BOLIVIA: King Tin

In the thin, biting air of Catavi, 13,000 feet above sea level, the great refining plant last week lay still and smokeless. Past the paymaster's windows shuffled the Indians who dig and smelt a third of Bolivia's tin from the biggest of the Patiño mines. All 7,000 of them were being fired.

The parting was sweet sorrow, for to each man the paymaster handed severance money that averaged 10,000 bolivianos ($250). At the prevailing 50¢ a day, that was almost a year and a half's pay, a lump sum greater than most Indians had ever seen. There would...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!