On October 2nd, South America’s largest nation will elect its next president. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro is seeking to run for his second term, and his son Eduardo, a member of Congress, has endorsed his campaign.
Claim: In recent weeks, Eduardo Bolsonaro has complained that his father has not been sufficiently recognized for his commitment to Brazil’s indigenous peoples. It is the government that has done the most for the indigenous peoples of Brazil without being recognized.”
Fact check: error
Eduardo Bolsonaro published a list of 11 examples of presidential support for indigenous peoples to back up his claims. Nine of his were dedicated to measures to protect indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the remaining two of his consisted of measures to protect indigenous reserves. But even if, at first glance, some of these examples seem to support his claims, the president’s basic policy is against the interests of indigenous peoples.
Eduardo Bolsonaro has supported his father in the presidential campaign
The claim that 90% of indigenous people in Brazil have been vaccinated by the end of 2021 is correct. According to Ministry of Health figures, 90% of Indigenous people over the age of 18 had received her first dose of the COVID vaccine as of January 8, 2022, and 85% had received her second dose. was Additionally, by mid-January, nearly nine million medical supplies, including protective clothing, face masks, COVID-19 tests and pain relievers, had been distributed to indigenous communities.
However, it is also true that all of these government aid measures were not voluntary and were carried out by court order. Only after Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled on August 5, 2020, did the government create a pandemic plan for indigenous areas. This will also improve access to health care in these communities.
The complaint was filed by the Brazilian Indigenous Mediation, the country’s largest indigenous representative body. The Association will also file a complaint against President Bolsonaro at the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2021, urging President Bolsonaro and his government to commit humanitarian and genocide actions against his flawed COVID-19 response and threats to indigenous lands. accused of crimes against
Indigenous medical care is guaranteed by Brazilian law. According to a law passed in 1990 and amended several times since then, governments are obliged to treat indigenous peoples within the framework of the country’s public health system. To do so, the federal government must provide state and local governments with the necessary funding.
Bolsonaro has attracted many protesters in recent years
A 2020 Supreme Court ruling also mandated the government to distribute basic staple foods to residents of indigenous areas to ensure food security during the pandemic.
In a Twitter post, Eduardo Bolsonaro wrote that the government had distributed 1.7 million packages of staple food to 200,000 households. About 1.3 million parcels had been distributed by the end of May, according to FUNAI, Brazil’s Department of Indigenous Affairs.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling and Eduardo Bolsonaro’s allegations, a statement prepared by the state public prosecutor’s office in the southern state of Paraná on May 22 said, “Brazil will guarantee the food security of its indigenous peoples as required by its constitution. far from.” .
This view was endorsed by indigenous activist Alessandra Korap Munduruk. He is the vice president of He FEPIPA, the umbrella organization for the indigenous peoples of northern Para state.
“We can’t rely on the state. Most of our staple food packages were distributed by private aid organizations during the pandemic,” Kollup told DW. “Without NGOs, we would be starving. They also brought oxygen to the people. [Indigenous] Reserve. “
“Without NGOs, we would be starving,” said Alessandra Korap Munduruk
protect indigenous territories
The indigenous population is just under 900,000, or less than 1% of Brazil’s total population of approximately 217 million. Just under 60% of the population lives in designated reserves, according to the government statistics agency IBGE.
In all, 680 areas are registered as indigenous lands with the FUNAI Indigenous Authority, covering 13% of Brazil’s surface area. Of these, about two-thirds are officially recognized as reserves and are subject to some degree of protection, at least on paper. The definition of legal status in other areas has not yet been finalized.
Jair Bolsonaro had already expressed his dislike of indigenous reserves during his 2018 election campaign. In a television interview shortly after his election, he reiterated his position that there would be no new reserve appointments during his term. So far, he’s sticking with that policy.
According to the Brazilian research portal Agency Publica, Bolsonaro does not officially recognize a single boundary. In contrast, Fernando Enrique Cardoso, who served as president from 1995 to his 2003, designated a total of 145 Indigenous protected areas during his tenure, according to the Catholic Indigenous Mission Council. That figure was 79 in the case of former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who was in power from 2003 to 2011 and hoped to take office again in October.
As if that weren’t enough, there have been numerous initiatives over the past four years to undermine protection of existing reserves and to prevent or delay the designation of already determined Indigenous Areas. For example, earlier this year, the Brazilian Congress approved a government bill allowing mining of raw materials in reserves with the consent of indigenous peoples.
On April 16, 2020, Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and the Indigenous Agency, FUNAI, issued a decree allowing the registration of real estate and land titles in indigenous territories that have not yet been fully designated.
“We don’t need more laws to mine gold, mine iron ore, or raise cows in reserves,” Korap said. “There are no penalties for destruction. So aggression was legalized.”
About 2,265 hectares in the Munduruk Indigenous Territory were devastated by gold prospectors between January 2019 and May 2021, according to the Institute for Social and Environmental Studies, a civil society organization. The police withdrew after just five days. This is not an isolated case. Not enough environmental crimes have been prosecuted since Bolsonaro took office.
An onslaught has begun in the Yanomami Reserve, Brazil’s largest indigenous reserve.According to Spanish newspaper reports El Paisthe Brazilian Mining Agency received 500 applications for mining operations covering an area of 3.3 million hectares, about one-third of the protected area.
Conclusion: The “special protection of Brazilian indigenous peoples” claimed in Eduardo Bolsonaro’s Twitter post is no longer in principle implemented. Claims that the Bolsonaro government has done more for indigenous peoples than any other government regarding COVID-19 are also false. First, it was enforced only after being forced to take protective measures by court rulings. And secondly, no comparison can be made with previous governments in the fight against coronavirus.
Co-authored with DW’s Brazilian editorial department