39 imagesLATIN AMERICA, INDIOS SALT MINES OF THE ANDEAN MOUNTAINS In the remote and aislated valleys of the Andean mountains some local Indian communities still live of saltmines like many centuries ago. In Perù the Salinas de Maras, nearly 3000 wells of spectacular salt-mines on a plateau at 3.000 meters of height that dominates the Sacred of the Incas, have been used since the Inca's Tahuantinsuyo times. Still today the salt mines are worked from a cooperative of comuneros, peasants of the nearby villane of Maras. The people channel the salt water that bubbles to the surface from a spring called Qoripujio towards men-made wells. Exposed to the strong sun of the mountains, the water evaporates and the salt remains on the surface to be transported later to the market to be sold. The women, the "salt watchers", execute the heavier part of the job, with the hands deformed from the arthrosis, the eyes hit from vapors. the salti s still transported with mules to Maras to be sold in Cusco. once the Maras salt was sold till in Amazonas but today is not competitive and a 50 kilos bag is paid only one dollar. Much more south are Salinas Grandes, in northwestern Argentine's province of Jujuy, nearly 4000 meters high, not far from Bolivia's border. Salinas Grandes, 212 km square kilometer, are the third of the world for surface. Here the salineros, the salt workers, still made offers to the Pachamama, the Inca's Mother Earth, also asking for help against the exploitation of the companies that buy their salt.