the balance. 

Most of the freight of the lake, supplies for the villages and 
plantations and the products being shipped out, is handled by 
small sailboats. The lake flats and islands constitute one of the 
principal agricultural regions of northern Bolivia. Very few 
trees grow even around the farmhouses and in the villages, un- 
less they are sheltered. But this is the homeland of the potato. 
Here it originated, and from here it was carried up and down 
the continent and throughout the Americas, long before it got 
to Ireland. It should be called the Inca potato instead of the 
Irish potato. 

Other hardy plants, such as barley, wheat and corn grow 
very well but usually entire plantations are devoted to the 
growing of potatoes. At harvest time the fields are dotted with 
great potato mounds surrounded by flocks of chattering natives 

[383] 



New Roads to Riches 

who clean and sort them for the market. Although the potato 
is the most important product, fish and game are also plentiful 
around Titicaca. Ducks and other waterfowl thrive in the thick 
cane brakes, especially around the islands, while fishing fur- 
nishes a livelihood for many of the natives. 

At Guaqui I said goodbye to Padre Velarde who was going 
for a visit and to study some ruins on one of the islands before 
he went up to Copacabana for the festival. I had wished that he 
might have been with me at Tiahuanaco, the most famous and 
most imposing of all the ancient ruins of the region. Tiahuanaco 
is twelve miles from Guaqui on the railroad, and now the high- 
way, to La Paz. The Inca ruins on the Islands of Titicaca and 
Coati are of a new civilization compared with those of Tia- 
huanaco. The mainland city was the center of a civilization and 
culture, as powerful and as rich as that of the Incas, which had 
already perished before the first Inca was born. It extended 
northward along the high plateau and the coast country of Peru 
and Ecuador, and southward far down into Argentina and 
Chile. 

If the Incas were the Romans of the South American Andes, 
then the Tiahuanacos were the Egyptians. Their buildings and 
temples, besides being on an heroic scale and constructed of 
enormous blocks of sandstone brought from the northern shores 
of the lake, were decorated with exquisite carvings. Some of 
its great monoliths, covered with delicate figures, are still stand- 
ing. Others representing giant figures of men and animals have 
rested for ages under mountainous sand heaps, some of which 
have recently been dug up. 

One of the most talked of was uncovered by my friend, 
Wendell Bennett, formerly of the American Museum of Nat- 
ural History, in 1932, and now stands on the Prado in the city 
of La Paz. The eighteen-ton figure of a man is profusely carved 
and decorated, and there are long braids of hair down his back, 
signifying a personage of high office. 

[384] 




Travel by Balsa on Lake Titicaca 



Bolivia 

The Indians who inhabit this region and most of the high- 
lands of Bolivia today are called the Ay mar as, probably a mix- 
ture of all the ancient races who have gone before, although 
more of a Mongolian type than those of Peru and the north. 
They even speak a language all their own. And while they are 
not nearly as industrious as the Q^^^^-speaking Incans of 
Peru and other parts of Bolivia, they are much less given to 
servility. About the ancient ruins they are particularly super- 
stitious and especially so when it comes to digging among them. 
An incident which occurred at the time Bennett discovered the 
monolith in 1932 reveals the hold of the ancients upon them 
and the fact that the four centuries influence of the Spaniards, 
more particularly the influence of the Spanish religion, has not 
penetrated very deeply. In fact, it forms a very thin outer 
coating. 

When the digging had proceeded sufficiently to begin the 
careful uncovering of the stone, the foreman, or majordomo, 
informed Bennett that the men wanted to put on a special 
ceremony before they continued any further. He admitted that 
they were actually frightened, and wanted to propitiate the 
ancient gods. Naturally the request was granted, and what fol- 
lowed was a mysterious and almost voodooish proceeding. 

At nightfall they assembled in a near-by stone hut with a 
medicine man, or fortune teller, to conduct the ceremony and 
prepare the special concoction for the ritual. Such things as pea- 
nuts, ground cocoanut, foetus of llama, Pisco rum, coca leaves, 
from which cocaine is made and which all the Indians of Bo- 
livia and most of Peru chew, candles and silver and gold tinsel 
had been provided. A woolen cloth, twelve by fifteen feet, 
was spread out on the floor. The medicine man wrapped the 
fretus of llama in the tinsel and placed it in the center of the 
cloth. Then every one present placed three coca leaves in each 
corner. The ground cocoanut, peanuts and more coca leaves 
were placed on the llama foetus and rum was poured on the 

[385] 



New Roads to Riches 

whole. This done, the corners of the cloth were folded in, or 
rolled in, after which for hours, until midnight, the medicine 
man told the fortunes of every one with coca leaves. 

At twelve o'clock the cloth containing the mysterious prepara- 
tion was taken to the scene of the excavation, followed by the 
entire party, A fire was built near the head of the monolith and 
a prayer or hokus-pokus was said. Finally the bundle was 
thrown into the pit by the medicine man and all hurried away 
without looking back. Next day the digging continued as usual, 
but every morning thereafter coca leaves were put into the pit 
and rum poured over them. What it all meant they never ex- 
plained, and Bennett can only surmise. 

The mysterious attitude of the Indian excavators was dig- 
nified, sincere and logical compared with the behavior of the 
La Paz journalists, poets, professors and politicians afterward. 
For a year and a half, even though the country was in the throes 
of a terrible war, speeches were made, poems were written and 
500 newspaper articles published on the subject of the dis- 
covery. At first the argument centered around the significance 
of the monolith, and the integrity of the discoverer. The charge 
was made that Bolivian archaeologists, if any, already knew 
about the great piece of stone long before the gringo ran onto it. 
Later they debated the propriety of allowing foreigners to dig 
in the ancient ruins, and whether it would be proper to remove 
the ancient piece of sculpture to the capital city. It actually 
became a hot political question. But then, as we shall see, almost 
anything may become a political question in La Paz. 

It is a pleasant ride by automobile from Tiahuanaco south- 
ward to the Bolivian metropolis, now that the old trail across 
the altiplcmo has been turned into a modern highway. The gov- 
ernment has just announced that this is the first completed link 
in Bolivia's portion of the Pan-American Highway, which it 
expects to extend on northward along the shores of the lake to 
the frontier where it will connect up with Peru's new north and 

[3.86] 



Bolivia 

south trunk line, now nearing completion. Meantime, it makes 
it possible for citizens and visitors to La Paz to drive with the 
greatest convenience to some of the most notable and attractive 
of all the ancient ruins in South America. More important still it 
is a great boost for the Titicaca farmers and fishermen in that it 
affords them easy and economical access to the La Paz markets. 

La Paz is forty miles from Tiahuanaco and only fifty from 
Guaqui. As you speed toward it across the perfectly flat country 
you wonder at first what has happened to it. Even two miles 
away no trace of it appears on the horizon. Then suddenly you 
come to the rim of a U-shaped canyon, three miles wide and 
ten miles long, and there it is, 1500 feet below, but still 12,000 
feet above the sea. Having gazed upon a continual succession 
of mountains from Venezuela to Peru, each taller and more 
spectacular than the preceding, by the time one has reached 
Bolivia, lofty peaks and snowy diadems should no longer be 
impressive. But even from this city, "in a hole in the ground," 
21,030 feet Mt Illimani and others seem to dwarf all those 
that have gone before. Although wisely located so that it is 
shielded from the wind and weather above, La Paz is so cold at 
night that I have never been completely warm either in bed or 
out. Streets have been laid out and houses built so that the 
sun may hit them broadside. Heat is a problem because Bolivia 
has no coal and the cost of importing it makes each piece as 
expensive as a nugget of precious metal. Only the rich can 
afford enough heat to break the perpetual chill and they must 
use electricity. 

Not even Peggy Hopkins Joyce has changed her name more 
times than La Paz. The fourth Inca called it Chuquiago. A later 
one changed the name to Choqueyapu, the present name of the 
little river that courses down the canyon, and the earliest 
Spaniards christened it La Ciudad de Nuestra Senora de la Paz. 
Through colonial times it was popularly known as Gold 
Orchard, not because there were many, if any trees in it, but 

[387] 



New Roads to Riches 

because gold was found in the river and on the sides of the 
steep hills. Finally, when General Sucre defeated the last group 
of Spanish loyalists in Peru, it was re-christened La Paz de 
Ayacucho, after the place of the decisive battle. 

But by whatever name it may be called, it is still architec- 
turally the least attractive, but its people the most colorful of 
all the large Andean cities. Important buildings, old and new, 
are neither Spanish colonial nor Indianesque. The City Hall is 
distinctly Versailles French. The Capitol Building is a com- 
bination of Greek, Syrian and Moorish influences, while the 
cathedral, after fifty years still unfinished, is entirely Greek. 
Most of the new houses are Italian modernistic. Only in Soca- 
baya, the now deserted old house of the blue-blooded Spanish 
Diez de Medinas, and the church of San Francisco, are there 
any suggestions of the picturesque Spanish colonial architecture 
that characterizes most of the Peruvian towns and cities. San 
Francisco was decorated by the same artist who carved the 
choir stalls of the cathedrals in Cuzco and Lima. But even San 
Francisco is now crowded on all sides by the glamorous market 
stalls and bazaars of the chola women, who, in spite of its un- 
prepossessing architecture, furnish the city with a distinctive, 
as well as distinguished atmosphere found nowhere else in South 
America. To me these half-breed women are La Paz. They are 
upstanding and superior, with more business ability than any 
half dozen men of their particular class. This is not Pern where 
the Incan man dominates. This is Bolivia where the Ay mar a- 
Spamsh-chola runs and bosses the business and where her man 
must go and find a job. 

They wear short skirts, sometimes six and eight of them, too, 
each of a different color and all billowing out like old-time hoop- 
skirts. Around their shoulders they wear gleaming red, yel- 
low, blue or purple ponchos, or shawls, with a high-crowned, 
narrow-brimmed felt hat to top them off. The higher the crown 
of the hat the more prominent and wealthy the woman who 

[388] 



Bolivia 

wears it. Their shoes are usually pumps and, if the wearer is 
young, with very high heels. The way they can sling a big shawl 
around their shoulders so that it makes a bag in the back, in 
which can be carried anything from a baby to a hundred pounds 
of merchandise, is simply amazing. 

In their market stalls these female merchants sell every- 
thing, pottery in interesting designs and lavish colors, rugs, 
richly woven, knitted goods, rag dolls dressed in the native 
costumes, bead necklaces, even the exotic blooms from the 
eastern valleys. And to buy a single item is an adventure in 
commercial diplomacy. When they were still plentiful, I bar- 
gained with a good-natured old chola for a vicuna blanket. 
The verbal encounter ran something like this: 

Chola: "A beautiful blanket, Senor, so soft. The vicuna skin 
is so very light, but warm for the coldest nights it is so 
beautiful." 

Tomlinson: "So beautiful, Senora, but how much?" 

Chola: "The beautiful vicuna it is 200 bolivianos." 

Tomlinson: "Two hundred bolivianos. Senora, I could buy 
one down the street for half that much, but it would grieve 
me greatly to have to do so." 

Chola: "Ah, well for the Senor he is so gracious 175 bo- 
livianos" 

Tomlinson: "Ah, the Senora is very graciousbut I am so 
very poor." 

Chola: "Oh, I am so sorry. Well then, I will make it 160 
bolivianos" 

Tomlinson: "The Senora's generosity is touching, but it is 
not yet sufficient." 

Chola: "But Senor, the poor little vicunas they are so lovely 
so delicate " 

Tomlinson: "But, Senora, I am so poor so " 

Chola: "I am so sorry, Senor, then maybe 150 bolivianos" 

Tomlinson: "Now the Senora is beginning to be generous to 

zpoorgrmgo." TOT 

L3 8 9J 



New Roads to Riches 

Chola: "Ah, Senor, the beautiful vicunas, the noble little 

animals " 

Tomlinson: "One hundred bolivianos, Senora." 
Chola: "One hundred and thirty bolivianos, Senor." 
Tomlinson: "Ah, but I have only 100 bolivianos, Senora." 
Chola: "But I could not let it go for less than 125, Senor 
my poor little vicunas." 

Tomlinson: "But Senora, I too will be generous no bo- 
livianos" 

Chola: "The Senor is so gracious in, Senor." 

La Paz may be the City of Peace, but it is as volatile as 
Quito. In the last five or six years only Ecuador has surpassed 
or equalled Bolivia in the number of revolutions and cou-ps 
d'etat, or the frequency with which governments have waxed 
and waned. "Of the 175,000 inhabitants of La Paz," says one 
expatriate Bolivian journalist with a sense of humor, and re- 
siding at a safe distance from his native land, "there are 
100,000 Indians engaged in common labor or various forms of 
servitude, who have nothing to say about public affairs. The 
other 75,000 are white and cholo politicians. No matter what 
they do for a living, whether bankers, lawyers, doctors, writers, 
salesmen, soldiers, shopkeepers or taxi drivers, they are poli- 
ticians. They will argue on or about any subject, question or 
state of affairs until it becomes a political matter. La Paz is 
truly the political, if not the national capital." 

Herein is suggested an anomalous situation, theoretically at 
least. La Paz is the seat of government, but it is not the capital 
of the nation. The Bolivian capital is the old colonial town of 
Sucre, 300 miles southward, the city which was named for the 
first President, General Antonio Jose de Sucre, who lies buried 
in Quito, Ecuador. Although General Sucre was the first Presi- 
dent, and it was through his efforts that independence had ac- 
tually been effected, the republic took its name from Sucre's 

[390] 



Bolivia 

great chief, Simon Bolivar. Later, even the unit of money was 
called the Boliviano, after the Liberator. 

On the other hand, while there is one capitol building in 
Sucre, the functioning capitol building of the country is not 
located in the capital of the nation, but in La Paz. The Presi- 
dent, the Congress, upon those rare occasions when there is a 
Congress, all the executive and administrative branches of the 
government, function in La Paz. Only the Supreme Court keeps 
vigil in Sucre. 

This would be a novel and fitting state of affairs, if the 
Bolivian government were an uninterrupted democracy, instead 
of a military dictatorship. To have the politicians and politically- 
minded officials do their trading and wrangling in one place, 
and the Supreme Tribunal, oracle-like, hand down its decisions 
in a quiet, detached, uncorrupted atmosphere, where the early 
flame of democracy flowered genuinely if briefly, would be 
just about ideal. 

To give the merest details concerning the usually brief ad- 
ministrations of the various presidents and dictators who have 
been elected, led revolutions or otherwise acquired office in 
Bolivia since Spain gave up the ghost in the Andean nations 
would fill a volume. As in the case of Bolivar himself, who was 
politically lashed and driven from office in Colombia and the 
north to die in disgrace at Santa Marta, General Sucre was over- 
thrown within two years after he had established independence, 
and the revolutionary game, except for a few lulls now and 
then, has gone merrily on ever since. 

