As Brazil’s Far Right Leader Threatens the Amazon, One Tribe Pushes Back

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  • Brazil new President will open Amazon indigenous reserves to mining and farming

    Indigenous People Bolsonaro has vowed that no more indigenous reserves will be demarcated and existing reserves will be opened up to mining, raising the alarm among indigenous leaders. “We are in a state of alert,” said Beto Marubo, an indigenous leader from the Javari Valley reserve.

    Dinamam Tuxá, the executive coordinator of the Indigenous People of Brazil Liaison, said indigenous people did not want mining and farming on their reserves, which are some of the best protected areas in the Amazon. “He does not respect the indigenous peoples’ traditions” he said.

    The Amazon and the environment Bolsonaro campaigned on a pledge to combine Brazil’s environment ministry with the agriculture ministry – under control of allies from the agribusiness lobby. He has attacked environmental agencies for running a “fines industry” and argued for simplifying environmental licences for development projects. His chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, and other allies have challenged global warming science.

    “He intends that Amazon stays Brazilian and the source of our progress and our riches,” said Ribeiro Souto in an interview. Ferreira has also said Bolsonaro wants to restart discussions over controversial hydroelectric dams in the Amazon, which were stalled over environmental concerns.

    Bolsonaro’s announcement last week that he would no longer seek to withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreement has done little to assuage environmentalists’ fears.

    http://www.whitewolfpack.com/2018/10/brazil-new-president-will-open-amazon.html
    #réserves #Amazonie #Brésil #extractivisme #mines #agriculture #forêt #déforestation (probablement pour amener ENFIN la #modernité et le #progrès, n’est-ce pas ?) #aires_protégées #peuples_autochtones #barrages_hydroélectriques

    • Un leader paysan assassiné dans l’Amazonie brésilienne

      Le leader paysan, #Aluisio_Samper, dit #Alenquer, a été assassiné jeudi après-midi 11 octobre 2018 chez lui, à #Castelo_de_Sonhos, une ville située le long de la route BR-163 qui relie le nord de l’État de #Mato_Grosso, la principale région productrice de #soja du Brésil, aux deux fleuves Tapajós et Amazone.

      Il défendait des paysans qui s’accrochaient à des lopins de terre qu’ils cultivaient pour survivre, alors que le gouvernement les avaient inclues dans un projet de #réforme_agraire et allait les attribuer à des associations de gros producteurs.


      https://reporterre.net/Un-leader-paysan-assassine-dans-l-Amazonie-bresilienne
      #assassinat #terres #meurtre

    • As Brazil’s Far Right Leader Threatens the Amazon, One Tribe Pushes Back

      “Where there is indigenous land,” newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has said, “there is wealth underneath it.”

      The Times traveled hundreds of miles into the Brazilian Amazon, staying with a tribe in the #Munduruku Indigenous Territory as it struggled with the shrinking rain forest.

      The miners had to go.

      Their bulldozers, dredges and high-pressure hoses tore into miles of land along the river, polluting the water, poisoning the fish and threatening the way life had been lived in this stretch of the Amazon for thousands of years.

      So one morning in March, leaders of the Munduruku tribe readied their bows and arrows, stashed a bit of food into plastic bags and crammed inside four boats to drive the miners away.

      “It has been decided,” said Maria Leusa Kabá, one of the women in the tribe who helped lead the revolt.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/world/americas/brazil-indigenous-mining-bolsonaro.html

    • Indigenous People, the First Victims of Brazil’s New Far-Right Government

      “We have already been decimated and subjected, and we have been victims of the integrationist policy of governments and the national state,” said indigenous leaders, as they rejected the new Brazilian government’s proposals and measures focusing on indigenous peoples.

      In an open letter to President Jair Bolsonaro, leaders of the Aruak, Baniwa and Apurinã peoples, who live in the watersheds of the Negro and Purus rivers in Brazil’s northwestern Amazon jungle region, protested against the decree that now puts indigenous lands under the Ministry of Agriculture, which manages interests that run counter to those of native peoples.

      Indigenous people are likely to present the strongest resistance to the offensive of Brazil’s new far-right government, which took office on Jan. 1 and whose first measures roll back progress made over the past three decades in favor of the 305 indigenous peoples registered in this country.

      Native peoples are protected by article 231 of the Brazilian constitution, in force since 1988, which guarantees them “original rights over the lands they traditionally occupy,” in addition to recognising their “social organisation, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions.”

      To this are added international regulations ratified by the country, such as Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the International Labor Organisation, which defends indigenous rights, such as the right to prior, free and informed consultation in relation to mining or other projects that affect their communities.

      It was indigenous people who mounted the stiffest resistance to the construction of hydroelectric dams on large rivers in the Amazon rainforest, especially Belo Monte, built on the Xingu River between 2011 and 2016 and whose turbines are expected to be completed this year.

      Transferring the responsibility of identifying and demarcating indigenous reservations from the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai) to the Ministry of Agriculture will hinder the demarcation of new areas and endanger existing ones.

      There will be a review of the demarcations of Indigenous Lands carried out over the past 10 years, announced Luiz Nabhan García, the ministry’s new secretary of land affairs, who is now responsible for the issue.

