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Racism and Epidemic

For Don Bartolo, In Memoriam

Yesterday on 18th July 2020, the Mayor of Entre Ríos, Nicolas Herrera, together with the counterintelligence agent Esteban Barrios, went to the Community of Yuati without notice to the customary authorities, intending to attack the APG IG and to set up a new Community.

A few days ago, in what might be considered one of the most serious racist attacks suffered by the APG IG, the same Mayor Nicolas Herrera and the Provincial Governor Walter Ferrufino accused the Guaranis of having brought the coronavirus to the town of Entre Rios and threatened to "have arrested" the Mburuvicha Never Barrientos together with the doctor contracted by the APG IG to treat the epidemic of Covid-19.

Mr Barrientos and the doctor were accused of concealing the situation of Bartolome Barrientos, who was a loyal member of the APG IG and who, contrary to third party false statements, did not work with Repsol Bolivia SA. Don Bartolo, as he was known, went into the Entre Rios hospital on 1st July and was discharged on the 2nd July after a negative result on the same day from a Covid 19 virus test administered by the hospital.

Upon Don Bartolo's family's request, the APG IG helped transferred him on the same day to the Community of Yuati, where he was living with several of his children.

Nevertheless, his condition deteriorated over the next few days and he died on the way to the hospital in Entre Rios, where he was being taken by his son Marino Gallardo. After his death another PCR test was administered post mortem and this time it was positive.

Despite the fact that the clinical information was public, Mayor Nicolas Herrera and the Provincial Governor Walter Ferrufino went on to accuse Never Barrientos, President of the APG IG, of having concealed the condition of Don Bartolo Gallardo, and Repsol Bolivia SA of not having reported the same.

Never Barrientos was not even in Entre Ríos at the time, given that he has been living for some months now in one of the 36 Itika Guasu communities and all the actions taken during the illness and death of Don Bartolo were carried out directly by his immediate family. Repsol Bolivia SA had no connection at all with Don Bartolo, and, therefore, had no reason to know of the situation.

On 9th July there was a major and public repercussion from the fact that the radio station Radio Entrerriana aired false information and manipulated the facts with a clear intention of prejudicing the APG IG and fostering the stigmatization of the Guaranis by accusing them of carrying the virus. The atmosphere became so tense the APG IG gave instructions to 19 Guaranis who were living in the house belonging to the APG IG in Entre Rios to not leave the property under any circumstances, since a violent situation broke out against the Guaranis.

To try to demonstrate that the house was occupied by Guaranis who were carrying the virus, a brigade headed by the Director of the hospital of Entre Rios was sent there and carried out rapid tests on everyone they found there.

The tests were negative in every case, not even showing any sign of IgG, in other words, not one of the Guaranis had ever had the virus.

Nicolas Herrera and Walter Ferrufino have for some years been carrying out an aggressive campaign against the APG IG. This campaign has become more intense since the APG IG began taking protective measures against Covid-19 by distributing PPE equipment to the communities, such as overalls, gloves, N95 masks and so on.

The plan to do this was agreed internally by the APG IG in February 2020 before the virus had even reached Bolivia, and enabled them to obtain the necessary resources before the onset of the crisis of demand caused by the epidemic.

This racist attack has been denounced by Guarani leaders but the local press has not mentioned their views at all. Radio Entrerriana (99.5FM) is one of the two FM radios of Entre Rios. Entrerriana has a substantial anti-Guarani and racist agenda. The station is owned by a "great family" of Tarija, a large landowner linked to drug-trafficking.

Nicolas Herrera also promoted and supervised an attempt to take by force the APG IG headquarters in Entre Rios in conjunction with Walter Ferrufino's "troops", headed by the brothers Hugo and Rene Arebayo; since that time, the board members of the APG IG have left Entre Rios.

Abel Guzman Murgia
(M.A.S I.P.S.P)

Cecilia Gallardo Suruguay
(M.A.S I.P.S.P)

This operation headed by Nicolas Herrera, Walter Ferrufino, Abel Guzman Murgia (President of the Commission for Energy and Hydrocarbons of the Legislative Assembly of the Department of Tarija), Cecilia Gallardo Suruguay (Vice President of the same Commission) and others is intended to provoke division within the communities of the APG IG taking advantage of the Covid-19 epidemic, a manoeuvre which is blatantly racist.

This "troop", visibly led by Hugo Arebayo, Santiago Camacho, Esteban Barrios, Efraín Delfín Orillo and Rosemary Riva, is active right now. All all of tem appear as false leaders of the APG IG in documents signed by Cecilia Gallardo Suruguay.

In other words, the said Cecilia Gallardo Sarugay wants to "legalize" a well-known group of criminals as false leaders of the Guaranis of the TCO Itika Guasu, rejecting the lawful authorities pursuant to uses and customs, the Statute of the APG IG and even the Constitution of Bolivia. This was also attempted in 2014 in a legal attack which caused great damage to the APG IG. Social and economic damage from which the communities have still not recovered.

What is serious about this occasion is that they are using the Covid-19 epidemic as an instrument of socio-political control and they seek to do so in the context of an irrational racism which, from their behaviour, evidences a primitive and quite monstrous evil.

[Source: Radio Nizkor, Central Editorial Department, Charleroi and Tarija, 20Jul20]

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