Although a country rich in minerals, oil and other sub-soil 
products, its political instability has kept it backward and eco- 
nomically hamstrung. During the late golden age of borrowing 
and lending, Bolivia, like most of her neighbors, joined the 
international bankers, mostly Americans, in a bond-floating 
spree. This spree, which was at its height eleven and twelve 
years ago, touched off what might be called the latest period 



New Roads to Riches 

of pronounced revolution in Bolivia. The trade and traffic in 
money which went on between the gentlemen of La Paz and 
the gentlemen of Manhattan not only relieved thousands of our 
people of millions of dollars in savings and hard-earned money, 
but it shouldered upon the unfortunate and unwilling inhabi- 
tants of Bolivia, a debt which in all probability will never be 
repaid. 

Besides the $61,619,000 of stocks and "securities" in Bolivian 
industry and resources held in this country, there were in 1934 
$61,104,000 in government loans which Bolivian politicians 
pledged their people to pay. This fact would be much less odious 
if the Bolivian people themselves had received any great benefit 
from these loans. But if the revelations before a United States 
Senate Investigating Committee in Washington at the time 
were any indication, a great portion of it went to further the 
pet projects of ambitious officials if not into their personal 
pockets. 

In a single transaction in 1928, Dillon Read and Company of 
New York sponsored the flotation of $23,000,000 worth of 
bonds, a goodly portion of which were bought by private in- 
dividuals. Although the people who bought them were led to 
believe that they were investing in sound securities, the money 
for which was to go into needed public works which would 
greatly enhance the welfare and progress of the southern re- 
public, it was brought out in the testimony at Washington that 
$5,000,000 of the amount, with the knowledge of both the 
sponsors and officials of our own State Department, went to a 
London company for military supplies, while another million 
and a half was retained by the War Ministry itself for military 
purposes. 

Mr. Lawrence Dennis, former Foreign Service officer of the 
United States government, and wartime employee of the then 
flourishing New York banking house of J. & W. Seligman & 
Company, was quoted as having told the Senate Banking Com- 

[392] 



Bolivia 

mittee that probably not more than two and a quarter million 
dollars of the twenty-three million actually was spent for public 
works and public enterprises. 

The officials and politicians party to and responsible for all 
these deals were long since driven from office and most of them 
from the country itself. In spite of all of the money borrowed 
they left the treasury absolutely empty, and every ruler that 
followed found himself without cash to carry on the govern- 
ment and at the same time keep the local army paid, and if he 
could not keep the local army paid he could not stay in power 
very long, in a country that has always depended upon the army 
for stability. So governments came and went with clocklike 
regularity from the overthrow in 1936 of the arch-borrower, 
President Hernando Siles, to July 17, 1937. 

For the most part each upset merely meant a change of per- 
sonnel and not a change in political philosophy until May 17, 
1936. At that time a group of leftist army officers turned out 
President Tejada Sorzano and put in Colonel David Toro, 
who had agreed to transform Bolivia into a Socialist state. Al- 
though Toro hesitated for nearly a year, on March 13, 1937, 
he began keeping his promise with a vengeance. On that date 
he issued a decree cancelling the forty-year oil concession of the 
Standard Oil Company and confiscating all of its property, an 
act which precipitated world-wide discussion and speculation. 
For weeks it was figured that the giant American-controlled tin 
industry would be next. 

But before Colonel Toro could go any further, if indeed 
he intended to, he was overthrown by the same group of army 
officers that put him in office, headed by Lieutenant-Colonel 
German Busch.* Busch was elected Constitutional President in 
1938, constitutionally elected in the Bolivian sense, of course. 
Then, offering evidence that he himself was not altogether sold 

*The news of his death on August 23d was received just as this book was 
going to press. 

[393] 



New Roads to Riches 

on the socialistic performances of his predecessor, he suspended 
the constitution and made himself supreme dictator on April 
24, 1938. His new regime is called National Socialism, which 
many observers insist smacks more of Fascism than of So- 
cialism. 

During the greater portion of all this long period of political 
change at home the country was either fighting or trying to 
settle the disastrous war with Paraguay over the Gran Chaco. 
President Busch himself was a veteran and hero of that war, 
having been decorated several times for bravery. Busch is thirty- 
six years old and the son of a German-born father and a Span- 
ish Bolivian mother. As a young man he spent a good deal of 
time abroad, lived and went to school in the British Island of 
Trinidad in the West Indies. Later on he studied at the Mili- 
tary College in La Paz and became an officer in the army. Fol- 
lowing the World War the Bolivian government invited the 
Prussian general, Hans Kundt, a former member of the Kaiser's 
general staff, to reorganize and instruct the Bolivian army 
according to modern military methods. Captain Ernst Roehm, 
later the victim of Hitler's famous blood purge, was Kundt's 
chief assistant. While in Bolivia Roehm had as one of his bright- 
est pupils the then Lieutenant Busch. 

President Busch is a handsome fellow, with black curly hair, 
worn pompadour style, and dark eyes. He is more a Latin than 
a Nordic type. Although soldierly and smart he is not the stern 
and severe militarist you would expect to find in a dictator. In 
conversation he commands respect, although he does not give 
the impression that he has thought everything through. It is 
evident that he has relied upon others to do some of his think- 
ing for him. Neither is he, as some have referred to him, a 
starry-eyed dreamer. He is really a very practical and straight- 
forward person, who is convinced that what Bolivia needs is 
discipline and absolute direction e In a country of three and a 
half million people, the overwhelming majority of whom are 

[394] 



Bolivia 

illiterate Indians speaking only their ancient dialects and hav- 
ing no knowledge, much less interest in public affairs, what 
other kind of government could maintain itself, even for a 
brief period of time, is more than I know. 

It is all well enough to deplore dictatorship, or government 
by a group or class. But to expect democracy as we know it, and 
sometimes practice it badly, to function for all the people in a 
nation like Bolivia is something else. Yet it is a failing of us 
Yankees to insist that it should. Nor is it fair to hold Busch 
responsible for dictatorship in Bolivia. He inherited the system, 
a system which he could not change in a day, even if he wanted 
to. If there is any other way to bring about a permanent demo- 
cratic social order except through the laborious and perhaps old- 
fashioned method of education, a higher standard of living and 
better economic conditions for the masses, no one has found 
it so far. 

But if the young colonel, or any other man, should make a 
start in this direction, and at the same time administer the 
government honestly and efficiently, he might eventually place 
himself among the immortals. Knowing the material with 
which he has to work, the tightly knit group of old land-owning 
families, and especially the well-to-do cholos y who, with few 
exceptions, would rather have their throats cut than see the 
Indians rise from serfdom, and the few powerful industrial 
groups who would view any broad policy of social betterment 
as a threat to their existence, I cannot be very optimistic. With- 
out regard for what should or should not be, dictatorship has 
been, in practice, the prevailing form of government in Bolivia 
for a hundred years, and is likely to continue for some time 
to come. 

Because of his German antecedents and early influences, 
Busch has been charged with being pro-Nazi, if not actually 
under Nazi direction. This he has openly denied, saying, "There 
is no place in Bolivia for either Nazi or radical ideas." 

[395] 



New Roads to Riches 

Again, it should be borne in mind that no ruler or head of a 
government, whether in Italy, Peru or Bolivia, wants to play 
second fiddle to anybody else. Busch very definitely does not 
wish to do this. Besides if he seriously subscribes to Nazism 
it is rather strange than his is one of the few governments in 
South America or the world, that has been consistently accept- 
ing large groups of German Jewish refugees right along. 

Upon close analysis, the Busch regime appears to me to be 
an old-fashioned South American dictatorship dressed up in the 
modern streamlined manner, that is, a dictatorship more social 
than political. He expresses two new impulses that permeate 
the younger Bolivians since the Chaco war: intolerance toward 
the old political cliques and ultra-nationalism. 

As a soldier who, along with the flower of Bolivian youth, 
fought and suffered in a war which was the culmination of 
political prejudices and hatreds enkindled by the old profes- 
sional politicians, he wants a new deal in the country. He, like 
the other young men, realizes that the welfare of the nation 
has been sacrificed in the hundred-year scramble by a handful 
of people, to feather their own nests at the expense of the 
country's general welfare. 

He has contemplated the fact that in spite of the enormous 
riches the gold, silver and tin that have been dug out of 
Bolivia's mountains, the nation is still as backward socially and 
politically as it was a century ago, while the overwhelming 
portion of the population lives in the most abject poverty. He 
knows something is fundamentally wrong, and he wants to cor- 
rect it. How this is to be done, what methods should be used, 
he and the other young men around him do not quite know. 
They intend to try to find out. Meantime grievous mistakes will 
be and are being made. The result naturally will be either of 
two things: His dictatorship will go on the rocks, as have so 
many others, or through trial, error and travail, a new order 
will be born. 

[396] 



II 

Land of the Tin Kings 



ELSEWHERE in the Andes, it was gold that led the 
Spaniards to Upper Peru, the nan^e by which the Bolivian 
alttylano was known in those days. Gold they found and took, 
first from the temples and palaces of the Incas around Titicaca. 
Then they compelled the newly conquered natives to work 
overtime, under pressure and the lash, in the already discovered 
mines, to dig out more. 

Yet silver and not gold was to become the great bonanza 
of the country. Silver, tin and most of the other metals destined 
to play such an important part in the economy, and poverty, of 
the country later on, were mined by the Incas in several regions. 
But thanks to the superstitions of the red men it remained for 
the palefaces to exploit the mines of Potosf. 

Ancient lore has it that the Inca, Huayna Ccapac, was 
travelling across the country. At the end of a day's journey 
he stopped for the night at one of the government tambos, 
or inns, near the foot of a great black mountain. Officials in 
that region informed him that the soil of this mountain was 
laden with metal "white like the moonlight on Titicaca." 

"Tomorrow," said the Inca, "I shall go to the foot of the 
black mountain to see with my own eyes this metal c white like 
the moonlight.' " 

Next day, seated in his golden palanquin, he was being borne 

[397] 



New Roads to Riches 

toward the mountain when a voice thundered out, "Huayna 
Ccapac!" 

The procession was halted and the frightened soldiers and 
attendants fell upon their faces, while the Inca responded in 
solemn dignity, "It is I, Huayna Ccapac, the Inca. I await thy 
sacred utterance/ 5 

"Turn your back upon this mountain," said the voice. "Touch 
not the white metal, it is destined for other men." 

The Inca was warned away by the mysterious voice, so the 
legend runs, and the great silver mountain of Potosf awaited 
the conquerors, who descended upon it in frenzied greediness 
in the early sixteen hundreds. Within a few years Potosf be- 
came the richest and gayest mining center in the world, a city 
of 150,000 people with fortunes flowing through their hands 
every day. 

The mines hummed with the activity of the countless en- 
slaved Indians, who endured such cruelty as has seldom been 
recorded in history. Sharp trading foreigners milled about in 
the clubs and exchanges. Here, in a remote and almost inacces- 
sible high Andean valley, a great aristocracy developed and 
lived in undreamed of splendor. They lavished millions upon 
satin and silk, lace and pearls, the finest tapestries of France and 
furniture of ebony and ivory from the Orient. Two billion dol- 
lars' worth of the pale metal was taken out of the great black 
mountain. At one time Bolivia supplied silver for the coinage 
of half the civilized world. 

But eventually the seemingly inexhaustible veins reached the 
point of diminishing returns. The mountain, honeycombed with 
tunnels and caverns, became an empty shell, while the city 
itself became a mere ghost of what it once had been. Two- 
thirds of the population drifted away. The doors of most of the 
great houses were closed, and their occupants, those who had 
not squandered their fortunes, took up residence in Paris, Bar- 

[398] 



Bolivia 

celona and other European cities, while the non-thrifty ones 
moved out into cottages or hovels. 

Then the tin can, perhaps the outstanding symbol of Yankee 
civilization, was invented, and the days of glory came back to 
Potosf. New fortunes were made from tin, not only in Potosf, 
Oruro and the regions of Lake Poopo, but even around La Paz. 
Tin is still Bolivia's chief product and export, accounting for 
seventy per cent of the national wealth. Tin exports in 1937 
amounted to 81,885,657 bolivianos, the boliviano being worth 
nearly five cents at that time. The country is said to possess 
three-quarters of the world's supply of tin ore. 

And here we must consider the Croesus of the Andes. A young 
choloy of Quechua y 'or Incan and Spanish mixture, born in the 
mountains near Cochabamba, had already risen so high in the 
world that he had been put in charge of a large metal store 
in Oruro. A native Indian from far up in the mountains came 
into the establishment one day and the young manager engaged 
him in conversation, speaking in Quechua. The visitor was so 
overjoyed to be addressed in his own ancient tongue, instead of 
Aymara y that he became very confidential and showed the store- 
keeper a bag full of high-grade tin ore which he had gathered 
near his own village. 

Immediately the young man, Simon I. Patifio, future tin 
king of the world, resigned his storekeeping job, took his family 
back into the mountains and began building one of the greatest 
fortunes of our time, along with an industry whose ramifications 
reach around the world. 

At first Patino and his wife dug out the ore with their own 
hands, rolled it down the hill in wheelbarrows, transported it 
across the country by mule and llama and sold it to another 
company. With their first returns helpers were hired, more ore 
was sold and more equipment bought, until the first Patino 
mine was a going concern. Afterward he borrowed money from 

[399] 



New Roads to Riches 

an English bank and bought another mine. Later on he amal- 
gamated the two into one company. Next he decided to build 
a railroad sixty-five miles long to connect his mines at Uncfa 
and Catavi with the main-line railroad, and thus with the sea. 
The contract for its construction was awarded to a German 
company. But suddenly the World War exploded and the con- 
struction company went broke, or its members went home to 
fight for the fatherland. A British company finally completed 
the project. Eventually Patino journeyed to New York to 
interest American firms in his properties. The National Lead 
Company joined with him, put in more money and an industrial 
colossus was formed the Patino Mine and Enterprises, Con- 
solidated, which also owns properties in Malay, the East Indies 
and elsewhere. 

Meantime the Andean Rockefeller, first citizen of Bolivia, 
and now cosmopolite, became a philanthropist, a patron of the 
arts and a connoisseur of European aristocratic and noble 
daughters-in-law and sons-in-law. One of his two daughters is 
married to a Spanish Marquis of long and important lineage. 
He built palaces on the Riviera, in Paris, and Bolivia. He owns 
several mansions in and around his own home town of Cocha- 
bamba. A town apartment contains a Persian room, a Louis XVI 
room, one in the Spanish Renaissance style and another of 
ultramodernistic design, a room to suit every mood and dis- 
position. 

One enormous Bolivian house, most of its walls covered 
with Gobelin tapestries and many priceless paintings, he has 
never even seen, because he has not visited his native land 
since 1922. The high altitude, due no doubt to the easy living 
of late years, as well as the ravages of time, in which he once 
could dig and roll wheelbarrows full of ore for miles without 
puffing or blowing a single time, is now too much for him. He 
oscillates between Paris, New York, London, Deauville, the 
Riviera and the exclusive Florida resorts, but without forget- 

[ 400 ] 



Bolivia 

ting or neglecting, for a single moment, his many white-hot 
irons. 

