Skip to content



Bolivia: That’s how the low lands indigenous people face Coronavirus and quarantine

The lowlands people organization South Amazonia, Chiquitania and the Chaco determined the following: that during the quarantine and in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus to their territory

  • The people won’t be admitted to get in or out their communities.
  •  Strict medical checkup for those people who arrived from the cities.
  • Nominate one person of the family to buy food supplies.

These determinations were assumed in agreement with their own organization system.
The indigenous territories of San Ignacio de Velasco, Lomerío, Charagua Iyambae, Movima, Moxos y Multietnico I, like the rest of the country also respect the quarantine determinated by the National Government of Bolivia to avoid the spread this epidemic outbreak, due to the deficient health services and conditions; if this epidemic outbreak reaches these communities the consequences would become disastrous, because of the shortage of health resources, medicines and poverty situation.

Indigenous Movima Nation: “Our brothers feel they are safe in their communities”

According to Yolanda Álvarez, president representing the Movima Women (SMIM), the members of her organization decided to respect the quarantine and stay home so avoid to come up with this virus thanks God, our fellow brothers are safe of this contagious disease because they stayed in their communities.

Yolanda explains, at the moment when they were making this decision, there were some families working on the cacao collection; so they decided to go on working doors closed.

“Right now we are in the indigenous women’s sub central facility taking about the Cacao harvest, breakig the hard skin of Cacao, eating and staying in this place”.

Chiquitania Indigenous Nation: “Only one person is able to pick up food supplies”

Germinda Casupá, vice-president of Chiquitania Indigenous Women’s Organizations (OMICH) informed that her organization decided to respect the quarantine establishing schedules for those people in charge to take food supplies to their communities.

“It is stablished that from 5 to 10 in the morning they are allowed to buy food, fuel or medicine, one person for community. They all made this decision organizations and authorities (of San Ignacio de Velasco)”.

The Vice president OMICH confirmed that they are not allowed to go in and out of their communities and that the Caciques and authorities are responsible for the accomplishment of this goal along with the Military Personnel assigned to this region.

“They made an agreement that when they suspect of a person with fever or symptoms of convid-19, should move immediately to the municipal hospital. Working together, organizations and Authorities of the San Ignacio de Velasco community. According with the result of the lab exam they, would send the patient to Santa Cruz, they are working to get her with the Municipal Government and authorities of San Ignacio”.

Charagua Iyambae: “They world apply strict medical checkup to those arriving from Santa Cruz”

In the government Charagua Iyambae from Santa Cruz the situation in not different. The director of the Emergency Operations Center (COE) and legislative of the first autonomic indigenous government, Ademar Flores, informed that due to that in Santa Cruz, there are numerous infected than any other place in Bolivia.

“For this reason people who want to escape from Santa Cruz are trying to enter the communities, if we find some individual with convib-19 symptom medical center has to check up all the family surrounding him. We are aware that our health system is very poor, in case this happens would be catastrophic”.

Flores points out that the same procedure is applied to the Menonitas cettled in Charagua, whom used to move between Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay.

About the food provisions the executives of each area will coordinate according to the economic and cultural characteristics of the people so that to enforce the minor interaction.

Lomerio Indigenous Territory: “the best policy is take care of ourselves”

In the Central Indigenous communities of Lomerio in Santa Cruz, prevention decisions were assumed between indigenous organization, municipal and health authorities of the region. Elmar Masai, General Cacique (Indigenous Head of CICOL), informed that the law prohibiting peasants circulating between communities was approved.

“We are an indigenous territory where doesn’t exist police or Army. We ourselves have to make our own decisions and control politics. To start with it wasn’t allowed the arrival and departure of public transportation. In case people arriving from Santa Cruz, the medical personnel are responsible of the regular checkup”.

According to Masai, Lomerio doesn’t have resources to face this situation, that’s why the best policy is to close the frontiers.

“We have often medical doctors, he said, and they aren’t provided with the necessary medical equipment, that’s why we need to take care ourselves”.

On Tuesday it was known that the Municipal authorities together with indigenous authorities of this territory made this decision of closing frontier, because they didn’t have the economic and Medical resources to face this emergency in case there is a positive case.

Indigenous Territory Mojeño Ignaciano: “Three individuals per community will be nominate of in order to take the food supplies

Juana Bejarano president of the Beni Mojeño Ignaciano Indigenous territory (TIM), pointed out, that considering this quarantine situation, the indigenous decide to organize themselves in groups of three people, who will be responsible to get provisions for the whole region in order to avoid family’s movement to San Ignacio de Mojos.

“Wednesday, I should have the list of those persons in charge to get provisions for the others”.

Bejarano informed that on Wednesday they will have a meeting with the civic Committee to coordinate actions considering that, in former occasions she was not called thus one person couldn’t buy provisions

“There are five communities outside the border, but I will convoke all of them; so that they can leave only a commission to San Ignacio, to get what they need. We are calling the mayors to provide us the list of people in charge for this mission”.

In spite of the warning about convib-19, Bejarano started that the 3 of November Hospital doesn’t have the necessary equipment to help this kind of patient, so she asked the National Government to cooperate in case a convib-19 case is presented in these indigenous territories.

“Because of poverty, people couldn’t afford to buy medicine or to move to other hospital with better conditions”.

Multietnic Indigenous Territory: “Not all communities have access tomedical centers”

Considering the other communities, the Multietnic territory (TIM 1) in Beni, people couldn’t get in touch, due to the quarantine restrictions, move from one place to other and because there is almost no telephone signal.

Paulina Noza, president of the women’s organization stated that at the moment they couldn’t make an agreement about the steps to follow in case of convib-19 symptoms appear in the community.

She said: “we still couldn’t talk to the medical personnel; they are the ones who have to inform the communities about this epidemic disease that is affecting the whole world”.

Paulina adds this community isn’t shortage of rice, bananas, meat because they grow cereals and fruit, in spite of this they need to go to other villages for sugar, salt on weekends and other provisions, that’s why the people in charge should get in touch to organize the steps to follow in this quarantine period, even the shortage of fuel and the prohibition of movement of people the situation is complex.

Guaranies Native Indigenous of Chuquisaca decided to respect the quarantine

The Committee of Captain Guaranies of Chuquisaca decided on March 2nd “Respect strictly the D.S. 4199 in order to avoid the extent of the Coronavirus epidemic disease, in our communities they declared.

They should apply this determination to all Guarani organization structure, actions and coordinate with the National Government.


Compárte usando:


Cejis.Org es una asociación boliviana sin fines de lucro que trabaja en el campo de los Derechos Humanos desde una perspectiva jurídico – social acompañando a los sectores de la sociedad cuya situación de indefensión y vulnerabilidad exige acompañamiento profesional y compromiso en la reivindicación del reconocimiento de sus derechos individuales y colectivos.