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Story Publication logo November 18, 2020

Between Colonos and COVID-19: The Yuqui Community and Their Fight for Survival (Spanish)

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Un letrero en Bia Recuaté que dice Use Barbijo
English

The Yuqui Indigenous community is home to just 344 inhabitants. It's one of the most vulnerable...

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Los Yuquis es un pueblo que aún conserva esa esencia nómada e indomable, pero a la vez muy consciente con la protección de su territorio y de sus costumbres. se puede observar su paso por la selva, siempre muy sutil, muy ligero, en armonía.
Salomon Quispe is a fisherman from the Yuqui community. Each member of the community has a specialty; some are hunters, others are gatherers. The women generally make handicrafts and others like Salomon, dedicate themselves to fishing as their main activity and thus feed their families. Photo by Sara Aliaga. Bolivia, 2020.

Entering Bia Recauté, the community where the Yuqui people live, requires following trails and narrow roads. When you begin to feel and smell the humidity of the Amazon and travel through several kilometers of the landscape, you start to perceive that time doesn't exist. This very forest has been witness to the struggle for survival of the Indigenous Yuqui people, who care for it and have formed a deep connection with the flora and fauna that surrounds them. Since first contact in the 1960s, in an attempt to preserve their identity, the members of this community adopted Yuqui language names and surnames that captured the meaning of everything that is part of their ecosystem, such as flowers, fruits, and animals.

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

Read the full story in Spanish on La Barra Espaciadora, La Brava, or La Razón, or view the photo essay on the Bolivian Express website.