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Artikel Publication logo April 2, 2021

Between Colones and COVID-19: The Yuqui People and Their Struggle to Survive (Spanish)

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Un letrero en Bia Recuaté que dice Use Barbijo
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The Yuqui Indigenous community is home to just 344 inhabitants. It's one of the most vulnerable...

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Berbagai penulis

The Yuquis are a people that still conserve that nomadic and indomitable essence, but at the same time, are very conscious of the protection of their territory and their customs. You can see their passage through the jungle, always very subtle, very light, in harmony. Image by Sara Aliaga Ticona.

We visit a community in the Bolivian Amazon considered highly vulnerable. In the midst of the pandemic, the Yuquis, with only 360 people, are on alert. United for the same purpose to survive, preserve their culture and identity and at the same time, their health is seriously affected and their territory threatened by illegal actions such as deforestation.

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Entering the community of Bia Recuaté, where the Yuqui people live, you cross trails and narrow roads. It is where you begin to feel the humid smell of the Amazon rainforest. When you travel through several kilometers of nature, it is perceived that time does not exist. This same forest has witnessed the struggle for survival of the indigenous people of the Yuquis, who take care of it and have generated such a deep connection with the flora and fauna that surround them. Since the period of the first contacts in the 1960s, the inhabitants, in an attempt to preserve their identity, adopted in their names and surnames — in their Yuqui language — everything that is part of their ecosystem, such as flowers, fruits and the animals. 

The Yuqui people live mainly in the Bia Recuaté community, in the Chapare province, known as the main region to produce the coca leaf in Bolivia. Coca, which according to official figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is mostly destined for illegal production, linked to drug trafficking. 

Read the full story in Spanish on the Radio Temblor website.

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