A small group of young men Waorani step out of the small piece of secondary forest, faced by their precarious settlements on the outskirts of Shell, a military town named after the oil company in Ecuador southern Amazon. Men wear a wooden pole from 20 feet and wearing smiles widely. “Now we can let our people know that the plague is, and they should camp deeper into the green forest,” he called to me from a distance, with the classic Waorani cry of follow-up: “queeeuuuuu, queeeuuuu, queeeuuuuu” (Which means, in essence, “we are alive, we are badass, and we’re happy!”). Within an hour they had brought an antenna on the pole in order and an old HF radio, tuning linked statically loaded frequency that a compound produced dozens of Waorani communities on their 2.5 million acres of rainforest. It was 16:00 on March 17, just two days had ordered a nationwide closure by the Ecuadorian government, roadblocks content protection in place in order, and a curfew at 02:00. At that time there was only that, but the growing number of cases in the booming coastal port city of Guayaquil had performed in quarantine nationwide two confirmed cases of coronavirus southern Amazon in Ecuador. Gilberto Nenquimo, president of the Waorani nation during the 6000 Hunter Harvester is almost 60 villages in south-central Ecuador, he took the first radio: “Waorani, you copied me? Seniors, can you hear me? We are facing terrible times before. There is a new disease in the world, unlike any other. he traveled from afar China, and arrived here in Ecuador. it spreads rapidly. in a few months, it has spread all over the world. There are cases confirmed in the oil city in northern Amazon. the elderly are dying around the world. in more advanced countries, hospitals can not cure this disease. the bodies pile up in Italy and the United States. Imagine the doctors here in Ecuador. you have no chance. There are villagers were coming to town. We prohibit access to our territory. No one gets in. Nobody goes. Feeling Waorani me? I’ve copied “over the static, Manuela Pauchi from remote Huaorani village N emonpare, he said: “Yes, we copy. I dreamed about it. The Cowori (outsiders) do terrible things. They destroy animal homes. created man to kill this disease across the land. Go to making the fields in the woods. Drinking medicinal plants. Only eat meat and wild fish. This is our strength. “Zusammenzugekauert and near the crackling radio static were leaders backed a Waorani handful to protect each other Nemonte Nenquimo that led their people last year for a big win against oil drilling in 500,000 acres of forest primary rainforest. “We have to protect our seniors,” he said. “We’re fighting for our lives for centuries. Our elders have taught us how to fight the rubber tappers and loggers and oil companies. Now we need to protect them from this disease. When our elders die now, young people lose their way and not be able to survive against all threats. “Nenquimo and leader Waorani gathered were right to care and preventive measures. In the month since the first announcement, it has been more than 8,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ecuador. Guayaquil, the largest city of the country and main port, has become the epicenter of the pandemic in Ecuador. Pictures of the dead on the sidewalks there left the world was on the front page. on April 1, Brazil has the first confirmed case Covid-19 inside an Amazonian indigenous communities and April 10 the first death: a 15 year old boy Yanomami. it seemed inevitable, just a matter of time before the Waorani territory virus would reach. the indigenous communities around the world face disproportionately high risks of pandemics, because living spaces often crowded, scarcity of water and lack of health facilities, equipment and personnel. This latest threat of the disease is part of a long sad story. invasions of European territories in Digeni in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have led, in addition to murder and slavery, killed epidemics like smallpox and flu, millions of people. The Native Americans today are the survivors of one of the greatest genocides in history, where an estimated 56 million people died. And the survivors, oral storytellers, carry those memories with them. The Waorani have been “contacted” by the Western civilization, as recently pushed deeper into 1950 as oil production in the rainforest. Waorani elders living memories die for their family of foreign diseases: it is said that more deaths than half the population in the first decade of their contact. Neighbors indigenous peoples, such as the Secoya, and Siona, telling stories during the rubber boom were enslaved coming to other clans to visit longhouses, and found only skeletons in hammocks. “My father was a boy, began as his brothers and sisters from the new disease to die, yellow fever, polio and influenza. Almost all of our people died. It was terrible. Strong healthy men paralyzed by polio . The foaming at the mouth. fever, sweating. I do not even think about it, “says Nemonte. The contagious COVID-19 represents an extreme danger to the indigenous peoples of all the Amazon. First, there is the challenge of public health information to remote villages get about the virus and the necessary precautions to prevent its spread. The idea of ”social distancing” may be difficult for indigenous people, who often live in large compounds of the family and their culture involves drinking and sharing of chicha (a fermented cassava pulp saliva). “If this disease goes in our villages, it will be difficult to avoid a terrible epidemic, because we live together. We all share the food and drinks, and we have family all together live under one roof. This is the way we are” Nenquimo says. The indigenous peoples geographic isolation can be a double-edged blade during a pandemic. On the one hand, the areas of the rain forest with no