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News > Chile

Chile: Indigenous People Face Discrimination Amidst Pandemic

  • Temuco police detains Mapuche vegetable vendors. Araucania, Chile. May, 2020.

    Temuco police detains Mapuche vegetable vendors. Araucania, Chile. May, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @RNahuel_XXI

Published 10 July 2020

Since the early pandemic, indigenous patients’ data collection has not been accurate, which hinders the actual virus’ impact on their communities.

Chile's head of indigenous health issues at Chile's Medical Union, Dr. Nelson Vergara, stated the government's pandemic-management strategy discriminates aboriginal people.


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"The government said it was well prepared for the pandemic, but these preparations were designed for Euro-descendant urban populations," said Dr. Vergara.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, indigenous patients' data collection has not been accurate, which hinders the actual virus' impact on their communities. 

Alongside this situation, the main precautionary measures are intended for urban residents, neglecting rural or peripheral settlements that house most of the indigenous communities.

Araucania, the Mapuche people's territory, is one of the poorest Chilean regions. Local authorities registered about 2895 deceased due to the virus, forty-five percent of the national toll.

Besides, the Indigenous economy relies on informal activities, such as pine nuts selling, greens trade, and handcrafting. Facing poverty and income irregularities, they cannot comply with mandatory quarantines.

As of Friday, Chile's health authorities recorded 309,274 COVID-19 cases, 6,781 deaths, and 278,053 recoveries from the virus.

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