TIAHUANACO, Bolivia – Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and journalist Claudia Fernandez married one another in an unannounced ceremony that included indigenous rituals at an open-air temple in the pre-Columbian citadel of Tiahuanaco held prior to the Catholic and civil ceremonies on Sunday.
The Indian wedding of the 49-year-old Garcia Linera and the 24-year-old Fernandez was held Saturday at the Kalasasaya temple by Aymara Indian priests of Tiahuanaco.
The ceremony was attended by President Evo Morales, who in 2006 and 2010 had used the same site for indigenous ceremonies before his inaugurations as president.
This is the first time that a non-indigenous couple has married at the ruins, which are the country’s main archaeological center and located 71 kilometers (44 miles) from La Paz.
The event was attended by hundreds of invited guests, among them several diplomats.
The ceremony was directed by four Indian priests – two men and two women – who prepared an offering at a small altar where a fire was lit to the Pachamama, or “Mother Earth,” and they charged the couple to “walk together forever.”
“In our tradition, on this road there is no separation. Mother Earth, Father Sun, Father Cosmos are those who are going to unite ... They are never going to separate. Now they are together and they are going to walk together forever,” one of the priests said.
Among the invited guests at Tiahuanaco were Nobel Peace Prize winners Adolfo Perez Esquivel (1980) and Rigoberta Menchu (1992), as well as government ministers, legislators, officials, diplomats, beauty queens and union leaders loyal to the government.