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The Altiplano is the highest inhabited place in the Americas. Located in Southern Bolivia, it’s a tough and austere land, a New World version of Tibet in the form of a 12,000 ft. high arid basin wedged between two chains of the Andes. The Altiplano is home to some of the hemisphere’s poorest groups of Indians; peasants that have endured centuries of exploitation with little access to basic government services. Their meager existence is in sharp contrast to the people in the Bolivian lowlands who are thriving from new farm and petroleum developments. A strong sense of unequal wealth has led to the recent election of President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian born and raised in an Altiplano town, to lead a left-leaning populist government.