A personal fortune variously estimated at from three to four 
hundred million dollars, aside from shares in a dozen firms, 
cannot be kept secure and profitable without the most careful 
overseeing and ingenious planning. And no Rockefeller or 
Mellon was ever more far-seeing and gifted in financial matters. 

But he does not forget Bolivia. He was long its minister in 
Paris, engineered, at least helped to orient its foreign affairs, 
while, through his mines, furnishing the major portion of its 
income. He has tried to introduce new industries and induce 
the people of the fertile Cochabamba valley to engage more 
and more in agriculture. He spent hundreds of thousands of 
dollars in blooded cows and fancy bulls in an effort to increase 
and improve the cattle industry in that section. On a model 
farm he offers to train free of charge any young man who wishes 
to study and follow the livestock business. But so far beef is still 
scarce, tough and expensive in Bolivia, at least in La Paz 
and the highland towns. Nor is the Cochabamba valley crowded 
with herds of cattle. 

Patiiio's fellow countrymen have not taken enthusiastically to 
his suggestions, but his government, not to say innumerable 
governments, has and have never hesitated to call upon him 
for loans and hand-outs. He has prevented the spiders from 
weaving their webs across the doorway of the treasury more 
than once. Sometimes when he has balked or hesitated, the 
wily ones of La Paz have applied the squeezers added another 
tax, another fine for some supposed infraction of a mining law, 
or simply demanded cash in no uncertain terms. And now, in 
his late years, come decrees from the Busch government which, 
as we shall see, put the entire industry under strict government 
control. 

The Aramayo firm, headed by Carlos Victor Aramayo, mem- 
ber of one of the wealthiest of the old Spanish families, whose 

[401] 



New Roads to Riches 

first fortunes were made during the silver boom, has long been 
an important operator in the tin industry. The Aramayo group, 
now heavily interested in gold mining, is also financed by Amer- 
ican capital, most of it furnished by the American Smelting and 
Refining Company. 

Meantime, while Simon Patino and the Aramayos carry on, 
and the combines and companies which they organized continue 
to function, more recently another spectacular character, in this 
instance a foreigner, has arisen to challenge the supremacy of 
the old-timers, particularly the supremacy of Patino. His name 
is Mauricio Hochschild, an Argentine-born gentleman of Ger- 
man-Jewish parentage. He is a giant of a man, nearly six and 
a half feet tall, with a bristling black mustache, and a circle of 
unruly coarse hair draped just beneath an enormous bald pate. 
He fairly bores holes in you with eyes that are widely separated 
by a nose only a little less impressive than Jimmy Durante's. 
He has an amazing command of the Spanish, French, English 
and German languages, as well as a startling facility for the 
picturesque profanity peculiar to each. 

The Hochschild activities and enterprises in Bolivia have also 
had an interesting history. In the beginning they were financed 
by German bankers. In turn Seiior Hochschild hired German 
managers, lawyers, accountants and engineers. In the early days 
a meeting of his entourage in the big conference room in the 
Hochschild Building in La Paz, sounded like a German Tower 
of Babel. All of which gave the Germans reason to believe 
they actually controlled his holdings, but proved how little 
they knew about the Sefior. 

With Hitler's first blast against the Jews, Hochschild left 
La Paz and went on a quiet visit to several world capitals, 
Buenos Aires, Paris, London and New York. Upon his return, 
having provided himself with new and ample financing, prin- 
cipally from the Phelps Dodge Company of New York, he dis- 
missed his German bankers, fired his German employees, from 

[402] 



Bolivia 

engineers to office boys. Today at a meeting of his staff in 
Edificio Hochschild, only English and Spanish are spoken. All 
of his engineers, managers and office force now are either Amer- 
icans or Bolivians. And thus ended the Nazi bid for participa- 
tion in Bolivia's principal industry. 

But no sooner had he freed himself from the German bankers 
and embarked upon a great program of expansion, than he, 
along with the Patifios, the Aramayos, and all the other mining 
titans, came face to face with the military and economic dic- 
tatorship of President German Busch. In spite of taxes, fines 
and other demands, the tin kings had usually had their way in 
the matter of the sale of their products. Locally all tin trans- 
actions had been handled through the Mining Bank in La Paz. 
Since they sold the ore in the outside world and received their 
pay in foreign exchange in foreign countries, they really con- 
trolled their own finances. 

This will no longer be possible. For all practical purposes 
the mining industry is now under the complete control of the 
Federal dictatorship. By government decree the Mining Bank 
has been taken over bodily by the Bolivian Central Bank, which 
will handle all transactions under the vigilant eye of the Min- 
ister of Mines. Even though the tin is sold and paid for outside 
the country, there will be no waiting for the checks to arrive, 
and no chance for a diversion of any of the receipts, before the 
government can intervene. The companies must themselves 
deposit in the Central Bank the gold value of the total exports, 
after which the government itself will decide what amounts 
shall be paid out for various expenses, obligations abroad and 
dividends, when and if any. 

Permission for the importation of all necessities, machinery 
and equipment for carrying on the industry, even the food sup- 
plies for the personnel in camps and mills, must be secured 
from the Ministry of Mines. 

Bolivian citizens will receive no foreign currency for their 

[403] 



New Roads to Riches 

labors or their services, and foreign employees, technicians and 
engineers, whether Yankee or otherwise, will be paid only a 
part of their salaries in foreign money. Not only must all sur- 
plus earnings be invested in the country within two years, but 
any reserves held by the companies abroad must be returned 
to Bolivia, or an additional tax of twenty per cent will have to 
be paid. 

If any one doesn't like these regulations, of course, he is at 
liberty to sell out, if he can. But he may not choose his buyer. 
Eighty per cent of the properties must be sold to the govern- 
ment, and only twenty per cent of the receipts for that may be 
taken out of the country. Moreover, if any one should be so 
thoughtless as to resist these decrees, by such methods as sabo- 
tage, lock-outs, restrictions of work, et cetera, he will be guilty 
of high treason, for which the punishment is death. 

Along with these manipulations and changes in the manage- 
ment and operation of the mining industry, labor is also to be 
regulated, and probably to its own benefit. Labor will not be 
given a free hand through union leaders as, for instance, is the 
case in Mexico. Labor in Bolivia will be subjected to the same 
discipline as management. So far codes and rules have not been 
thoroughly worked out. But evidently the government takes 
the full responsibility for seeing that reasonable wages are paid. 
The present average wage in the mines seems pitiably little. 
It ranges from nine to twelve bolivianos, about thirty to forty 
American cents a day. 

"But the Bolivian Indian and cholo laborer," according to 
one important Bolivian engineer in the Oruro district, "is the 
most inefficient and indifferent workman in the world. He 
chews and has chewed coca leaves until he does not get hungry. 
Left to himself he will not eat wholesome food. So he is about 
thirty per cent efficient as a laborer." 

To remedy this condition some of the companies have in- 
stalled kitchens and mess halls at their mines where good nutri- 

[404] 



Bolivia 

tious food is served for less than cost, hoping in this way to 
build up the strength and efficiency of their workmen. 

The government, through the Ministry of Mines, will also 
settle any disputes or difficulties that may arise between the 
laborers and the companies. That is to say, it will probably look 
the situation over and tell both parties exactly what must be 
done. In answer to a question which I recently asked on this 
point, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has this to say: 

"Social legislation is being planned which takes into con- 
sideration experience in the application of labor laws abroad as 
well as within the country. Recent conflicts arising between 
laborers and employers have been settled through the concilia- 
tory intervention of the Ministry of Labor, and this experience 
makes us hopeful for the future. As President Busch himself 
has said, c lt demonstrates with reality that it is possible to co- 
ordinate the rights and interests of employers with those of 
laborers, to the general benefit of the country, when the laws, 
regulations and the government are situated on a superior plane 
of impartiality as regulators of social relations." 

Although the interests of regular workers, that is to say em- 
ployees of the mines and corporations, as well as other large 
business concerns in the more populous centers, who of them- 
selves constitute a class apart, and who have been to some ex- 
tent organized, are to be safeguarded and looked after, little 
is said about the Indians, the peasants, the submerged or neg- 
lected, who constitute at least two thirds of the entire Bolivian 
population. There are only about 35,000 miners in the coun- 
try, some 4000 of whom are in the La Paz district while the 
others are concentrated in the Oruro-Potosi and other mining 
communities. 

Thus the lot of the ancient inhabitants of the alttylano and 
the high mountain valleys, which ever since the conquest has 
been only a little better than that of the common animals, will 
probably not change rapidly. Their interests will probably be 

[405] 



New Roads to Riches 

the last to receive consideration, so that they will continue to 
eke out a miserable existence, chew coca leaves, debauch them- 
selves, and drown their sufferings in chicha, the native rum, 
now and then, until their ancient gods call them to a happier 
realm. 

Some o the young Bolivian officials, and intellectuals, insist 
that the Yankees ought to do more to help the Bolivian tin 
industry, which may seem a bit strange under the circumstances. 
First they bear down on the mine owners and operators, scare 
them, and in effect threaten them with nationalization. At the 
same time they insist that the mine owners should not only 
like it but spend more money in expansion. 

One Bolivian official suggested to me in a recent conversa- 
tion that he saw no reason why those in the United States with 
such large interests in the Bolivian mining industry should not 
begin to develop their own tin refineries, either in Bolivia or 
their own country, so that the tin ore could be imported di- 
rectly from Bolivia. 

"Since American capital practically controls the Bolivian tin- 
mining industry," he said, "and since the United States is the 
world's principal consumer of tin, it seems a little silly that it 
should continue to depend upon Great Britain for practically 
all of its tin plate. 

"The tin in your tin pans and buckets," he went on, "the 
cans in which your tomatoes and asparagus come, the tin roofing 
for your house, the tin toys with which your children play, the 
tinfoil around candy boxes and even the tin compound on the 
backs of your mirrors is, without doubt, a British product which 
may come from the British-controlled Malay states. Even if it 
should be Bolivian tin, it reaches your country by way of the 
Old World. 

"Here's a statement from the Pan-American Union, that 
great inter-American agency of information located right in 
Washington," he continued picking up a pamphlet from his 



Bolivia 

desk. "This official document states, 'Although the United 
States is the world's largest tin-consuming nation, ailthough tin 
is not produced in the United States, and although Bolivia 
among Latin American nations is the great tin-producing coun- 
try, nevertheless the United States does not import tin from 
Bolivia. Bolivian tin which enters the United States comes by 
way of Great Britain after the ore has been refined in British 
plants. On the other hand the United States obtains the great- 
est portion of its tin supply from British Malaya in the form of 
bars, ingots, et cetera.* 

"You see," he said, "this forces Bolivia into the world tin 
cartel. Because England controls most of the tin ore outside of 
Bolivia, and because she also has a monopoly on the refining 
of ore into tin plate, mind you through the voluntary consent 
of other countries, principally yours, Bolivian ore can be 
marketed only in Great Britain, and only in such quantities as 
she, with United States consent, chooses to buy. In reality, the 
Americans who control the mines in Bolivia join with the 
British refinery owners to handicap and restrict Bolivian tin 
production and exports, all to protect the owners of British tin 
mines in the Far East." 

Before I could put in a word, he hurried on, saying, "How 
inconsistent! Great Britain and her dominions are trying to get 
closer together, which means that in the end they must enter 
more and more into ironclad trade contracts among themselves 
to keep business within the family, if not discriminate against 
outsiders. Yet the United States chooses to buy one of its most 
essential commodities from England, rather than import it 
directly from the mines financed by its own people in a coun- 
try which owes them millions of dollars. 

"If here is not a splendid field for reciprocal trade bargain- 
ing," he said, with evident bitterness, "one which would greatly 
benefit both parties, there is no such thing as a promising re- 
ciprocal trade opportunity. And yet languishing Bolivia, with 

[407] 



New Roads to Riches 

millions of dollars of stagnant North American investments, 
has not, up to this moment, even been invited to discuss such 
a possibility. 

"For the life of me," he rambled on, "I don't understand 
you Yankees. You are the most industrious and resourceful peo- 
ple on earth. You have most of the money in the world. The 
people of your great cities live out of tin cans. Millions in 
American capital are invested in the tin mines of this country, 
yet you are wholly dependent upon England for your refined 
product. Suppose England gets into a desperate war? Suppose 
the Fascist powers suddenly bomb her industrial centers into 
Kingdom Come? What would you do for tin? 

"Why not," he concluded, with a grand flourish, "invest 
some of your moulding gold in tin refineries, build new plants, 
new industries, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and 
new opportunities for your young chemists and engineers now 
being turned out in regiments by your colleges and universities? 
Why, it would put millions more dollars into circulation. Be- 
sides, buying Bolivian tin direct would help to make better cus- 
tomers of the Bolivians. If they could get more American dol- 
lars they might spend them for Massachusetts and St. Louis 
shoes, New England and Carolina cloths, Missouri flour, Iowa 
lard and innumerable things which you have and they do not 
possess. Incidentally, it would help to stabilize industry and the 
country." Then as an afterthought he added, "It might also 
enable Bolivia to pay off some of its defaulted bonds held by 
your people." 

There is much logic behind, If not very clearly expressed 
in, the young man's statement. But the reluctance of American 
financiers of Bolivian tin mines to follow any such suggestions 
can be understood. Suppose they laid out millions for large 
refineries, and became wholly dependent upon Bolivia for the 
raw product? Then suppose the rulers at La Pax should no 
longer be content to control the industry as they practically do 

[408] 




rtesy of "Cliff" Travis 



New Road East to the Orient 



Bolivia 

now, but decided to confiscate the mines, as they have already 
done in the case of American-discovered and -developed oil 
fields? Even if they should not decide to confiscate the prop- 
erties, continual new regulations, taxes and demands placed 
upon the mining companies might eventually force the indus- 
try to the wall. In either case the refineries in the States would be 
in a helpless situation, and would probably have to close down. 

I am inclined to think Americans will probably still prefer 
to depend upon or to tie up with the British refineries, for their 
supply of tin plate. This situation spreads the responsibilities 
to say the least. England controls enough tin resources outside 
of Bolivia to influence world prices and perhaps to keep the 
brakes on the Andean dictator politicians. 

Naturally if Germany and Italy should get hold of the 
Bolivian industry, a different situation would present itself. 
But Bolivia wants money, cash, real exchange. The totali- 
tarian countries do not have it. Besides, the United States is 
the great world consumer of tin. President Busch and his asso- 
ciates are wise enough to realize, in fact they have already indi- 
cated, that they will be better off to accept a steady income as 
long as they can get away with the present rigid control than 
to attempt to run the mines themselves. 

