They limit access to cities and tourism. Organizations warn that this sector is at higher risk due to lack of information and material conditions to face the pandemic.

By Ángeles Mariscal

In Chiapas, doctors improvise with plastic bags some suits to supposedly “avoid contagions” of coronavirus, in the hospital of San Juan Chamula, where mainly the indigenous population goes.

In indigenous regions of Los Altos and the jungle of Chiapas, various communities determined to quarantine those who migrated from those places and, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, returned to spend this time in their original villages.

Organizations that work with indigenous communities and leaders of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) explained that, as part of the measures that have been implemented to try to prevent the coronavirus from impacting indigenous areas, they independently decided to isolate who are returning to their villages.

Read: EZLN decrees “red alert” for coronavirus and closes its self-government centers in Chiapas

“They are indigenous people who migrated to the northern states of the country, to the Yucatan Peninsula, or to the United States. Many of them they lost their jobs and now that they return to quarantine here, the communities are aware that they can bring the virus. For this reason they decided to preventively isolate them, and once it is guaranteed that they are not sick, they will be able to enter the villages and be with their families, ”explained one of the doctors who works at the San Andrés Larráinzar.

Although this measure is not unanimous, nor is it widespread in all of the indigenous areas of Chiapas, it is applied where there is greater community coordination, including places where the EZLN has influence.

The EZLN, since last March 16, determined to close its meetinghousesBecause he said there was sufficient evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is a real threat to their communities.

Last Thursday, through an audio message that Subcomandante Tacho – one of the organization’s leaders – sent to the Zapatista towns, the measures they are applying in these regions were discussed.

Among them, he cited the preventive quarantine that applies to returning migrants. “The brothers who come outside, in some communities have isolated them and after 15 or 20 days they enter with their families. So we are safe and we are avoiding any contagion that may come from outside, “he said.

He also mentioned that some communities are avoiding the transit of public transport vehicles that have as their route the municipal seats of Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, La Trinitaria, among other places.

“Those agreements can prevent contagion because we don’t know who is infected, and that is why we have to make those measurements. We know about you. We know that they have closed tourist centers to prevent brothers and sisters from other countries from coming. We do not know if they are infected with this virus. Those agreements come from the communities (they are) necessary precautions to avoid contagion, “said the Zapatista leader.

Along with these measures, organizations of doctors and specialists who work with indigenous communities agreed to collaborate to design systems of care that are feasible to be applied in those regions.

However, they recognized that at this time there are no material conditions to face the Covid-19. The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center explained that in the case of indigenous peoples, there is a lack of accurate information in their own language; There is an absence of properly installed health centers, action protocols for the protection of the population in rural areas, under the conditions of the cultural environment.

Nor has an emergency care policy been established for indigenous regions, those income of people with high-risk health conditions. In fact, in hospitals in these regions, doctors have had to make protective suits with plastic bags used for garbage.