The General Cemetery in La Paz is big. There’s space for more than 106,681 (the figure given in 2008) and when we visited we saw evidence of lots more plots being built. In actual fact, they’re not really plots at all. Most are niches, built into cement and brick structures (the largest of which reminded me of council estate housing in England), where the coffin or ashes are placed. There are also mausolea and tombs for families, war casualties and trade unions. Everyone has a place here. Unless of course you can’t pay – we saw quite a few ‘eviction’ notices plastered over the glass memorial panels with notice that the remains would be moved by a certain date because fees hadn’t been paid.
For more information about the cemetery and death rituals in Bolivia, see issue 23 of Bolivian Express magazine.