Much has been said on the subject of German or European 
totalitarian activities in Bolivia. There is a general impression 
that both the Nazis and the Fascists are heavily interested finan- 
cially in the country. This is not the case. United States capital 
is not only predominant in the tin industry, but in several other 
lines. The new Aramayo gold mines, the largest such develop- 
ment in the country some call it the new Bolivian Eldorado- 
are in the hands of a syndicate which is backed principally by 
North American capital. 

The newest operations of this outfit are centered in a deep val- 
ley behind a snowy mountain wall only sixty-five miles by air 
northeast of the city of La Paz, in the Sipiapu district, the rivers 

[ 409 1 



New Roads to Riches 

of whose valley flow into the Rio Beni. When I was in the 
Bolivian capital recently, a crack pilot of the Pan-American 
Grace System had already made a hundred trips in a cargo 
plane transporting heavy machinery and other equipment to 
one of these mines, one of the most perilous of flights. To get 
through a narrow pass down into the valley it was necessary for 
him to careen the heavily laden plane at an angle of forty-five 
degrees until it was practically on the ground. If he had ever 
been a few seconds slow in levelling off all would have been 
finished. Incidentally, gold production has been steadily in- 
creasing in recent years, in weight from 5385 ounces in 1932 
to 15,636 ounces in 1937. 

The largest importing and trading firm in Bolivia is the 
W. R. Grace Company which, as in Peru, engages in many 
lines of business, such as the manufacture of cement and flour 
milling. 

Britons and Canadians are extensively interested in the hy- 
dro-electric enterprise and railroads. Britons own the line op- 
erating between La Paz and Lake Titicaca, the north-and-south 
line from La Paz to the Argentine border which connects the 
Bolivian capital with Buenos Aires, as well as the Antofagasta 
line as far as the Chilean border. They also own the two spurs 
that extend eastward from their north-and-south main line, one 
from Uroro to Cochabamba and the other from Rio Mulato 
to Potosf, 806 miles in all. The Bolivian government itself 
owns and operates 497 miles, including the all-important La 
Paz and Arica railroad, the country's most direct outlet to the 
sea, and a number of feeder lines here and there, such as the 
one from Potosf to the old capital of Sucre, and the spur from 
La Paz to the near-by Yungas Valley, which furnishes the 
capital with most of its fresh vegetables and fruits. The other 
96 miles are operated by various private mining companies. 

German and Italian interests are more apparent than real. 
Neither country has ever controlled any of the important min- 

[410] 



Bolivia 

eral resources such as gold, silver, tin or oil, except for the 
brief period when Hochschild was being financed by German 
bankers. As a matter of fact, except when German officers were 
employed to train the cholo and Indian soldiers, and later when 
General Hans Kundt helped to plan the early Bolivian-Chaco 
campaigns in the war with Paraguay, the Germans have never 
even been influential in Bolivia. 

Interestingly enough, Italians outnumber Germans in Bolivia 
and, as in other countries on the western side of the continent, 
pro-Fascist Italians attempted for a time to carry on a propa- 
ganda campaign. But it received so little attention from the 
Bolivians, as well as from the old Italian settlers, that the cam- 
paign soon subsided. On one of the main residential streets of 
La Paz, they started out two years ago to erect a commodious 
building to house the Bolivian-Italian cultural institute, but for 
months now no work has been done on it and nobody seems to 
know when construction will be resumed, if ever. As in Ecuador 
and Peru Italian aviators were brought in to train Bolivian 
flyers, but their mission proved fruitless. Italian material in- 
terests are confined largely to a few stores and shops, a spa- 
ghetti factory and the only two woollen mills in the country, 
Italian exports and imports are negligible. 

The Germans are engaged in the manufacture of a few 
canned goods and the beef butchering business. They own a 
number of important stores and trading companies. And while 
German manufacturers in the old country have increased their 
exports to other parts of the world in the last two years, their 
trade with Bolivia has fallen off sharply. In 1937 Bolivia im- 
ported $3,524,160 worth of German products. In 1938 her 
imports from Germany amounted to only $2,660,800. Our 
sales to Bolivia in 1938 amounted to $5,395,000. 

As suggested in another place, the shrewd and industrious 
native chola women, together with the large colony of Near- 
EasternersArmenians, Greeks, Syrians and others, all of 



New Roads to Riches 

whom the Bolivians call Turkos-with their shops, bazaars and 
fruit stores, dominate the field of small business in the cities. 

At the same time the Germans in La Paz maintain their own 
beer halls and clubs. The original German club, by the way, has 
been split wide open because of the rise of Nazism. The older 
and substantial element of Germans have no use for Hitler. 
Consequently the younger set who sympathized with the Nazi 
regime found it too uncomfortable to remain under the same 
roof with their unfaithful fellows, and have organized a sepa- 
rate club of their own. The Colegio Aleman, or German col- 
lege, has an excellent record and was for a time a haven of 
Nazism, supported, until recently at least, by the German 
government. At one time its instructors even received their 
appointments directly from Berlin. 

However, the most popular foreign school in the entire coun- 
try for the past forty years, and one of the best of its few col- 
leges, is the American Institute, which was established and is 
still run by American missionaries. Its graduates are found in 
most of the American business firms and industries in the coun- 
try. All of them not only speak excellent English, often with 
a Yankee accent, but find rapid promotion because of their effi- 
ciency and industriousness. 

Only in commercial aviation do the Germans cut any great 
figure in Bolivia. They were the pioneers in this field. They 
established, and continue to operate, the extensive Lloyd Aereo 
Boliviano Air System which connects all the widely sepa- 
rated and otherwise completely isolated Bolivian cities and 
towns. It also connects with the German Condor, or Luft- 
hansa combine, now operating a line from Lima, Peru, through 
Bolivia and Brazil and across the Atlantic to Berlin. On the 
other hand, the- latest aviation development, which has put 
Bolivia on the main highway of world travel, is the Pan-Amer- 
ican Grace Line direct from Panama to Buenos Aires by way 
of Lima and La Paz. 

[412] 



Bolivia 

Pro-Nazis, among the newcomers, and especially those in 
the diplomatic and consular service, have put forth desperate 
efforts, and waged a terrific campaign of propaganda for the 
purpose of keeping their natives loyal to the home country. 
They even resorted to desperate methods. There was the case 
of Fritz. He was a handsome fellow, six feet tall, slim and 
twenty-seven years of age. His blonde hair, clear complexion 
and baby blue eyes made him look about twenty. He had come 
out to Bolivia as bookkeeper for a German trading company 
four years before and was about to return home on what he 
thought was to be a quiet vacation, but which came dangerously 
near resulting in the tortures of a Nazi concentration camp. 
Within a few hours his fate would have been sealed if at that 
moment the Bolivians and Paraguayans had not been trying to 
hack each other to pieces in the pitiable slaughter of the Chaco 
War. 

Fritz came of an old Bavarian Catholic family, whose some- 
what laconic letters, vaguely describing activities in the home- 
land, and appropriately interspersed with phrases about the 
New Day and the brilliant statesmanship of Der Fuehrer, had 
long filled him with forebodingsthese and the stories about 
purges and persecutions which he had gleaned from Bolivian 
and occasional American and English papers. On one or two 
occasions he had expressed to close friends his concern for con- 
ditions in the fatherland. He was glad to be going home so 
that he might see for himself what the real situation was. 

The German Consul, who had been in Bolivia for only a 
short time, but who had always seemed friendly, was unusually 
pleasant the day Fritz called to say good-by. In fact the Consul 
entrusted to him a very important letter for delivery to the 
Foreign Office in Berlin. 

"The war censorship and the Bolivian suspicion of all foreign- 
ers," the Consul had told him, "make it necessary for us to be 
very careful with our communications." 

[413] 



New Roads to Riches 

Sure enough, as he was about to cross the border on the way 
out of the country, the Bolivian customs and Immigration in- 
spectors not only searched his baggage, but asked him to reveal 
the contents of his pockets as well. Naturally the official-look- 
ing letter to the Berlin authorities whetted their curiosity. 
They rudely opened it and began reading it aloud. As Fritz 
listened he learned to his amazement that at various times he 
had spoken disparagingly of the new regime in Germany, to 
friends at the club, at beer parties and on numerous other occa- 
sions. According to the dutiful agent of Herr Hitler there 
could be no doubt as to the heresy and disloyalty of the home- 
ward bound lad. 

Needless to say, the vacation was immediately postponed, 
and indefinitely. Since then Fritz has secured employment with 
another firm and applied for Bolivian citizenship. 

This incident may not have been true, but it was one of a 
number of stock stories current in Bolivia during 1937 and 
1938. It suggests the length to which the enthusiastic young 
Hitlerites have gone in an eff ort to convert or keep their fel- 
low countrymen faithful to the Brown Shirt doctrines. But it 
also illustrates that what they actually accomplished was the 
determination upon the part of most of the Nationals to stay 
away from the country of their birth, so long as Nazism 
flourishes. 

Of late, and in spite of all of Hitler's efforts to preserve the 
Teutonic racial strains in his nationals at home, many aspiring 
German lads in Bolivia have been following the example set 
by the father of Dictator Busch. They have been studiously 
cultivating and marrying into the best families $ not, it seems 
with the idea of subduing Bolivia for Hitlerism, but to make 
permanent places for themselves in the New World. And since 
there are so few whites among all the Bolivians, these marriage 
ties almost guarantee entree to all exclusive circles, social, polit- 
ical and financial. 



Ill 

East to the Orient 



X 



.. 

there are two Bolivias," a young engineer said to 
me in La Paz recently, "the very old and the very new. The 
old Bolivia is Andean, high up in the sky. The other is in the 
Eastern lowlands or, as we call it, the Orient." 

The old Bolivia, which had its origin on the shores of Lake 
Titicaca, and the lineage of whose native inhabitants goes back 
unbroken to prehistoric times, is for the most part confined to 
the dusty wind-swept alti-plano, and only now and then ven- 
tures over into the adjacent valleys. 

Politically the entire country is divided into eight depart- 
ments, or states, and three vast territories. Yet, except for two 
or three large mining towns, there are but five important urban 
centers. When you have named La Paz, Cochabamba, Oruro, 
Potosf and Sucre, you have called the roll of upper Bolivian 
cities. Among them La Paz is the only one bearing any re- 
semblance to a metropolis. 

The new, or Oriental Bolivia, comprises two thirds of the 
country's area. It begins in the green far eastern foothills and 
fertile valleys of the Andes, sprawls eastward into the Gran 
Chaco and northwestward into the Amazonian jungle. The only 
town of any size in all this limitless region is Santa Cruz de la 
Sierra, capital of the department of the same name. 

Santa Cruz is the center of a potentially rich agricultural 

' [415] 



New Roads to Riches 

and stock-raising section, and lies just north of the famed re- 
gion of black gold, the magnetic influence which has attracted 
the attention of the world to what the younger Bolivians in- 
sist will eventually overshadow the highland region. 

"As in the days when you Yankees looked to the West as 
your new empire," said a young intellectual, "our slogan today 
is, 'Go East young man, to the Orient.' To establish ourselves 
in this vast territory we have undergone much the same experi- 
ence you did in winning your great West. The people of the 
United States fought war after war with the Indians and the 
Spaniards of Mexico, in their efforts to establish themselves 
and open up the Western empire that stretched from the Mis- 
sissippi to the Pacific. In the same way we Bolivians have en- 
gaged the Paraguayans in a hundred years of disputes, clashes 
and finally a great conflict in the effort, first to gain undisputed 
right to exploit the Eastern lowland country and to call it our 
ownj second, the outlets for the fruits of that exploitation." 

I might have pointed out that we fought our way westward 
step by step, claiming and settling only a portion of the land 
at a time. On the other hand, the Bolivians were more ambi- 
tious. They claimed and fought for the entire Chaco Boreal, a 
triangular piece of territory, larger than Illinois, Iowa, New 
Jersey and Massachusetts combined, lying between the Bolivian 
foothills on the west, Argentina on the southwest, and the 
Paraguay River and Brazil on the northeast, much of which is 
a desolate, unusable, uncultivatable no man's land. 

To go back a little, when the Spanish Viceroys and soldiers 
reluctantly took leave of South America a hundred years ago 
and independence reigned, completely if stormily, from the 
Caribbean to Patagonia, all the various republics agreed that 
the old administrative boundaries of colonial times should form 
the frontiers between them. This in effect gave the Chaco to 
Bolivia, since, for administrative purposes, it had been under 
the jurisdiction of the officials of upper Peru. But what with 



Bolivia 

the gold mines of the cordillera, and later the silver of Potosi, 
the unhealthy and unexplored Orient had been neglected, if 
not forgotten. Meantime the Indians of Paraguay gradually 
penetrated far into it, made settlements, so that later on 
Paraguay, by virtue of having occupied it, claimed it as her 
own. 

Eventually Chile began biting off chunks of territory along 
the Pacific side of South America, until Bolivia was completely 
cut off from the sea. It then occurred to the Bolivians that, if 
access to the Amazon and the Atlantic from their northeastern 
rubber country was possible by way of the Beni, the Mamore, 
and the Madeira of Brazil, transportation from the southeast 
could be effected by building a railroad across the Chaco wastes 
to the Paraguay River from which steamers would connect with 
Buenos Aires and the South Atlantic. That is, if they could get 
control of the Chaco which lay between the foothill region and 
the river. But to this the Paraguayans strenuously and success- 
fully objected. 

After this the Chaco became a sort of whipping boy for the 
politicians in Bolivia, and in Paraguay, too, for that matter. 
Whenever a president or a dictator found himself being forced 
to the wall, he diverted attention from himself by charging, 
or having it reported, that the Paraguayans were marching 
against the country. Usually a few weeks of patriotic debating, 
flag waving, investigation and diplomatic maneuvering fur- 
nished the needed respite during which political fences could 
be mended sufficiently to keep the opposition off the executive 
neck. Now and then of course it became necessary to send 
soldiers on the long and laborious trek over the mountains, and 
down into the unknown, so that months would elapse before 
public attention was again directed to home affairs. Since 
Paraguayan officials were also resorting to such stratagems to 
protect themselves from their critical populace, these forays 
occasionally coincided and real clashes occurred. 

[417] 



New Roads to Riches 

As time passed, suspicion, bitterness and hatred grew in both 
countries. Even people in adjacent territories across the borders 
began to take sides. Eventually the Chaco question became a 
menacing disease in the heart of South America, the virus of 
which threatened to spread to all the surrounding nations. 
Through the years overtures came from many sources urging a 
solution of the question. Several attempts at arbitration, one by 
a President of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, were 
made. All of which failed largely because the politicians in both 
countries did not want a final solution. 

Then in 1912 oil was discovered along the edge of the 
Andean foothills, in a strip of territory about one hundred miles 
wide and apparently extending from the Argentine border all 
the way up to Peru. This of course furnished a legitimate ex- 
cuse for a genuine rivalry between the Bolivians and Paraguay- 
ans. Although the new riches lay in territory never even claimed 
by the Paraguayans, they now looked with covetous eyes upon 
it. Bolivians knowing that oil could not be siphoned a thousand 
miles across the Andes to the Pacific in order to get it to world 
markets, were now completely convinced that they must have 
at least enough of the Chaco through which to build roads to 
where the Paraguay River is navigable by ocean-going tankers 
and ships. 

