IBIF establishes contact

Applying the new global trend, use the cell phone application “WhatsApp” by video call to establish contact with the General Cacique of the Central Indígena de Comunidades Originarias de Lomerío (CICOL), Elmar Masay Soqueré whoever the situation of the indigenous communities of Lomerío is during this time of national quarantine by the Covid – 19.
Without entering into the subjective part of the interview, Masay had a somewhat weakened and at the same time, worried tone of voice. This time of world pandemic, has hit the whole world, has shown us that it is not a metaphor, it is a reality.
Within this reality, the territories of Lomerio through their local authorities defined several strategies to avoid the contagion and spread of the virus in their four cantons. “We are exercising indigenous autonomy, we do not have the presence of police or military and we have had to organize ourselves to establish various checkpoints. The community members rotate the control points; it is a voluntary work,” added Masay.

It is more than 20 days of quarantine, the Caiques Mayores have met for the sixth time to evaluate possible strategic measures to protect the physical and emotional integrity of 2,000 families, a number that has grown, as those who lived in the city, have decided to return to their homeland. They feel alone and unprotected, they will take advantage of their available conditions, they know that the physical meetings where they bring together the local authorities, will change, they are willing to assume it.
They attend their meetings without biosecurity protection, as chinstraps are an eminent necessity, and in the face of shortages their use is only prioritized for medical personnel. They take social distance, wash their hands and disinfect their whole body with alcohol and bleach (only in strategic places). Everyone takes care of themselves, they have understood that together, they will be able to get out of this.
In the health centers, especially in the municipal hospital, they have medicine, but they don’t have biosecurity equipment. They have received a grant from YPFB through the Government, and they were given 100 chinstraps and alcohol gel. Currently, they only have five chinstraps; the doctors are reusing them. They feel the eminent need of disinfection chambers in strategic points of Lomerio.
The negative effects become more acute
We are working to cover the food needs, we have shortages,” said Masay with a choppy voice.

They live in a dry place, they cannot grow rice. They are in scarcity, and are a highly consuming population of this food. It’s a seesaw to get basic products from the family basket such as oil, sugar and rice.
Masay commented that they are “knocking on doors” for the provision of health inputs and basic products from the family basket. The number has grown, today there are 2,000 families. The situation is getting worse.

Lomerio lives new restrictions and prohibitions
In Concepción there is a positive case of Covid 19, in that they have limited the circulation to the inhabitants. No one can leave or enter Concepción. They get their supplies from Cuatro Cañadas
At all their control points, those who supply food to the population are required to update their circulation authorizations and have transit preferences.
The sale of the coca leaf was prohibited, agio and speculation determined a high price. Specifically, a meeting with the traders to avoid these problems. “Today, when we need to unite, let’s not take advantage of this situation,” Masay said.
“Before the quarantine, the ounce cost Bs. 6 and with all these national restrictions, it came to cost Bs. 30. It is not a product of basic need, and it cannot be that our indigenous brothers are sacrificing themselves to work hard, just for an ounce of coca. The home needs chicken and not coca,” the cacique said.
This indigenous territory has eminent health and food needs. They want to hear the news that this is over, that everything will return to its relative normality, but Masay knows that it is only a utopia, and he wonders after the quarantine, what is coming?.

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