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Salero

Salero

Mike Plunkett, director
Cinereach
2015
Available on iTunes and Netflix.

Gathering, grinding, and selling salt from the Uyuni salt flat has always been a tough job for the Bolivian “saleros” who have worked the flat for generations. The focus of this film is on Moises, a salero who lives with his wife and children in the nearby town of Colchani.

Salero presents vivid images from this desolate environment as Bolivia prepares to reshape the flats to extract reserves of lithium buried below. Many in the regions believe that the country’s economic future hinges on becoming the “Saudia Arabia” of lithium, but such a future has the potential to dramatically transform the lives of those who live and work near Uyuni.

© SALERO FILM LLC

Moises Chambi Yucra, a Bolivian salt gatherer, stands on the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat.

As the lithium extraction project rolls forward, it becomes evident that Moises’s trade is no longer a viable way to support his family. While Moises laments the loss of a way of life, others in Colchani embrace the transition and take advantage of the influx of workers and visitors.

Salero presents a unique snapshot of a region right before massive investment and resource extraction, revealing how the loss of a traditional trade and the quiet of the salt flat will be exchanged for economic improvement for both the local community and the country.