      García is the leader of the Democratic Ruralist Union, a collective of landowners, especially cattle ranchers, involved in frequent and violent conflicts over land.

      Bolsonaro himself has already announced the intention to review Raposa Serra do Sol, an Indigenous Land legalised in 2005, amid legal battles brought to an end by a 2009 Supreme Court ruling, which recognised the validity of the demarcation.

      This indigenous territory covers 17,474 square kilometers and is home to some 20,000 members of five different native groups in the northern state of Roraima, on the border with Guyana and Venezuela.

      In Brazil there are currently 486 Indigenous Lands whose demarcation process is complete, and 235 awaiting demarcation, including 118 in the identification phase, 43 already identified and 74 “declared”.

      “The political leaders talk, but revising the Indigenous Lands would require a constitutional amendment or proof that there has been fraud or wrongdoing in the identification and demarcation process, which is not apparently frequent,” said Adriana Ramos, director of the Socio-environmental Institute, a highly respected non-governmental organisation involved in indigenous and environmental issues.

      “The first decisions taken by the government have already brought setbacks, with the weakening of the indigenous affairs office and its responsibilities. The Ministry of Health also announced changes in the policy toward the indigenous population, without presenting proposals, threatening to worsen an already bad situation,” she told IPS from Brasilia.

      “The process of land demarcation, which was already very slow in previous governments, is going to be even slower now,” and the worst thing is that the declarations against rights “operate as a trigger for violations that aggravate conflicts, generating insecurity among indigenous peoples,” warned Ramos.

      In the first few days of the new year, and of the Bolsonaro administration, loggers already invaded the Indigenous Land of the Arara people, near Belo Monte, posing a risk of armed clashes, she said.

      The indigenous Guaraní people, the second largest indigenous group in the country, after the Tikuna, who live in the north, are the most vulnerable to the situation, especially their communities in the central-eastern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

      They are fighting for the demarcation of several lands and the expansion of too-small areas that are already demarcated, and dozens of their leaders have been murdered in that struggle, while they endure increasingly precarious living conditions that threaten their very survival.

      “The grave situation is getting worse under the new government. They are strangling us by dividing Funai and handing the demarcation process to the Ministry of Agriculture, led by ruralists – the number one enemies of indigenous people,” said Inaye Gomes Lopes, a young indigenous teacher who lives in the village of Ñanderu Marangatu in Mato Grosso do Sul, near the Paraguayan border.

      Funai has kept its welfare and rights defence functions but is now subordinate to the new Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, led by Damares Alves, a controversial lawyer and evangelical pastor.

      “We only have eight Indigenous Lands demarcated in the state and one was annulled (in December). What we have is due to the many people who have died, whose murderers have never been put in prison,” said Lopes, who teaches at a school that pays tribute in indigenous language to Marçal de Souza, a Guarani leader murdered in 1982.

      “We look for ways to resist and we look for ‘supporters’, at an international level as well. I’m worried, I don’t sleep at night,” she told IPS in a dialogue from her village, referring to the new government, whose expressions regarding indigenous people she called “an injustice to us.”

      Bolsonaro advocates “integration” of indigenous people, referring to assimilation into the mainstream “white” society – an outdated idea of the white elites.

      He complained that indigenous people continue to live “like in zoos,” occupying “15 percent of the national territory,” when, according to his data, they number less than a million people in a country of 209 million inhabitants.

      “It’s not us who have a large part of Brazil’s territory, but the big landowners, the ruralists, agribusiness and others who own more than 60 percent of the national territory,” countered the public letter from the the Aruak, Baniwa and Apurinã peoples.

      Actually, Indigenous Lands make up 13 percent of Brazilian territory, and 90 percent are located in the Amazon rainforest, the signatories of the open letter said.

      “We are not manipulated by NGOs,” they replied to another accusation which they said arose from the president’s “prejudices.”

      A worry shared by some military leaders, like the minister of the Institutional Security Cabinet, retired General Augusto Heleno Pereira, is that the inhabitants of Indigenous Lands under the influence of NGOs will declare the independence of their territories, to separate from Brazil.

      They are mainly worried about border areas and, especially, those occupied by people living on both sides of the border, such as the Yanomami, who live in Brazil and Venezuela.

      But in Ramos’ view, it is not the members of the military forming part of the Bolsonaro government, like the generals occupying five ministries, the vice presidency, and other important posts, who pose the greatest threat to indigenous rights.

      Many military officers have indigenous people among their troops and recognise that they share in the task of defending the borders, she argued.

      It is the ruralists, who want to get their hands on indigenous lands, and the leaders of evangelical churches, with their aggressive preaching, who represent the most violent threats, she said.

      The new government spells trouble for other sectors as well, such as the quilombolas (Afro-descendant communities), landless rural workers and NGOs.

      Bolsonaro announced that his administration would not give “a centimeter of land” to either indigenous communities or quilombolas, and said it would those who invade estates or other properties as “terrorists.”

      And the government has threatened to “supervise and monitor” NGOs. But “the laws are clear about their rights to organise,” as well as about the autonomy of those who do not receive financial support from the state, Ramos said.

      http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/01/indigenous-people-first-victims-brazils-new-far-right-government