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BOOK II: A CASH CROP

English translation by Cecilia Bartolomé Grande and Andrew Lee Jackson

 

  

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INTROITO

Suppose you are one of the tens of thousands of people who have drunk ayahuasca in recent months, in any city of any country, perhaps Buenos Aires, perhaps…

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Pablo Fasanango, Iquitos postal services supervisor, has a small but decisive role in this plot. He is in charge of enforcing the ban on sending liquid ayahuasca abroad…

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I. THAT VILLAGE BESIDE A LODGE

 

  1. Living in the forest

Sunrise over the lagoon of Llanchama, a small village near the city of Iquitos. Like every dawn, Elocario has gone fishing and returns with the first light of the day.

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  2. Nihue Rao… And there was light

Electric power is one of the most significant symbols of progress. The villagers of Llanchama have lived patiently without it, but they are happy because that is going to…

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  3. A budding plantation

They call it a bonanza, although it is not clear that it is so good. When Monster has a whim his vassals trigger a campaign of extraction/destruction. Since the European invasion…

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II. A PRODUCTIVE PLANTATION (AND ITS ATTENTIVE OWNER)

 

  1. A curandero and an ayahuasquero 

You met Juan Curico in the chapter What the Curandero Heals, in the first installment. In our first encounter he proposed we travel to the Río Mazán, where he had lived for a long…

 

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  2. The first and weakest link

This is a typical portrayal of “progress” in the Amazon: livestock at the expense of the “unproductive” forest.

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  3. Facing destruction

In the rainforest that surrounds Iquitos an archaeologist could work in finding abandoned ayahuasca lodges. It is an essential and significant part of “ayahuasca tourism”. Gringos…

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III. A PLAGUE AND A CHARACTER

 

  1. Ayahuasca, that weed

The typical western romanticism (very new age, very Christian) usually represents ayahuasca as a kind-hearted Granny, a being of light or a miraculous remedy, an…

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  2. Self-mythologizing against the end of the world

It is usual that, when, in the course of interviews, the ayahuasqueros recall for me their period of apprenticeship, they enrich it with fantastic facts, to the point that, more than…

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  3. Da Silva and ten thousand spirits

Although with prophetic pretensions, Da Silva continues to be fundamentally an Amazonian healer who uses plants from the rainforest and spiritual forces to heal.

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IV. LAS TRIBULACIONES DE RON WHEELOCK Y CIA.

 

  1. Prohibition

It would be a fantastic argument for a Vargas Llosa’s novel. In the offices of the postal service in Iquitos, a series of strange explosions take place. A terrorist plot? Maybe, but…

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  2. Crisis in the gardens

It will not be easy for Ron to leave: he has put down roots in Iquitos, not just in a figurative sense. In his large garden grow a score of large trunks of ayahuasca.

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  3. Revelation and abyss

The postal prohibition has meant that the major part of Ron Wheelock’s income comes from his lodge. Ron is not inclined to welcome tourists for only a single night/ceremony.

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V. AN INDUSTRY IS BORN

 

  1. Business blooms, plants dissapear

You remember, right? That after a decade of making a killing with ayahuasca preparation, Ron and his main supplier, Santiago “Gato” Palacios, got stuck in dry dock because the…

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  2. Ayahuasca R+D

Elizabeth Bardales is a pioneer. Perhaps the first person in the world who has used a more technical system for the production of extracts of ayahuasca, chacruna and other…

 

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  3. An strategic alliance

In the course of an informal chat, I tell Ron Wheelock that there is an engineer named Elizabeth Bardales who turns the liquid ayahuasa into solid and it is suitable for shipping.

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 VI. THE TEMPLE'S DREAM

   

  1. The problem

This specimen of ayahuasca is within the 200 hectares of secondary forest that belong to the Temple of the Way of Light. It was harvested a week before taking the photograph…

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2. The solution

Forestry engineer Silvia del Águila is responsible for the ayahuasca and chacruna plantations that the Temple has put in motion in its search for self-sustainability. 

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CRAZYLOGUE
 
 

Last words of Monster

I was born on the 4th of July and I was born on July the 14th. I am Cancer. Or did I arrive on October the 12th? If I am Libra it is because I spread the cancer with justice…

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Carlos has the last words

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