In 1922 a concession which amounted to 689,839 acres, had 
been awarded to the Standard Oil Company for exploitation, 
the company to develop the industry and dispose of the oil 
under a forty-year lease, paying the Bolivian Government 
eleven per cent royalty and, in addition, a rental of approxi- 
mately one-fifth of a boliviano per acre per year. No doubt it was 
thought that so powerful a concern would itself find ways of 
getting the oil out to the world. And there was no reason why 
the company should not have felt that it could manage the 
situation without much difficulty. Fields which it operated in 
northern Argentina were in reality only an extension of the 



Bolivia 

Bolivian deposits. From here it would be comparatively easy 
to construct pipe lines and even roads on up into Bolivia. 

Unfortunately developments in Argentina made this impos- 
sible. At one time the Argentine Government tried to force the 
foreign oil companies out of business, but since Argentina is a 
country in which the judicial machinery functions with inde- 
pendence, she could find no legal way of doing it. There being 
nothing to prohibit it, the government itself entered the petro- 
leum industry in competition with the foreign companies. Sky- 
high tariffs were raised against private importation of oil, 
which served to block any plans to bring the Bolivian prod- 
uct out through Argentine territory. A pipe line across the 
Chaco was impossible because it would not only have been 
necessary to make many concessions to Paraguay, but to admit 
her ownership to the Chaco proper, to which Bolivia would 
not agree. 

Before all this, however, an overly confident, not to say 
foolhardy Bolivian Government, with a dramatic bravado 
akin to that of Balboa taking over the Pacific, decided to send 
down an army sufficient to appropriate the Chaco bodily. Little 
did they, or any one else, realize this was to be the beginning of 
one of the longest and most disastrous struggles in South Amer- 
ican history. Although the members of the administration which 
conceived and ordered these desperate measures soon found 
themselves walking the plank into political limbo, and their 
successors remaining in power hardly long enough to warm 
their official chairs, desultory warfare prevailed for years. There 
were a few lulls, but soldiers continued to roam the desolate 
wastes. One day there would be a serious clash in one section, 
a few weeks later on somewhere else, enough to keep the diplo- 
mats wrangling and the war spirit kindled both at the front and 
back home. 

But in 1932 intermittent fighting gave way to protracted 
conflict, to large-scale bloodshed and suffering. Poor Bolivian 



New Roads to Riches 

Indians., whose hearts and lungs were accustomed only to the 
cold, rarefied atmosphere of the high mountain country were 
suddenly plunged into the suffocating tropical lowlands. They 
died by the hundreds before they ever faced the enemy. Even 
after a period of relaxation and a certain amount of acclimatiza- 
tion they were in no fit condition to fight. Besides, having been 
subjected for hundreds of years to such oppression and mistreat- 
ment that all the fighting spirit had been taken out of them, 
they were never equal to the tough and fearless Paraguayans, 
who were not only at home in the Chaco, but are conceded to 
be the great fighters of the Southern Continent. 

In addition to these human handicaps, the Bolivians labored 
against superhuman difficulties in getting supplies, ammunition 
and war materials, as well as themselves, to the battle front, 
not to mention the indescribable conditions under which they 
had to fight. "No matter what the stakes," a captain who suc- 
ceeded in living through four years of it told me in La Paz a 
year ago, "they could never be worth one single day of the 
suffering we endured. 

"To reach the front from La Paz in the early days," he said, 
"it was first necessary to travel 1200 miles by train and truck, 
then 450 more on muleback and on foot, over rugged moun- 
tains, down bottomless canyons to the edge of the Chaco. The 
Chaco itself is a vast sandy desert with intermittent patches, 
sometimes 12 to 1 8 miles wide, of thorny, impenetrable desert 
plants five and ten feet high. The sand is so fine that trucks 
had to be especially constructed to prevent the motors from 
completely choking every few minutes. Guns would become so 
clogged they would not even fire. 

"In the wet season," he continued, "it rains in spots so that 
in one section the desert becomes an open sea, through which 
no truck, mule or man could pass. Dry gullies and valleys be- 
came surging rivers of mud, and it would be necessary to put 
all men and equipment on rafts built of gasoline barrels. And 

[420] 



Bolivia 

yet thirty miles away men would be dying of thirst and dust 
strangulation. Water had to be carried for hundreds of miles. 
Usually each man was issued a quart a day, and that had to an- 
swer for all purposes, cooking, drinking and bathing. The lieat 
is stifling. Flies and insects of every variety travel over the land 
in swarms like bees." 

While men endured all this, politicians in La Paz and Asun- 
cion wrangled among themselves. Presidents and dictators 
schemed, revolted, took control and were overthrown, one after 
another. Neighboring countries pleaded and brought pressure 
to bear for peace. Members of the Seventh International Con- 
ference of American States meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, 
in December, 1933, succeeded in bringing about an armistice 
during the Christmas period. Following this the League of Na- 
tions, of which both Bolivia and Paraguay were then members, 
tried its hand at a solution, only to find some South Americans 
lukewarm towards its efforts and others openly critical of its 
methods. So that neither party to the dispute would agree to 
anything. Finally the League, having completely failed in its 
mission, retired from the scene. 

The war was resumed and bloodshed became more terrible 
than ever. For a long time the Paraguayans were easily the vic- 
tors. They fought, so to speak, on their own ground, in a climate 
and under conditions to which they were accustomed. Besides 
they were nearer their home base, and the source of supplies 
and materials. In the end they drove their adversaries out of the 
Chaco proper and right up against the Bolivian foothills. But by 
this time the advantages were with the Bolivians. They were 
nearer their home base. Most of their soldiers had become vet- 
erans, practically acclimated to the lowlands. Besides that they 
had learned something about fighting and therefore were able 
to offer serious resistance. Neither side was able to make any 
great headway after this. 

During the Economic Conference in Buenos Aires in 1935, 



New Roads to Riches 

another armistice was effected, and a peace conference called, in 
which Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and the United 
States were represented. Emissaries continued in session almost 
uninterruptedly for nearly three years until an agreement was 
finally reached in August, 1938. By that time Bolivia could 
count the cost in some 80,000 casualties, and a $50,000,000 
piled-up debt. 

In the treaty of peace Paraguay of course received the lion's 
share of the southern Chaco. While Bolivia was awarded only a 
mere strip of it in the south, she was given a rather large section, 
more than 14,000 square miles in the north, adjacent to Brazil. 
In addition she was granted the right to use a port on the Para- 
guay River, Puerto Casado, and by a treaty she has secured 
from Brazil, a piece of territory with a thirty-mile front on the 
Paraguay River in the north. 

But while the peace conference was struggling to bring about 
the final settlement between the two countries, La Paz officials 
were devoting their attention once more to oil. They had de- 
veloped many grievances about the matter. First of all they 
were disappointed over the fact that the oil company had neither 
provided nor found any way to get oil to the markets, and that 
after seventeen years the industry was still undeveloped and 
they were receiving no royalties. 

Partly because of their own suspicions, and partly because of 
propaganda, and perhaps some maneuvers upon the part of 
the oil company itself, they convinced themselves that the 
Standard had never intended to develop the industry in Bolivia, 
that it merely intended to explore, drill a few wells, enough to 
furnish oil locally and hold the concession in reserve for use 
when other sources had been exhausted. 

Incidentally the propaganda had originated from many 
sources, principally, some believe, from Argentina. Informed 
people suggest that Argentina, having little oil of her own, is 
ambitious to share in the exploitation of the Bolivian fields. 

[422] 



Bolivia 

Also Germans and Italians, it was said, had vague hopes of greas- 
ing their fingers with Bolivian oil. Meanwhile enemies of the 
Standard at home were active, and threw fuel on the fire. To 
even scores with his old enemy, whose operations he had fought 
in Louisiana, the then very much alive leather-lunged Kingfish 
arose in the august United States Senate and charged the com- 
pany with playing both ends against the middle. 

Because of all this, and more, coupled with their growing 
nationalistic and socialistic tendencies, the young La Paz officials 
decided to take over the industry and carve a new economic 
future for the country. How they did it, and how they justified 
themselves the legal hair-splitting and the court procedure in 
which they engaged is a long and complicated story, and it is 
past history. The fact is they have scrapped the concession, con- 
fiscated the properties and have their oil fields to do with as 
they please. And I am not here concerned with the details, nor 
the justification, but merely with the fact. 

How they are to develop, exploit and otherwise make the 
properties profitable to the country is now the big question. 
They cannot do it without assistance from the outside. That 
they will be willing to co-operate in any way with American 
companies is doubtful, since they have already developed such 
an anti-Standard, or anti-American-oil phobia. It has been re- 
ported that various agreements have been made with the Ger- 
mans. According to one such report a railroad is to be built 
across the Chaco in Paraguay, a refinery set up on the Paraguay 
River and gasoline supplied to that country and peddled to the 
outside world. Bolivia might be 'willing to agree to some such 
plan, although she has denied it. For that matter I can see no 
reason why she should refuse, or why any reasonably minded 
person should think she should refuse to sell oil to the Germans, 
or anybody else in Europe for that matter, who can pay for it. 
But again Bolivia wants cash and needs it, and where Germany 
is to get it has not been explained. 

[4233 



New Roads to Riches 

But no matter what the difficulties to be confronted. Dictator 
German Busch believes that the Bolivian Orient, with its vari- 
ous resources, has a bright future. Oil, of course, is number one 
on the list of its products. Northward in the Basins of the Beni, 
the Mamore and the other important rivers is the center of 
what was once the richest rubber-producing section in all the 
Amazonian Basin. This industry, it is believed, can be restored 
to importance. Coca is already a source of considerable income 
for the country. In fact, Bolivia is the largest producer of this 
drug in South America. Coffee may also become a major crop 
and all manner of tropical fruits and nuts have been waiting for 
transportation to world markets. No section of the world, say 
experts, is more suitable for cattle raising than the grassy val- 
leys in the region of Santa Cruz. 

All these possibilities loom large in the mind of German 
Busch. He is not a highlander, but an Oriental, a native of the 
Santa Cruz section. In far-away La Paz I have no doubt he 
looks out upon the bleak surroundings, the snow-capped moun- 
tains, and longs for the green valleys below. At night he prob- 
ably shivers in the biting atmosphere of the altiplmo and thinks 
of his home country and its equable climate, where almost 
everything grows, trees, flowers, all forms of agriculture, and 
where more white people have settled in recent times than any- 
where else in the country. He wants to see this region de- 
veloped. Besides, if this can be done, he feels it will offset the 
economic stranglehold which the tin industry, not to say the tin 
kings, had on the country. 

Immigration to the Orient has been and is being encouraged. 
Italians, Germans and Jugoslavs have settled around Santa 
Cruz in former years and they have gone on the land and be- 
come substantial citizens. In the past year and a half Bolivia has 
received large numbers of German-Jewish refugees, hoping to 
settle them in the new eastern empire. For a while she was 
admitting as many as 800 a month, so many that a serious pass- 

[424] 



Bolivia 

port scandal developed over the question. In spite of this she 
has continued to accept substantial numbers. 

But already the plan is faced with great difficulties. Most of 
the newcomers want to remain in the upland cities, which is 
creating a serious problem. In old communities, whose popula- 
tions have remained more or less static for years, and in which 
every available job or professional position has been handed 
down from generation to generation in the same families, a sud- 
den influx of hundreds of foreigners of a different race, with 
different customs, causes considerable reaction. 

Not only is the slogan, "Go east to the Orient," but plans are 
under way to provide means of getting there. Several railroads 
to the lowlands are already projected. The first and most im- 
portant is the one from Sucre down to Camiri in the oil fields, 
"of great importance," says an official statement, "for the ex- 
traction of petroleum destined for the domestic markets." An- 
other is to connect Cochabamba with Santa Cruz. "This one," 
to quote from the government's rhetorical outpourings once 
more, "will signify the material and spiritual tying together of 
the east and the west." Besides these two key lines, which would 
link the Chaco with La Paz and the old cities of the akiplano 
as well as the Pacific Ocean, there are to be two or three short 
lines connecting certain of the more populous communities 
of the region. 

Only a few highways to the east have been planned so far. 
First-class motor roads already constructed in Bolivia aside 
from those in and through the suburban districts of the cities, 
may be counted on the fingers of one hand, leaving more than 
one finger to spare. The new fifty-mile strip between La Paz 
and Lake Titicaca is about the longest. Another, passable only 
in dry weather, extends northward from the capital over into 
the near-by Yungas Valley. These and two others built by the 
mining companies, connecting certain camps with railroads, are 
about all. 



New Roads to Riches 

One rough military road was built across the southern moun- 
tains from the Bolivian-Argentine railroad to the edge of the 
Chaco in the early days of the war, which is to be improved. Of 
the new roads under consideration, but by no means under con- 
struction, one from Cochabamba to Chimore in the Valley of 
the Mamore River, will make possible transportation from the 
highlands all the way to the Amazon, as the Mamore is navi- 
gable to that point by shallow-draught river boats. Another in 
the Santa Cruz region, one in the far south, and short stretches 
here and there are on the program. 

Bolivia is the only one of the Andean countries in which rail- 
road building takes precedence over highway construction today, 
although the physical difficulties to be overcome in the build- 
ing of railways are even greater than those encountered in the 
laying of highways. While in either case, it is necessary to span 
countless canyons and gorges, and to bore tunnels through 
mountains and chisel ledges out of solid rock, all at tremendous 
cost, highways are certainly much less expensive. 

But of all the plans for transportation to the oil country and 
the lowlands, the projected plans from Yacuiba on the Argen- 
tine frontier to Santa Cruz, paralleling the oil strip, is probably 
the most significant. This line naturally extends on down to the 
main-line Argentine roads with direct connections to Buenos 
Aires. It suggests that the statesmen on the Rio de la Plata 
were thinking far ahead when they put high tariffs on the im- 
portation into or transit of Bolivian oil through Argentine ter- 
ritory. Now that Bolivia has taken over her oil resources, and 
the industry is no longer in private hands, she is to enjoy com- 
plete Argentine co-operation. 

Brazil, not to be outdone by Argentina, is also bidding for 
a share in the conquest of the Bolivian Orient. In co-operation 
with the La Paz Government, she is to construct a railroad 
across the northern Chaco, between Santa Cruz and Corumba 
on the Paraguay River, to connect with her long transcontinental 

[426] 



Bolivia 

line to the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo, Santos and the Atlantic 
coast. 

And herein lies the reason why the Nazis will hardly be likely 
to gain control of any portion of the Bolivian oil deposits. They 
may be able eventually to purchase or bargain for oil, but not 
for any wells. Brazil and Argentina are the two largest, richest 
and most populous countries on the Continent. Brazil so far has 
found no petroleum deposits anywhere within her vast territory, 
while the Argentine fields supply only a small portion of that 
country's needs. Both nations are extremely nationalistic and 
without the slightest sympathy for Nazi doctrines or interfer- 
ence in South American affairs. Brazil is openly and violently 
opposed to totalitarian penetration. 

