| || Northwest Argentina is the realm of the puna, a vast, cold desert of high valleys and plateaus that foreshadows the Bolivian altiplano. In this land of multicolored rocks, the Indian village of Purmamarca huddles at the foot of the cierro de los siete colores—“mountain with seven colors.” Its population, descended from marriages between Indians and Spanish colonizers, lives chieﬂy from rearing livestock and from small market gardening plots on the valley ﬂoors. The inhabitants of Jujuy province, where half the land belongs to four large landowning families, face particularly harsh conditions. In the early 1990s, they rebelled against the federal government. The economic depression afﬂicting the country since 2001 made matters worse: in 2002, 63 percent of Jujuy’s population lived in poverty, and almost 30 percent lacked the most basic necessities. During that same year, the region’s public hospital admitted more than 700 children per day who showed the symptoms of malnutrition.
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