Back in Cuzco, Ernesto witnesses a local religious celebration in which priests parade an icon of Jesus, which supposedly protects the city against earthquakes, around the main churches. Although it’s a Christian celebration, Ernesto remarks that the intense colors and the artistry of the icon give it a “pagan” flavor.
Contrary to accepted prejudices, European culture isn’t naturally distinct from or more advanced than the cultures of indigenous people. After centuries of proximity and colonialism, both cultures have influenced each other in large and small ways.
Ernesto notes the contrast between Indian spectators, dressed in traditional costumes “in expression of a culture…which still holds on to living values,” and North American tourists armed with cameras, representing the values of a totally different culture.
With this image, Ernesto presents indigenous people as courageously holding onto a positive culture, while the tourists, defined by their material possessions, lack any such cultural strength.