If the lowland region is to become the stage for a revived 
Bolivian economy, if there is to be a new Bolivia in the Orient, 
Brazil and Argentina will not only help to bring it about, but 
will undoubtedly share in the results. Anyway, they are already 
building new roads to its riches. 



[427] 



Index 



Abaob, Isaac, 226 

achote plants, 312; seeds, 314, 315 

Acosta, Padre Jos6, 258 ^ 

agriculture, general: Bolivia, 349, 383- 
4, 410; Ecuador, 243; Perti, 267, 268, 
269-70, 271, 301-2, 309-10, 314, 315, 

326, 330 

Aguero, Jose de la Riva, 338 

airways, general, 24, 44, 45, 100-2, 
121-3, 134, 135, 152, 156, 166, 210- 
II, 212, 220, 233-4, 238, 240, 256, 
272, 274, 315, 317, 318-9, 324-6* 

327, 329, 356, 357, 361, 362, 363, 
377-8,410, 411, 412 

alcala, cotton, 331 

Alcantara, Fulhano de, 207 

Alfaro, General Eloy, 241, 248-9; town 
of, 222 

Alfinger, Ambrosio, see Ehinger 

Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Ameri- 
cana, 350 

All American Cables, 217 

Almagro, Pedro de, 208, 209, 210, 211, 
280-1 

alpacas, 304; alpaca wool, 321 

Altar, Mount, 242 

altiplano, 308, 376, 378, 405-6, 415, 424, 

425 
Amat y Julient, Manuel de, 278, 284-5, 

337 

Amazon region, 106, 112, 239, 299, 313, 
314, 316, 336, 347, 415, 424; river, 
308, 316, 376, 377 

Ambato, 242 

American Geographical Society, 25 

American investments, 27, 50, 94, 229, 
234-5, 241, 273, 306-7, 315-6, 325, 
328-9, 333, 356, 357, 358, 392, 393, 
402, 407, 408-9, 410, 418, 422, 423 

American Museum of Natural History, 

335.3&L . 

American Society of Peru, 371 
American solidarity, 371 
Ancon, 167 
Andean Cordillera, 4, 101, 123, 242-3, 

256, 301-4, 319, 328, 335, 336, 378; 

Infiernillo Bridge, 302 
Angel, Jimmy, 25 
Antioquia, Columbian state of, 109, 

134, 141, 152; Antioquian coffee, 142; 

gold mines, 141, 142; railroads, 142 



Antofagasta, Chile, 377, 410 

A PR A, 350 

Aparicio, Carlos Martinez, 98 

aprismo, 263, 351-3 

apristas, 263 

Apure River, 5 

Aramayo, Carlos Victor, 401-2 

Arcaya, Pedro Manuel, 47 

archaeology: Bolivia, 384-6; Peru, 
263-4, 265-7, 330-2, 334, 335-6 

arepas, 38, 144 

Arequipa, 275, 293, 308, 317, 319, 321, 
327, 377, 3791 air terminal, 325; 
architecture, 320; Areguipanos, 320; 
cemetery, 324; club, 320-1; foreign- 
ers, 321 ; history, 340, 343, 346; hotel, 
322; mining center, 328, 329; Quinta 
Bates, 323-4; valley, 319 

Argentine, 377, 384, 419, 422 

Arias, Harmodio, 179, 189-98, 199 

Arica, town of, 326, 377, 410 

Arosemena, Juan Demostenes, 194, 197, 
198, 199 

Aruba, Island of, 50 

asphalt, Lake of Bermudez, 28-9 

Asuncion, town of, 421 

Atahualpa, 260, 279, 337 

Auyantipuy, Mount, 24, 25 

Ayacucho, 307, 308; La Paz de Aya- 
cucho, 388 

Aymara Indians, 378, 382, 383, 385 

Ayora, Isidro, 249 

Balboa, city of, 167; brewery, 169-70; 

climate, 170 
Balboa, Vasco Nunez de, 172-3, 177, 

208 
balsa, commercial product, 216; dug-out 

canoes, 230-1, 381, 383 
bananas, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 148, 166, 

229 

Barco oil concession, Colombia, 128-30 
Barco, Virgilio, 128 
Barranca Bermeja, 101, 125, 132 
Barranquilla, 101, 125, 128, 134, 150; 

breweries, 97; British concessions, 

95-6; foreign colonies, 97; foreign 

investments, 96-7; Hotel Del Praolo, 

98; livestock market, 128; mills, 96; 

newspapers, 98; port facilities, 85; 

real estate, 98; water works, 97-8 



[429] 



Index 



baseball, Venezuela, 37 

Bates, Quinta, 322-4, 329, 378 

Bauer, P. P. von, 98-9 

Beach, Mrs., 299 

Bedoya, Santiago, 364 

Belalcazar, Sebastian de, 225, 244 

Belzares family, 5 

Benavides, Oscar R., 338, 346, 347, 348, 
353; government of, 349-50 

Beni River, 376, 377, 417, 424 

Bennett, Wendell, 335, 384-6 

Bermudez, Asphalt Lake of, 29 

Billinghurst, Guillermo, 343, 346 

Bliss, Gerald, 156-7 

Boca Chica, 78, 89 

Bogota, 14, 85, 100, 106, 116, 128, 211; 
architecture, 108-9; class divisions, 
111-12; climate, 134; Country Club, 
112; cultural strains, 109, 112-13; 
customs, in, 112; dress, in, 112; 
population, 108; religion, 121; situ- 
ation, 1 06, 134; University of, 82 

bolivano, Bolivian currency, 399 



Bolivar, Simon, 9, 12-16, 34, 38, 39, 41, 
89, 90, 245, 335, 391; Casa Natal, 12, 
16; San Pedro Alejandrino, 15, 90- 



91 ; tomb, 16, 65 

Bolivar, city of, see Ciudad Bolivar 

Bolivar, state of, 85 

bolivar, Venezuelan currency, 22 

Bolivia: agriculture, 349, 383-4, 401; 
airways, 377-8, 412; American in- 
vestments, 392, 393; archaeology, 
384-6; area, 375; bonds, 391; Brazil, 
treaty with, 422; British interests, 
400; coca, 424; coffee, 424; Congress, 
391; cotton, 319, 331; customs regu- 
lations, 414; debt, National, 392; 
economy, 391; foreign settlers, 411; 
geography, 375, 376; German oil 
agreement, 423; gold, 387-8, 396, 
397, 409, 410, 411; highways, 383, 
384, 386-7, 425; history, 14, 378, 390, 
391, 392, 393; 416, 417, 4i8, 4*9> 
420, see Chaco; immigration, 424; 
Indian labor, 390, 405; Indian popu- 
lation, 350; lead, 400; livestock, 349, 
401, 424; national flower, 312; na- 
tionalism, 396; Nazism, 393, 411; oil, 
349, 376, 39i 418-19, 422, 423, 424, 
425; Oriental Bolivia, 415, 416; 
Paraguay dispute, 240, 326, 378, 394, 
396, 411, 413, see Chaco; Peruvian 
frontier, 329, 381; political division 
of country, 415; railroads, 377, 379, 
384, 400, 410, 423, 425; revolutions, 
390, 392; rubber, 417, 424; silver, 
39 6 397~9 4*7; Socialism, National, 
393. 3?4 395, 4<>3-6; Supreme Court, 
391; tin, 393, 396, 397-402, 403, 407, 



424; volcanic region, 377; War Min- 
istry, 392 
bomber o, 188 
Booker, Don C., 18 
Botero, Amalia Mejia de, 140, 144, 

147-8 

Boza, Hector, 347 
Brazil, 24, 44, 77, 124, 325, 326, 377, 

412, 417, 422, 426 
British Guiana, 24, 44 
British investments, 5-6, 27, 95-6, 258, 

301, 307, 328, 357, 358, 364, 365, 400, 

407, 408, 409, 410 
British Malaya, 407 
Brooklyn Museum, 330 
bubonic plague, 222, 223, 224, 225 
bucare, 36 

Bucay, 223, 224, 242 
Buenaventura, port of, 99-100, 116, 21 1 
Buena Vista, 6 
Bulgaria, ex-King of, 322 
bunuelos, 145 
Busch, German, 393, 394, 395, 396, 401, 

403, 409, 424 

cacao, 41, 215, 216, 234, 235; curing 
process, 215, 216, 235 

caf6 aguarapado, 31-2 

Cajamarca, city of, 260, 279, 307, 308 ; 
valley, 210 

Calamar, 85, 150, 152 

Calcano-Calcano, Jose Antonio, 35-6 

Calderon, 355 

Caldes, Colombian state of, 141 

Cali, 100, 125, 138 

Callao, city of, 273, 296, 301, 307, 327, 
354, 355; Callao-Lima railway, 278; 
climate, 276; docks (French con- 
struction), 277; t government dock 
works, 278; landing, 276-7; modern 
improvements, 278; modern rjort 
facilities, 277-8, 327; population, 
278; roads, 278 

cambulo trees, 146 

Camiri, town of, 425 

campanailloc tree, 312 

Campuzano, Ricardo Gomez, 107-8 

Capello mule trail, 310, 311 

Carabobo: battle of, 12; Venezuelan 
state of, 41 

Caracas: American legation, 17; Bella 
Vista, 21, 35; Bolivar's birthplace, 
12, 16; Bolivar's tomb, 16, 65; cli- 
mate, 7; Hippodromo, 20-21; his- 
tory, 5; hotels, 22; "Los Cabos," 20; 
monuments, 8-9; Pantheon, 16, 65; 
Paraiso, 8, 9, 20-21, 35; paseo, 8, 9, 
n; Plaza Bolivar, 8; rents, 22; res- 
taurants, 23; Salon Eliptico, 12; San 



[430] 



Index 



Pablo, 19; taxes, 21-2; university, 
n; Workmen's Bank, 21 

Caracas, valley of, 44 

Caribean Sea, 3, 4, 5, 28, 42 

Caribs, 5, 34 

carieles, 143 

Carihuairazo, Mount, 242 

Caripito: town, 27, 28; oil refinery, 27; 
workmen's houses, 27-8 

Caroni River, 24, 25; falls of, 25; valley 
of, 24, 25, 26 

Carrena, Teresa, 35 

Cartagena: antiquity of, 89; architec- 
ture, 81; atmosphere, 81-2; cathe- 
dral, 86; Church of Pedro Claver, 88; 
custom's duties, 8o-~8i; livestock 
market, 128; public works, 85; San 
Felipe fortifications, 78-9; univer- 
sity, 84 

Casapalca, 303 

Castro, Cipriano, 53, 6 1 

Castro, Vaca de, 337 

Catadavids family, 138 

Catavi, 400. See tin 

Cauca, river, 100, 106, 125; state (Co- 
lombian), 141; valley, 100, 113, 125, 
132, 135. 138, 141, 151 

Ccapac, Inca Huayna, 397-8 

Ccapac, Inca Manco, 381 

cedula, 105 

Cerro de Pasco, town of (mining cen- 
ter), 299, 307, 328, 332 

Cerro, Luis M. Sanchez, 340, 343, 345, 
346; Cerro Revolution, 343-4, 347 

Chachani, Mount, 319 

Chaco, 326, 376, 415, 418, 419, 420, 425; 
Chaco Boreal, 416; dispute, 240, 326, 
378, 394> 39> 4H. 413, 416-20, 421, 
422, 425 

chamairo tree, 314 

Chancay, valley of, 260-61 

Chanchamayo Valley, 308, 310, 315, 

33 2 

Chan Chan, city of, 263-4, 265, 336; 
archaeological treasures, 265-6; tour- 
ists, 273 

Charles V of Spain, 286 

Chavez, Jorge (aviator), 318; monu- 
ment to, 318; tomb of, 364 

Chavin, ruins, 335, 336 

Chicama, port of, 272; valley of, 261, 
265, 269, 271, 274, 350, 374 

Chiclayo, 260, 328 

Chile, 231, 255, 262, 280, 300, 325, 326, 
377, 384, 410. 417, 422; Peruvian dis- 
pute with, 326 

Chimborazo, mountain and volcano, 
242-3 

Chimu Empire, 264-5; Chimus, 263-4, 



316, 336; Chimu art, 265-7; Chimu 

country, 330 
Chincha Islands, 355 
Chira River, 260; valley of, 260-1 
Chiriqui Province, 166, 191 
Choco territory, 141 
chola, 285 
Choqueyapu River, 387; name of La 

Paz, 387 
Chosica, 299 
chozas, 309 
chullos, 305 

Chuquiago (or La Paz), 387 
Ciudad Bolivar, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29 
Claver, Padre Pedro, 87-8 
Coati, Sacred Island of, 381, 382, 384 
coca leaves, 385, 386 
Cochabamba, town of, 399, 400, 410, 

415, 425; valley of, 401 
coffee, 39, 41, 69, 85, 137, 139-40, 142, 

145, 146, 147, 148, 150, 166, 301, 314, 
315, 401; Antiquoian, 142; blends, 
148; culture, 146-7; United States 
consumption, 148 

Colombia -.airways, 100, 101, 102, 121-3, 
I34 135, 152; area, 124; art, 119, 
120; bananas, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 
148; climate, 107, 124, 125, 135, 257; 
coffee, 85, 137, 139-40, 141, 142, I45 

146, 147, 148, 150; cotton, 96; class 
distinctions, 112; emerald mining, 
133; Fascism, 114; foreign capital, 
133; geography, 124-5; Germans, 
113; gold, 141; highland customs, 
in; highways, 99, 100, 124, 128, 
150-2; history, 87, 337, 347; indus- 
tries, 125, 133, 141; Indians, 112; 
Italians, 113; Jewish refugees, 113; 
labor laws, 127; Liberal Party, 113, 
114, 115, 116, 117; livestock, 84, 85, 
128, 136-7, 142; oil, 85, 125, 126, 127, 
128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133; passport 
regulations, 105, 106; Peruvian dis- 
pute, 347; platinum, 133; political 
divisions, 124; population, 1 12; presi- 
dential seat, 124; presidential succes- 
sion, 1 1 6; racial strains, 112; rail- 
roads, 92, 99, 100, 142, 143, 150; 
Spanish Civil War, its effects, 115, 
367; tariffs, 148, 149, 150; tobacco, 
139; transportation problems, 126, 
150; women, outnumber men, 120; 
women poets, 120 

Colombia-Peru border dispute, 347 
Col6n, 158, 159, 161-2, 167, 181, 189, 

183, 184, 194 

Colon, Cristobal, see Columbus 
colonche, 230 
Columbus, Christopher, 3, 75, 172, 173, 

256; "Dia de la Raza," 104 



[431] 



