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  • Confederation Bartolina Sisa’s representatives

    Confederation Bartolina Sisa’s representatives | Photo: Twitter/@CNMCIOBS

Published 14 April 2020
Opinion

Given the government's neglect of the Indigenous populations, their leaders made up for the lack of orientation and implemented communal strategies to face the virus.

Bolivian native organizations denounced the de facto president Jeanine Añez for discrimination against Indigenous communities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to Confederation Bartolina Sisa’s leader Irisolda Ribero, the government has not complied with promises and strategies in combatting the virus. As Ribero explains, the de facto president assured food delivery, supplies and economic help for the poorest, but aid has not reached the Bolivian people.

"The need because of hunger causes many of us to take to the streets in search of a solution and we ask that the current de facto government be concerned about this situation in which many Bolivians live” the indigenous leader expressed. 

Ribero also pointed out that the Añez regime is conveniently stating: “It is not fair that they politicize the situation regarding the coronavirus because they are saying that the previous government, the MAS, is paying the protesters to generate trouble and break the quarantine. That is a lie.  If we go to the streets is because we do not have to feed our children and only what we are asking is that these needs can be prioritized," he said. 

Bartolina Sisa Federation of Farmer Women or as the "Bartolinas" is an organization of Bolivian women and the first organization of rural women in South America. It is named after the Aymara heroine Bartolina Sisa.  This organization's purpose is to empower rural and indigenous women and to ensure their active participation as political decision-makers in their communities.

"La Paz Prosecutor's Office activates ex officio an investigation against the director of the Indigenous Fund, Rafael Quispe, for an alleged crime against public health for having violated the quarantine against COVID19"


Under these circumstances, La Paz authorities arrested an indigenous leader because of an alleged quarantine in compliance. Rafael Quispe, Director of the Indigenous Development Fund, is accused of leading a community congregation, according to the prosecutor’s Office. Quispe, for his part, argued that he participated in the meeting to fulfill his duty of collaboration in guiding his indigenous brothers and sisters on how to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

Given the government's neglect of the indigenous populations, their leaders make up for the lack of orientation and implement communal strategies to face the virus spreading. 

Among the alternatives to alleviate the economic effects of the restrictions caused by the virus, indigenous organizations implement food and aid delivery for the most disadvantaged. This is the case of the Chimore Federation, which sends locally produced fruits and vegetables to those waiting for government assistance in Cochabamba. 

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