Short Doc Reveals COVID-19 Struggle in Peruvian Amazon from Indigenous Perspective

By 15 June, 2020

A new documentary is drawing attention to the COVID-19 situation for indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon, a place rich in heritage and the birthplace of psychedelic cumbia legends such as Los Wembler’s, Juaneco and Pax de Iquitos. The video shows the current pandemic in the context of multiple struggles that geographically-isolated Amazon communities have faced, from exploitation of natural resources, to land grabs and oil spills.

The documentary explains the world-view of ‘demons’ that have been passed down through generations among the Kukama people, used to describe the problems placed upon them, today coming to mean pollution, viruses and government indifference and abandonment relating to medical support and infrastructure. While Peruvian Amazon communities have produced and exported internationally a huge resource of culture, traditional teachings and medicines, the documentary shows how many feel they have been abandoned due to stigmas against indigenous peoples, that can only be changed by a shift in perspective that puts their communities, traditions and world-view as equal within society.

Loreto: Two Demons and Many Amazonian Communities at Risk documents the situation from the perspective of Leonardo Tello Imaina, an indigenous journalist from Radio Ucamara, an important station on the Marañón River, in Loreto (whose regional capital in Iquitos). You can read an accompanying article from Tello Imaina here.

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