Index 



Communism, 55, 263, 349, 352, 369 

comunidades, 271 

Connor, Doctor, 223 

Contreras, Eleazar Lopez, 52-6, 70 

Coolidge, Calvin, 326 

Copacabana, festival of Our Lady of, 

379, 382, 384; peninsula of, 381, 382; 

Shrine of, 382 

copper, 243, 299, 303, 306-7 
Coro, 63 

Cortez, Pedro, 246-7 
Coscuez, emerald mines, 133 
Cotopaxi, Mountain and Volcano, 229, 

242 
cotton, 41, 66, 96, 256, 261, 271, 319, 

33 1 

Coward, Noel, 323-4 

Cristobal, 135, 136, 152, 155, 156, 157, 

159, 167, 1 68; New Cristobal, 182, 

183; Stranger's Club, 155 
Cucuta, 128 
Cumbia, 163-5 
Curacao, 37, 50, 63 
Cuzco, city of, 280, 307, 308, 326, 337, 

388; history of, 337, 33^, 343 ; 

Peruvian district, 265, 308, 328, 329, 

379 

dairy farming: Ecuador, 243; Venezu- 
ela, 39 

Darien, Gulf of, 150 

David, town of, 162-6 

Davis, Roy T., 191, 202 

del Rio, Carlos Arroyo, 229 

Delta region, Venezuela, 27, 29 

Deluduchi, 314 

Dennis, Lawrence, 392 

Desierto de Sechura, Peru, 260 

diamonds, Venezuela, 23, 24, 25 

Dintilhac, Father Jorge, 287 

Doyle, William Tecumseh Sherman, 
17, 18, 19 

Drake, Sir Francis, 77, 89, 90, 173 

Duque, Gabriel T., 199-200 

Duran, 222, 241, 242. See Alfaro 

dwrazno tree, 146 

Economic Conference, Buenos Aires, 
421 

Ecuador: airways, 220, 233, 234, 240; 
area, 238; bananas, 229; cacao, 215, 
216, 234, 235; climate, 257; cock- 
fighting, 226-7; Colombian cities 
compared, 240; copper, 243; farm- 
ing, 243; flying corps, 233; geography, 
238-9; German trade^ 233-6; gold, 
229, 243 ; highway, Bolivar, 241 ; his- 
tory, 14, 249; iron, 243; Italians, 229, 
233, 235; Jewish refugees, 234; lead, 
243; navy, 231; oil, 217, 229; Pe- 



ruvian disputes, 239, 260, 326; 
plateau products, 238; public health, 
222, 223, 224, 225; railroads, 224, 
241, 242, 248; silver,- 229, 243; vol- 
canic region, 243 

Ehinger, Ambrose, 5 

Ehrman, Natalio, 170-71 

Eighth International Conference of 
American States, 292, 361 

El Cpnsejo, 37 

Eldridge, Chief Paymaster, 355 

Elizalde, Alejandro Ponce, 229 

El Misti, Mount, 319, 320, 327 

El Tiempo, newspaper, 118-19 

El Torito, 45 

emerald mining, Colombia, 133 

Enriquez, Alberto, 234 

Esmeraldas, city of, 208, 209, 211, 212 

estofado, 162 

Estrado, Victor Emilio, 229 

estribos, 145 

"fabulous empire," 44 

fanegada, 271 

Fascism, 55, 114, 115, 199-200, 363, 

364, 369, 371, 4^9 
"Father Misti," 319 
Fen wick, Doctor Charles G., 287 
Ferdinand VI of Spain, 76-9 
Fernandini, Eulogio E., 295 
fleteros, 276 

Florez, Mercedes Alvarez de, 120 
Ford, Henry, 66 
Foster, Harry N., 285, 320 
Franc, Carl August, 94 
Franco, General, 365, 366, 367 

Galapagos Islands, 239 

Gamarra, port of, 100 

Garcia, Heriberto, ro 

Gasca, Father de la, 281, 337 

German trade and investments, 113, 
233 2 34-6 f 272, 294-5, 325-6, 363-5, 
367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 409, 410-11, 
412,^423,424 

Giannmi, A. P., 361 

Gigante, Hugo, 247-8 

Gildemeister brothers, 272, 363, 364 

Giradot, 100, 101, 123, 125, 151 

Goajira Peninsula, 45-6, 112. See In- 
dians 

gold, 23, 24, 26, 47, 141, 142, 229, 243, 
258, 307, 316, 325, 328-9, 330, 387-8, 

fl 396,397, 409,410,411 

"Gold Orchard," 387 

Gomez, Juan Vincente, 6, 9, 20, 24, 34, 
38, 39, 40, 41, 47, 52, 53, 54, 57-72, 

202 

Gomez, Gonzalo, 37 
Gorgas, General, 223 



[432] 



Index 



Grace, House of, 355, 356, 357, 410 

Grace Line, 41-2, 355-6 

Grace, William Russell, 354-5, 356 

Graham, Cunninghame, 209 

Grau, Miguel, 312 

grupas, 145 

guamo tree, 146 

guano, 261; guano islands, 261, 354 

Guaqui, port of, 379, 384, 387 

Siarapo, 32 
uatabita, no 
Guayana, 23 
Guayaquil, city of: American com- 

Eanies, 229; antiquity of, 225, 226; 
anks, 229; climate, 225; docks and 

lighterage, 232-3; environs, 230; fire 

department, 228; hotels, 218, 226; 

natives, 228; port examinations, 232; 

public health, 222-5; shipping, 231; 

wages, 233 

Guayas River, 217, 220, 225, 230, 231 
Guizado, Juan Antonio, 189 
Gutierrez, Leonidas Plaza, 248-9 
gypsies, Peru, 302 

Hahn, Reynaldo, 35 

Hammer, Fritz, 234 

Harden, H. T., 58, 60 

Harding, Warren G., 326 

Harman, Archer, 241, 242, 248 

Harris, Harold, 317, 326 

Hawkins, John, 77 

Hayes, Rutherford B., 418 

headhunters, Ecuador, 237-8 

Herrera, Enrique Olaya, 115-17 

Herrera, Rafael Larco, 265; private 
museum of, 265, 266, 267, 268 

highway construction, general, 5, 6-7, 
24, 34, 35, 38, 39, 42-3. 68, 99-100, 
124, 128, 132, 150, 151-2, 166, 167, 
302-3, 307, 308, 310-12, 315, 316, 
326, 329-30, 332-3, 339 34S, 383, 
384, 386-7, 425 

Hitler, Adolf, and Nazism, 234, 272, 
363, 365, 369* 370, 394, 402, 412, 413, 
414 

Hochschild, Mauricio, 402 

Hollipeter, 97-8 

Honda, 100, 125, 137 

Hoover, Herbert, 249 

huacos, 266, 317 

Huallaga River, 255/308 ; valley of, 308 

Huancayo, 307, 308 

Huancavelica, 307 

Huanuco, 308 

Hudson, W. H., 230 

Hull, Cordell, 371 

Humboldt, Baron von, 257; Humboldt 
current, 256, 327 



Ibague, town of, 100 

lea, city of, 319, 329, 330 

Illiniza, Mount, 243 

Illimani, Mount, 387 

Illimo district, see Lambayeque 

Incas, ancient, 109, 209, 210, 218, 
244-5, 257~8, 260, 264, 265, 266, 277, 
279-80, 302, 303, 304, 305, 307, 309, 
311, 312, 313, 316, 328, 336, 337, 381, 
382, 384, 397, 398 

Indians: Aymara, 378, 382, 383, 385; 
Bolivian Indians, 385-6, 405; Caras, 
245; Caribs, 5, 34; Chibchas, 109, 
no, in, 264; Chimus, see Chimus; 
Chunchos, 313-14; Colombian In- 
dians, 212; Ecuadorean Indians, 
246-8; Goajiras, 45-6; Indian civili- 
zations, 40, 336; Incas, see Incas; 
Jivaros, 237-8; Lacustrine, 40-41, 
230; Mochicas, 316, 336; Motilones, 
131-2; Peruvian Indians, 304-6, 309, 
3*3, 340, 350, 353; Quitus, 244, 245; 
San Bias, 157-8; Teques, 5, 34 

Indies, 76, 77 

Iquitos, 314, 347; mail service, 314-15; 
region, 315-16 

Isaacs, Jorge, 138-9 

I slay Desert, 327 

Italian influence, 113, 229, 233, 235, 
294, 361, 362, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 
409,410-11,423,424 

Japanese current, 257 

Japanese in Peru, 358-61 

Jews: Bolivia, 396, 402, 424; Colombia, 

86, 113, 138; refugees, 424 
Jipijapa, sombrero de, 213-15 
Jorppo, 36, 247 
Juliaca, 328, 379 

kantuta, 312 
Kellog, Secretary, 326 
Klotz, Herr, 122-3 
Knox, Philander, 18 
Kreuger, Ivar, 97 
Kundt, Hans, 394, 411 

La Dorada, 100, 125, 151 

La Guaira, 4, 5, 6, 24, 41, 56 

La Libertad, Peruvian Department of, 
261 

Lambayeque, Peruvian Department of, 
260, 265 

La Merced, 310, 314, 315 

La Paz, 325, 376, 377, 378, 379, 384, 387, 
388, 399, 402, 405, 409, 4io, 41 1, 415, 
424, 425; altitude, 387; American In- 
stitute, 412; architecture, 388; at- 
mosphere, 388 ; Church of San Fran- 
cisco, 388; climate, 387; Germans, 



[433] 



Index 



412; history, 387-8, 390; house of 
Diez de Medina, 388; Military Col- 
lege, 394; names for city (obsolete), 
387; native dress, 388-9; public 
buildings, 388 

La Perla, 278, 279 

La Posada, Juan de, 138, 139, 140, 150 

La Silla, Mount, 4 

Latacunga, 242 

Latham, Edward, 191 

La Vela, 63 

La Victoria, 37 

lead, 243, 307, 400 

League of Nations, 421 

Lecuna, Juan, 36 

Leguia, Augusto B., 283, 296, 339~44 
346 

Lesseps, Ferdinand de, 177 

lianas, 312 

licenciado, 82 

Lima, 112, 274, 275, 309, 310, 324, 325, 
328, 388; air mail, 314-15; air ter- 
minal, 318; American shops, 289; 
architecture, 279, 289, 291; Banco 
Italiano, 293; Bolivar monument, 
290; British firms, 290; buildings, 
modern, 288, 295; buildings, public, 
296; cathedral, 282-3, 388; churches, 
282-3, 289; climate, 276; Country 
Club, 371; foreign sections, 294-5; 
Hall of the Inquisition, 290-91; his- 
tory, 263, 279, 281, 283, 292, 338, 
341, 342; hospitals, 349; hotels, 
288-9, 293; industrial plants, 296; 
Italians, 293, 361; legations and em- 
bassies, 279; Legislative Building, 
291; Library, National, 291-2; light 
and power, 294; mills, cotton, 331; 
museums, 317, 318, 331, 335; news- 
papers, 267, 289; old city, 279; pal- 
aces, 283, 290; parks, 290, 295-6; 
Paseo de Aguas, 284, 286; Pizarro's 
tomb, 283; Plaza San Martin, 288; 
police, 340; population, 297; prison, 
old, 343; race course, 296; sanitation, 
294; San Marcos University, 286-8; 
suburbs, 278-^9; Torre Tagle man- 
sion, 292; Union Club, 288 

Limatambo, air port, 318 

Little America, 256 

llamas, 245, 246 

Llamozas, Manuel V. Rodriguez, 33 

Long, Huey, 423 

Long, John S., 224, 294 

Lopez, Alfonso, 94, 117-18 

Los Teques, town of, 36 

MacGregpr John D., 210, 317, 326 
Machu P : ;hu, 265 
Macuto, 6 



Madeira River, 376, 377, 417 
Madre de Dios River, 376 
Magdalena Nueva, 278-9; Magdalena 
Vieja, 278-9; Bolivar Museum, 331, 

335 

Magdalena River, 85, 95, 96, 106, 123, 
125, 128, 132, 137, 150; valley of, 100, 
101, 102, 112, 125, 128, 132, 134, 135 

malecon, 211 

Mama Occllo, Inca Queen, 381 

Mamore River, 376, 377, 417, 424; val- 
ley of, 377 

Manamo River, 28 

Mangin, General, 346, 347 

Manglares, Cape, 211 

Manizales, city of, 100, 125; Colombian 
state of, 125 

Manta, in, 212, 213, 214, 215 

Maracaibo, Lake, 5, 28, 47, 52, 56, 103, 
128; Bowl, 44, 48, 50; city of, 44, 45, 
46. See Oil 

Maracay, 34, 35, 39* 40, 41, 57, 59, 60, 
62, 71, 72 

Maranon River, 239, 255, 325 

Marinera, 268 

Marquez, Amalia Madrinan de, 143, 
147-8 

masamorra, 144-5 

masato, 314 

Masisea River, 315; town, 315 

Matarani Bay, 328 

Matucana, 302 

McGinnis, Theodore, 168-70 

McGrath, Anna May, 46 

Means, Philip Ainsworth, no 

medanos, 327 

Medellin, 125, 134, 135, 150, 151, 152; 
business and professional men, 141; 
Jews, 138; mint, 141-2; native cus- 
toms, 138; San Pedro Cemetery, 138; 
travel to, 134 

medianeiro, 33 

Meiggs, Henry, 300, 311 

Meiggs, Mount, 303, 304 

Mejia, Gonzalo, 135-6, 147, 149-51, 
152, 166 

Mellon, Andrew, 130 

mestizos, 46 

Milne, Alexander, 259 

Miraflores, suburb of Lima, 279; presi- 
dential palace of Venezuela, 59 

Mirand Venezuelan state of, 36 

Mochica country, 330; Mochicas, 336 

Mollendo, port of, 326, 327, 328, 377; 
dock system, 327; Frederick Snare 
Corp., 327; railway terminus, 328 

Monagas, Venezuelan state of, 29 

Monroe Doctrine, 272, 338 

Monroe, James, 338 

Montalvo, Juan, 249-51 



[434] 



Index 



Montes, Eugenio, 367-8 

Montevideo, 421 

Morgan, Henry, 174-6 

Morkill, Jeffrey, 301 

Morococha, 305, 306 

Morrosquillo, Gulf of, 132 

Mussolini, Benito, 272, 365, 368, 369, 

370 

Muvdi, Elios, 98 
Muzo, emerald mines, 133 

Naiguata, 4 

National Naval Academy, Peru, 362 

National Socialism, Peru, 349 ff. 

nationalism, Venezuela, 52 

Navarro, Captain, 769 

Navy, Ecuador, 231 

New Granada, 14, 75, 76, 77, 131 

Niles, Blair, 323 

Nivelle, General, 346 

no gal negro, hardwood, 315 

Noguchi, 223 

Nombre de Dios, port of, 173, 175 

Novarro, Monsignor, 8 

Obandp, Jose, 233 

Obregon, brothers, 98 

Ocana, town of, 100 

O' Donovan, Captain, 262 

O'Hara, Father John F., 287 

oil, general, 23, 27, 28, 44~52, 85, 125, 
126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 
217, 229, 256, 258-9, 306, 316, 328, 
329, 349. 376, 391, 393, 4ii, 4i8, 419, 
422, 424, 425 

