Aggressions from States and extractivisms
1. The COVID-19 situation in the Amazon: an ethnocide
Map of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the Pan Amazon on July 17, 2020: total confirmed cases in the Amazon 609,121. Total deceased 17,869.
COVID-19 is a pandemic, it is endemic and it generates a structural crisis never seen before. This is the profile of the challenge we face. Thus, it is a real and violent danger against peoples.
Health systems have collapsed. In many countries, cities’ health systems are reacting on the basis of a death toll. But not in rural areas.
In the meanwhile, in the Amazon, ethnocide is a part of the States actions, expressed in the communities by a continued absence of doctors, of health systems, of medicines. Added to this are the uncontrolled contagions of people entering the territories; the payment, by the government, of palliative aids that have forced people to go out to the banks, generating new contagions.
2. How did we get to this pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic is not casual, there are factors that potentialize it:
• High concentration of animals in factory farms
• Climate change
• Change in alimentary habits
• Destruction and imbalance of biodiversity
• Bovine livestock
• GM foods
• Largest and more populated cities
3. Expansion of extractivism and indebtedness of the States, with open support for the corporate sector
The governments take advantage of the pandemic to impose quarantines and to introduce repressive measures. Stay at home! It is stated as the population’s obligation, while the obligations of the States to provide hospitals, beds, doctors, and services are not fulfilled.
There is an economic depression, an unprecedented food and health crisis that we must face united and mobilized.
The governments are implementing plans in coordination with international organizations, getting into debt, generating resources for the business sectors.
The absence of an intercultural health system increases the vulnerability of indigenous peoples, therefore we must promote intercultural, local, and community health as a mechanism that guarantees the right to life and health. This does not mean that we renounce to demand from the States the attention and the protection of our rights to life and health.
Extractivism, GM foods, deforestation, agribusiness severely threaten the Amazon, our health, food, cultures, and existence.
We must stop pandemic and post-COVID-19 financing plans that do not benefit indigenous peoples, popular urban sectors, the environment, and nature. To do this, the mobilization must demand that governments’ expenses around COVID-19 be made transparent.
We must guarantee financing for food sovereignty, food production from communities and families and, thus, be able to face the possible shortcomings, and famines that the crisis announces. Food sovereignty and self-government are the necessary articulation to build.
5. Objectives, Campaigns, and Actions
I. Demands to the Amazonian governments
1.1 Strengthen equipped community action and self-care to bridle ethnocide due to state abandonment related to COVID-19 and other diseases
1. That the State guarantee medical teams and supplies (medicines, rapid tests, pulse oximeter, oxygen, protective equipment) based on community structures
2. That the State guarantees rights to medicines, equipment, and payment to communal health agents (promoters, vegetalistas, midwives)
3. Medical advice and supervision, either with presential or remote brigades (by radio, telephone), including mental health
4. That the States mobilize their transport and logistics units, overcoming bureaucratic slowness
5. The application of the ethnic and cultural variables in actions and health statistics
1.2 Immediate moratorium on extractive activities in Amazonian territories in order for them to stop being vectors of pandemic expansion
1. Stop extractive operations (wood, mining, livestock, soy, monocultures, hydrocarbons, tourism, and others) and postpone them until the vaccination of Amazonian peoples
2. Stop state initiatives of «economic reactivation» with cuts on indigenous, social, and environmental rights, and their respective control
3. The fundamental right to water and stopping its contamination, an essential issue to face the pandemic
1.3 Food and social security to the communities, without monetary transmission vectors
1. Supply communities with healthy food and sanitary supplies (masks, soap, bleach, protective equipment) through biosafety protocols. State purchase of communal agricultural products
2. Avoid going to collect monetary aid and its possibility to return infected
3. Quarantine facilities in the entrance of communities
4. Guarantee the right to intercultural bilingual education during the pandemic
1.4 Support the struggles to reorient neoliberal policies on COVID-19, to reduce social inequalities and strengthen community self-care
1. Independent audit of indebtedness, investments and state plans before the COVID-19 and sanction on corruption.
2. Channel volunteers to support ongoing campaigns in this regard
3. Develop virtual forums and campaigns on public policy change for this one and new pandemics.
II. Supporting community initiatives
2.1 Support to community promoters who resist and face the pandemic through their national organizations.
- Make visible successful community health experiences against COVID-19
- Volunteer doctors for remote counseling or «telemedicine»
- Medicines, supplies and equipment to serve communities
- Reinforce reciprocity, exchanges for food autonomy
2.2 Support for economic solidarity campaigns, such as the COICA Fund and others, for immediate health aid.
- Channel support from artists and cultural events to ongoing initiatives by the communities and their national organizations.
- Channel volunteers to support the actions of Amazonian organizations.
2.3 Develop alternative information and communication, rejecting ethnocide secrecy, misinformation and underreporting.
- Support ongoing initiatives of alternative information on the Amazon pandemic.
- Strengthen popular and indigenous communication networks and their access to national media.
2.4 Strengthen indigenous and popular self-government initiatives based on communal health self-care to face state abandonment.
- Support for ongoing struggles and actions on the territorial self-government of the Amazonian peoples.
- Develop forums for the expression and strengthening of these processes.
- Support for ongoing processes and forums of community-based intercultural health systems and the decoloniality of health.
III. Actions at international level
3.1 Demand an urgent health mission from WHO, PAHO, and social health networks to serve communities in the context of COVID-19 in order to face state incapacity.
- A million signatures on the letter to WHO and PAHO for the Amazon emergency mission and the intervention of UNHCR bodies of the United Nations (Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples and health, CERD, IACHR, ILO).
- Forums under responsibility of the WHO, PAHO and UN on community health.
3.2 Complaint to the UN (CERD, ILO, Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples), IACHR and to national judges (demand for relief) about state ethnocide and precautionary measures to defend defenders; effective attention and cultural relevance.
a. Channel specialized legal support to community organizations.
b.Support to AIDESEP, OPIAC, APIB and others forums on their complaints already in progress.