La Carretera

Life Along Peru's Interoceanic Highway


Roberto (Bear) Guerra


"Highways, of course, alter everything. They change patterns of human settlement, hasten the destruction of natural habitat, transmit disease, set the stage for clashes of cultures." -Ted Conover

Peru's Interoceanic Highway was finally completed last year, linking the country's Pacific ports to Brazil’s Atlantic coast. Proponents of  the road praise it for connecting remote communities and facilitating trade between Peru, China, Brazil, the U.S. and other countries. But, along with "development," the highway is bringing environmental devastation, social tensions, and conflict to one of  the most bio-diverse places on the planet.

In 2010, I began to create a portrait of  life along the new highway during this period of  profound change. My hope is that this project can contribute to a critical discussion about "development" in the modern world, and the ways in which our first-world appetites for resources fuel monumental changes in developing countries.


Roberto (Bear) Guerra is a photographer who focuses on humanitarian, environmental, and social justice issues throughout the Western Hemisphere. His work has been published and exhibited widely and received several recognitions, including an honorable mention in the 2012 Photocrati Fund competition for his project in Peru, "La Carretera: Life Along the Interoceanic Highway." Bear has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award in Photojournalism (2010) for work from Haiti, and the recipient of  funding from the Society of  Environmental Journalists, the Puffin Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and the Christensen Fund/Project Word.

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