Ojeda, Alonso de, 3 

O'Neill, Jose, 315 

Orinoco River, 23, 24, 25, 26, 44; val- 
ley of, 24, 28 

or opel tree, 312 

Oroya, 299, 301, 306-7, 308, 309, 310, 
328 

Oruro, town of, 376, 399, 415 

Paita, port of, 260 

Palca, 310 

Palmira, 242 

Panama: airways, 135, 156, 166, 210- 
ii, 212; area, 162; bananas, 166; cof- 
fee, 1 66; debts, 198-9; discovery of 
country, 172; foreign industries, 177; 
geography, 162; highways, 166, 167, 
181; history, 14, 172-83; Japanese 
overtures, 196-8; livestock, 166; 
merchant marine, 177; nationalism, 
187; railroad, 181-2; rubber, 166; 
timber, 166; United States Embassy 
and Legation, 201, 202-3; United 
States treaty, 198-9. See also Mor- 
gan, and Panama Canal and Zone 



Panama Canal, 167, 172, 176, 177, 178- 
80, 187, 272; cost of, 179, 187 

Panama Canal Zone : grievances, 1 82-4 ; 
Japan-Panama treaty negotiations, 
196-8; Japanese spies, 200; opinion, 
newspaper, 199-200; Panama Rail- 
road, 181-2; population, 178; Society 
for International Action, 180; steam- 
ship lines, 181; treaty debts, 194-5; 
United States on wars, 187; United 
States, policy, 178; United States 
treaties, new, 186-7; old, 180; Zone 
policing, 200-20 1 

Panama City, 166, 167, 170, 171-6, 184, 
186, 188, 211 

Panama hats, see Jipiyapa 

Panamanian Society for International 
Action, 1 80; Pan- American Confer- 
ence, 371; Pan- American Congress, 
363; Pan- American Highway, 151, 
1 66, 332, 386-7; Pan-American 
Union, 406 

Papayan, town of, 125 

papelon, 32 

Paracas Peninsula, 330, 335 

Paraguana Peninsula, 63 

Paraguay, 240, 326, 378, 394, 396, 411, 
413, 419, 421 

Paraguay River, 422, 423 

Parcoy, 325 

Pardo, Jose, 346 

Paria, Gulf of, 27, 28 

Parrish, Carl, 98 

Pascamayo, 260 

paseo, 8, 9 

Patino, Simon I., 399-402 

Peace Commission, 378 

Pershing, General, 322, 326 

Peru: agriculture, 267, 268, 269-70, 
271, 301-2,309-10,314, 326, 330; air- 
ways, 256, 317, 318, 319, 324-6, 327, 
329, 361, 362, 363, 410; area, 255, 
297; archaeology, 330-2, 335~6; ar- 
my, 340; army flying, 260, 312, 324, 
361, 362; Bolivian border, 329; 
bonds, defaulted, 357; budget, 348; 
Chilean war, 300, 326; climate, 2^57, 
260; coffee, 301, 314, 315; Colombian 
border dispute, 347; copper, 299, 303, 
306-7; cotton, 256, 261, 271, 331; 
currency, 274; debts, foreign, 348; 
delta region, 300; Ecuador dispute, 
326; exchange, 348; foreign invest- 
ments, 357; foreign traders, 321; 
geography, 255-6, 260-61; gold, 258, 
307, 316, 325, 328-9, 330; govern- 
ment, 338; guano, 261; highways, 
302-3, 307, 308, 3fO, 315, 316, 326, 
329-30, 332, 339; history, 255-6, 262, 
263, 269, 291-2, 300, 330, 336-4S, 



[435] 



Index 



352; Indians, 350, 353; Japanese, 
358^-61; lumber, 315-16; mining sta- 



tistics, 307; national income, 259; 
National Independence, 338; Na- 
tional Naval Academy, 362 ; National 



Socialism, 349-50; native trade, 321 ; 
navy, 340; oil, 316, 328, 329; plateau 
region, 307; police, national, 340; 
political divisions, 338; population, 
297 35i; railways, 300-301, 302-3, 
307, 326, 328; revolution, 340-42; 
silver, 307; Spanish Civil War, its 
effects, 365-7; sugar, 256, 261,267, 
270, 272, 273, 301, 314, 315; Uni- 
versity of Peru, 287; urban centers, 
415 

Petrolea, 128, 131, 132 

Phelps, Billy, 18, 25 

Philip II, of Spain, 33 

Piaggio, Faustino G., 259 

Pichincha, Mount, 243 

Pichis River, 314 

Pichupichu, Mount, 319 

Pilcomayo River, 376 

pima, cotton, 331 

pirates, 77. See Morgan 

Pirco-Caima, temple of, 382 

Pisco, 319, 331 

Piura, 261 

Pizarro, Francisco, 207-11, 225, 257-8, 
260, 277, 279-80, 285, 307, 308, 335, 
337; tomb of, 283 

Pizarro, Gonzalo, 207, 225 

plantations and estates: Colombia, 146; 
Peru, 265, 267, 268, 269, 271-2, 
272-3* 350; Venezuela, 36-7, 38, 57, 
61, 66, 69 

Poopo, Lake, 399 

Popayan, 125 

Porto Velho, Brazil, 377 

Potosl, town of, 376, 399, 410, 415. See 
Tin 

Puerto Bello, 174, 175 

Puerto Bermudez, 315 

Puerto Berrio, 134, 150, 152 

Puerto Cabello, 34, 41 

Puerto Casado, 422 

Puerto Covenas, 132 

Puerto Yessup, 314 

Puno, town of, 377, 379 

puntas, 304-5 

Putumayo River, 239 

Quechua language, 304, 351, 385, 399 
guefias, 305 

Quesada, Gonzalo Jimenez de, 102, 103, 
109, no 

8uilindana, Mount, 243 
uilotpa, Mount, 243 
Quindio Mountains, 100 



Quiriquiri, 27. See oil, Venezuela 

Quita, 301 

Quito: antiquity of, 244; architecture, 
244-5; churches, 245; history, 244; 
location, 240-3; National Conserva- 
tory, 247; public buildings, 245; 
racial strains, 245 

radicalism: Bolivia, 395; Peru, 350-2 
railroads, general, 5, 6, 26, 34, 35, 92, 

99, 100, 142, 150, 224, 300-1, 302-3, 

307, 326, 328, 377, 378, 379, 384, 400, 

410, 423, 425 , 

rayon plants, Colombia, 96, 97 
Ren don, Silvera Espiilosa de, 120 
Requena, Rafael, 24, 41, 47, 57, 60, 62 
Restrepo, Luciano, 141 
Reyes, Rivera, 180 
Ricaurte, Commander, 37 
riegOj 271 

Riley, E. H-, 121-2 
Rimac River, 279, 284, 299; valley of, 

276, 299, 301, 308 
Riobamba, 224, 242 
Rio Mulato, 410 
Rio de Oro, 128, 131 
Rockfeller, Nelson, 335 
Roehrn, Ernst, 394 
rondador, 246 

Roosevelt, Franklin D., 239, 240 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 61 
Root, Elihu, 1 8 
ruana, in 
rubber, 166, 417, 424 

Saavedra, Alvara de, 177, 208 

"sabana, country," 106, 337 

Salas, Tito, 12, 16 

Salaverry, port of, 273, 327; landing at, 

274; freight rates, 274 
Salazar, Eduardo, 229 
Salinas, 216-21 
Salocchi, Gino, 361, 362 
saman, 39; Saman de Guere, 39 
Sanchez, Alberto Jaramillo, 141 
San Isidro, 278 

San Juan River, 27, 28; dance, 247 
San Lorenzo, island of, 343 
San Martin, Jos6 de, 291-2 
San Martin, Fray Tomas de, 286 
San Mateo, 37, 302 
San Miguel, 278 
San Pedro Alejandrino, 15, 90-1 
San Ram6n, 310, 311, 312, 314, 315 
Santa Ana, 28 
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, city of, 415, 

424, 425; department of Bolivia, 415 
Santa Elena, 217-18 
Santa Marta, 14, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 

112, 148, 391 



[436] 



Index 



"Santa" ships, 41-2 

Santander, Colombian state of, 128 

Santiago, Chile, 325 

Santo Domingo, 1 60, 208, 286 

Santos, Eduardo, 118, 119 

serranos, 302 

Seventh International Congress of 

American States, 421 
Sierra de Peri j a, 132 
Signori, Jose, 314 
Siles, Hernando, 393 
Silva, Captain Garcf Gonzalez, 33 
Sipiapu, district of Bolivia, 409 
silver, 299, 307, 397~9, 4*7 
Slater, Colonel, 159-60 
smuggling, Bolivia and Peru, 381 
Solf y Muro, Alfredo, 287 
Sonson, 151 
soroche, 303 
Sorzano, Tejada, 393 
Sotar, Mount, 125 
Spaniards, 5, 34, 39, 41, 45, 102-3, ^09, 

131, 172-6, 218, 244, 256, 260, 316, 

319-20, 335, 337, 3&5, 397, 4*6 
Spinden, Herbert J., 330 
Steinhardt, Laurence A., 368 
stock-raising: Bolivia, 349, 401, 424; 

Colombia, 84, 85, 128, 136-7, 142; 

Panama, 166; Venezuela, 65-6 
Sucre, Antonio Jose, 245, 388, 390; 

tomb of, 390 

Sucre, town of, 390, 391, 415, 425 
sugar, 38, 256, 261, 267, 270, 272, 273, 

301, 314 
Summerlin, George T., 17, 202 

taUon, 33 

Tacna, town of, 326, 340; valley of, 326 

Tagle, Jose Bernardo de, 292 

tagua nut, 212 

Talara, 257, 258, 259, 260, 325, 328 



340 
Pale 



Talcahuano, Chile, 231 

Tambo Viso, 302 

Tamborito, El, 168 

tambos, 397 

tanguis, cotton, 331 

Tanguis, Fernando, 331 

Tarma, town of, 310; valley, 298, 301, 

309-10 

taruma tree, 310 
Tello, Julio, 330, 331, 334-5 
Tiahuanaco, ruins, Inca, 384; present 

town of, 336, 378, 386, 387 
TicUo, Mount, 303, 304 
Tigre River, 27 
tin, general, 393, 396, 397~4O2, 403, 

404-5, 406, 407, 408, 411, 424 
Tingo Maria, region, 308 
Tiquina, Straits of, 382 



Titicaca, Lake, 328, 329, 336, 376, 377, 
379, 38o, 381, 382, 383, 384, 387, 415, 
425; sacred island of, 381, 382, 384; 
steamer travel on Lake, 379-83 

Tolu: balsam of, 132; port of, 132 

Tong, James, 46 

Toro, Colonel, 393 

Toron, Saturio, 10 

Torre, Victor Raul Haya de la, 263, 
350-1, 352 

totalitarianism, 357, 365-6, 367, 368, 
369, 370, 409 

totora, reeds, 383 

Tovar, Maria Patronila, 33 

Tovar y Tovar, Martin, 12 

trapiche, 33 

Trinidad, B. W. L, 24, 28, 394 

Trujillo (in Estremadura), 160, 207, 
261 

Trujillo (modern city): air port, 274; 
architecture, 262; commerce, 262; 
mining center, 328; port, 273, 274, 
275; radical center, 263; radical out- 
breaks, 352; ruins, near, 336; uni- 
versity, 262 

Tschiffely, A. F., 152 

Tumbes valley, 264 

Tungurahua, Mount, 242 

Turbay, Gabriel, 113 

Turbo, 151, 166 

Turkos, 412 

Turmero, 39 

Ucayali River, 255, 308, 315; valley of, 
308 

Uncia, 400. See tin 

United States: military, Panama, 
166-7; Naval Mission, 362; oil trans- 
actions, Colombia, 129, 130, 131, 
132; Senate Investigating Commit- 
tee, 339, 392; trade with Peru, 364; 
trade agreement with Venezuela, 55 ; 
treaty with Panama, 198-9 

Urbina, town of, 242 

Urbina plot, 63-5; Rafael Simon Ur- 
bina, 63-5; town of 242 

Uroro, 410 

Uruguay, 325, 422 

Uzlar, Herrera, 19, 22 

Vala, Blasco Nufiez, 337 
Valcarcel, Luis E., 335 
Valencia, city of, 34, 41 ; Lake Valencia, 
34, 40, 41, 66, 230; valley of, 34, 36, 



37, 39, 43, 44, 60 
r elarde, Fat! 



Velarde, Father, 378-81, 384 
Velez family, 84-5 
Venecia, 143 

Venezuela: airways, 24, 44, 45; asphalt 
lake, 29; bolivar ', currency, 22 j 



[437] 



Index 



cacao, 41; climate, 65, 66; coffee, 39, 
41, 69; cotton , 41, 66; dairy farms, 
39; Delta region, 27, 29; estates and 
plantations, 19, 20, 22, 24, 37, 38, 
44, 45, 57; farm labor, 67; farm 
loans, 68; foreigners, numbers, 23; 
foreigners, restricted, 55-6; forest 
preservation, 68; geography, 4; gold, 
23, 24, 26, 47; government, 55; 
government revenue, 68; highways, 
5, 6, 24, 34-5, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 68, 
69; history, 4-5, 33, 38, 63-5, 70; 
hospitals, 56; hotels, 9, 22, 39-40; 
labor agitators, 52; labor shortage, 
65, 66; livestock, 65-6; luxuries, 23; 
nationalism, 52; oil, 23, 25, 27, 28, 
44-52, 67-8; public works, 56, 68; 
racing, 20-1; railroads, 5, 6, 26, 34, 
35, 41; schools, native, 27, 28; 
schools, public, 56; share-cropping, 
33; sugar, 32, 33, 36, 38, 41; tariffs, 
23; United States trade agreement, 
55; Urbino plot, 53-5 

Venizelos, Eleutherios, 322 

Vernon, Admiral, 90 



Vespucci, Amerigo, 3 

vicuna, the, 321, 322; skins of, 321 

Villa Bella, town of, 377 

Villa Maria School, Peru, 363 

Villegas, Micaela, 283-6 

Vollmers, family, 36-7 

Waldseemuller Map, 4 
Wales, Prince of, 258, 322 
Washington, George, statue of, 8 
Whitten, Nathaniel Chalmers, 310 
Wilcox, Bob, 157, 158 
Willemstad, 63 
Wilson, 25 

Yaguachi River, 223 
Yaravi, 247, 268 
Ybarra, General, 19 
Yungas Valley, 410, 425 

zamorras, 145 

Zevallos y Vidaurre, Ermlio Ortiz de, 

2 93 

Zevallos y Vidaurre, Jos6 Ortiz de, 293 
Zevallos, Ortiz de, 364 



[438] 




m 



116883