A group of indigenous Brazilians wearing beaded headbands are boating across a tributary of the Amazon River, flashing the same hand signs on their way to the polls. “L” for Lula.
Like many Brazilians, Cambeba people are voting in schools that have become polling stations for Sunday’s elections. Unlike most people, he must motor his boat from a remote village in the rainforest.
When this sprawling South American nation chooses its next president, it will be split between two leading candidates: left-wing frontrunner Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. A polarizing battle is taking place.
“It is important that indigenous peoples fight for democracy and vote for those who respect and respect us,” said Raimundo Cruz da Silva, 42-year-old deputy “Tuxaua” or chief. design.
Like many people in his village, he is voting for Lula. Many of his 900,000 mighty indigenous people in Brazil consider his four years under Bolsonaro a miserable one.
The far-right incumbent, who took office vowing not to allow “another centimeter” of land to be turned into a protected indigenous reserve, has presided over the burgeoning environmental destruction, especially in the Amazon rainforest, and threatened indigenous peoples. asked to protect the land of Open to mining.
More than 100 people live in the village of Torres Unidos da Silva, located in an indigenous reserve about 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Manaus, the capital of the northern state of Amazonas.
Their polling village, San Sebastian, is outside the reservation, five minutes across the river by boat.
The four shuttle boats carrying out the election mission will traverse the dark waters of the Rio Negro River, carrying about 40 people at a time, through lush, emerald-green rainforest as far as the eye can see.
Taynara da Costa Cruz, an 18-year-old student and craftsman, voted for the first time.
“Voting is very important, especially for us young people. We need to keep an eye on the Amazon and indigenous peoples.”
Leurilene Cruz da Silva, 38, Raimundo’s sister, proudly flashes her voter ID as she arrives at the polling place.
“You have to show that you know how to resist,” she says.
Lula, who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, dramatically reduced deforestation during his two presidential terms, especially over his decision to push ahead with the massive Belomonte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon. There were also conflicts with indigenous communities.
This time, left-wing veterans created a Department of Indigenous Peoples and pledged to work to achieve net zero deforestation.