Two amusing reports about two surreal events: the president of Bolivia organizes a soccer match at 19,455 feet above sea level, on the snows of the volcano Sajama, and another at 17,000 feet on Mount Chacaltaya to protest against FIFA.

The eyes of Venezuelan Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Pérez Mansilla scan the ground for somewhere to land. Two men waving a T-shirt can be seen on the dark slopes of Mount Chacaltaya. They are signaling to the Air Force Cougar AS-532 AC helicopter, on loan from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales. Mansilla, the pilot, is alarmed: there are too many high tension cables in the area. "Aren't we landing here?" asks an apparently calm Evo Morales.

Three failed landing attempts are enough for the pilot to give up, and look for another option among the Andean range. Finally, he leaves the president, his government spokesperson, several members of the presidential security crew, and an ex-soccer player from the national team on a deserted hillock, surrounded by sports bags, battered by the freezing wind. The helicopter takes off whilst two 4x4s, driven by government personnel, hurry to the jefe's rescue.

The president has insisted on kicking some balls around at an altitude of 17,000 feet, to protest against FIFA’s aim to veto the World Cup classification stages from being held anywhere more than 8,202 feet above sea level. This affects Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and, above all, Bolivia, whose administrative capital, sitting at 11,940 feet above sea level, is the highest in the world...

Published in Qué Pasa