roads are an important buffer from the high transfer rate, crowded the border boom town. However, the fear that once the virus returns in their territory by a “silent carriers” of a distant city in a canoe, or step on the long jungle trails, the many villages that do not have the necessary information to people in the villages to isolate and care for the sick. Since the beginning of April, the disease has almost all Boomtown border on the edge of the Amazon reached. It ‘also the lack of health care for remote communities. While indigenous peoples access to a huge “pharmacy” of medicinal plants have to determine which plants might protect against and heal is a new highly pathogenic virus across the world, almost impossible. And yet for many who be their only hope. For the Waorani The nearest hospitals are a plane flight jungle or several days by canoe, and the national arrest, is not the jungle aircraft (other than those of the Ecuadorian Air Force) fly. The Waorani are only defending one of hundreds of indigenous peoples throughout the Amazon nearly a million square miles of prime forest to defend – or about 35% of the Amazon basin in nine countries. They are used in an ever more urgent defense of their country by government and industry attempts to open the “lungs of the earth” for mining, oil, logging and agribusiness. The combined effect of these industries has led over the past half century, the rainforest towards a point of no return environmentally devastating, threatening the existence of a biome rainforest, which is home to 10% of species of earth contains and recycles much of its fresh water, and forms the largest terrestrial carbon sink on the planet. Under the administration Trump allies Jair Bolsonaro of law and the protection of the Brazilian military has established farmers tens of thousands of forest fires. Environmentalists and indigenous leaders have denounced the fire as an attempt to erase largest rainforest in the world for soybeans and cows. The irony is, probably paved cruel as this steroid-driven industrial agriculture the way for the birth of the coronavirus in the first place. All this has led the indigenous communities in the region to try to stop the spread of the virus. “Right now we are focused on prevention,” says Gilberto Nenquimo. “We must ensure that our communities have the information they need to take precautions, and also you have dietary requirements they need to stay put in the villages and not to expose themselves to risk in the border town.” For many indigenous peoples, Amazonia its huge rainforest areas offer everything you need to survive – food, medicine, shelter, water, spiritual well-being. But more and more due to threats – it is estimated that 68% of the indigenous territory is at risk over the Amazon of roads, mines, dams, oil drilling, forest fires, and deforestation – many indigenous peoples have been deprived the usual abundance of forest life, and left with degraded land, surrounded by oil fields and cow pastures. “I’m worried more about the communities along the oil roads. They depend on money and food from businesses and from the cities, because wild animals have disappeared, and the rivers are contaminated. You are most at risk now sick and spreading the virus to other more communities deep in the forest, “says Gilberto. indigenous organizations and civil society groups in Ecuador have concern for the Government of competence and willingness to provide medical assistance to remote indigenous villages in case of an outbreak words. Several indigenous organizations and groups for human rights, including the organization I founded, Amazon Frontlines, has launched a fund of campaign crowd and channel resources to the natives led efforts to protect the villagers from COVID-19 for life. “How can we trust the government to protect us or treatment of this disease, if all the government takes care of its resources from our country to extract,” says Nemonte. “We have to organize.” The quarantine measures, the Waorani, but we do not just say that you close all their foreign communities, but also to each other. “We are taken outside of our territory,” Nemonte said to me one morning when we give the morning delivery via COVID-19 in the villages, is gone. “This is a nightmare for a Waorani woman. To be trapped in a border town during the plague, away from our families, away from the forest, where there are no fish, no animal, no gardens. But we have to be here. If otherwise our people will be alone in the dark, and there is no plan to stop the disease that occurs our country, and no medical care for people who are sick. “While as directed, even if the insulation to keep almost impossible it is necessary to try to prevent an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe in indigenous communities, the Waorani and other local leaders know that to change the long and difficult struggle for economic and political models that lead to deforestation, displacement and pandemics, require the more global and united support than ever. “Many people have lost all over the world contact with nature, with the land,” says Nemonte. “This disease is a message from nature that everything is out of balance, but I do not know if people are listening.” In March, a few days before the Ecuador national bloc in response to COVID-19 he was told the new minister of natural resources of energy and non-renewable, René Ortiz, in a television interview that “take advantage of this crisis “I planned to not only continue, but the oil and mining projects to extract speed up” all kinds of natural resources. ” “What is more important called life or money?” Nemonte. “This is the question that will decide everything. Indigenous peoples have always chosen life. We never destroyed our homes for money. This is what outsiders do. This is what your company does,” Photo copyright by Jerónimo Zuñiga-Amazon Frontlines.