RoyBoy's Postcards From Bolivia - The Real Bolivia of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands

With Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands being available for over a week now, I have been spending a lot of time in Bolivia recently, just over 40 hours and to be honest I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. Outside of the story and side missions of which I’m only 30-40% of the way through, I’ve infiltrated the Bolivian business market to bring you “RoyBoy’s Postcards From Bolivia”.

So far I’ve managed to successfully guide a couple of our AGE admins on a tourist helicopter joyride and mini bus tour through the Andes Mountains showing them some of the few cool, interesting and yet creepy things I have found in my travels, and a live stream will be up sometime over the next few days. Whilst it does sound cheesy and lame, hear me out and I hope you’ll understand why. 

Whilst gaming is one of my main hobbies and entertainment at home, I also have an avid interest in history through reading books, online research and watching documentaries that bore the rest of my family to tears. Last week on the AGE Podcast, Red reported that the Bolivian Government was not happy with the depiction of their country in Ghost Recon Wildlands, the story of which I had read previously and with some spare time I have begun investigating Bolivia’s past, and whilst Ubisoft’s reaction to the Bolivian Government is ‘This is a work of fiction” there are a lot of truths hidden within the map and the themes of the game. Hopefully if all goes to plan over the next few weeks, a series of small articles will feature on this page explaining some of the cool things I come across in completing Ghost Recon Wildlands.

Without going all National Geographic or History Channel on you, here are the first couple of interesting things I have discovered whilst taking up arms and taking the fight to the Santa Blanca Cartel, and the history behind it.

The Death Road

The Death Road in the Wildlands is referring to the North Yungas Road or Coroico Road, which runs from La Praz to Coroico in the Yungas Region of Bolivia. The 56 kilometre stretch of road was labelled the most dangerous road in the world in 1996 and it has been estimated that around 250 – 300 people die travelling this route every, yes every year.
The road was originally built in the 1930’s during the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay, and over time has seen various upgrades and modernisation bypassing some of the more dangerous stretches of the track. Those dangerous stretches of the old road though haven’t been forgotten as Mountain Bikers trek down these tracks and each year over 20 people die riding their bikes. The largely single lane road which averages 3.2m wide has very few Armco or Guard Barriers and with cliff drops of up to 600metres, I could think of better ways to get from A to B.
The Death Road has featured in many TV Shows such as Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year South America, Top Gear Bolivia Special and World’s Most Dangerous Roads to name but a few.
Picture on the left is the real Death Road and the right picture is the in game Death Road
Klaus Barbie’s House
This one was a little creepy when first discovered and if you know who Klaus Barbie was then you might understand why.
Klaus Barbie was a Nazi SS Officer who was given the nickname “The Butcher of Lyon” due to his torture methods of French Resistance prisoners of the Gestapo during World War II. The nickname rightly describes some of his methods which included skinning alive French Resistance Leaders as well as immersing their heads in ammonia whilst still alive. During his time in Lyon, Klaus Barbie personally tortured adult and child prisoners, using very sick and deprived methods which I won’t detail, but he has been estimated to have been directly responsible for over 14,000 deaths. His feats gained him recognition among his Nazi peers and he was personally awarded the Iron Cross First Class by Adolf Hitler himself.
However after the end of World War II, this is where things get really interesting. Barbie was against Communism and depending on which stories you read was recruited by the US Army Counterintelligence Corps and sent to Bolivia through “Rat-Lines” (a conduit for quickly transporting informants and defectors out of the Soviet Zones of Occupation to the safety of South America, via Italy, with false identities). In Bolivia, Klaus Barbie became Klaus Altmann and due to his anti-communist stances and his skills as a spy. It is believed that he served as an advisor and enjoyed excellent relations with high ranking Bolivian Officials and Generals, especially during the time of Che Guevara. It has also been documented that he was a director of Transmaritima Boliviana, a charter company that brought supplies to landlocked Bolivia, (some of which is believed to be directly linked to the drug cartels of Bolivia).

Eventually Klaus Barbie was extradited and found guilty of his war crimes as a Nazi, and was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, and died in prison from cancer in 1991. He was the last ranked officer from Nazi Germany to face trial for war crimes. His house in Wildlands is a little creepy and has a secret little underground hideout, and if my memory serves me correctly there are one or two collectibles around the grounds.

Well that is all for now but next time, I’ll take a look into the history of the drug cartels in Bolivia, and the real life historical ancestry of Pac Katari.

I hope you have enjoyed and until next time here are a few videos of our Ghost Recon fun to date.

Aussie Gamers Express

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