J.Air Bolsonaro’s calculated sabotage of indigenous peoples and environmental protection has put Brazil’s indigenous peoples in the most dramatic crisis in history, said the country’s most famous living explorer.
Sidney Pozuelo, the outspoken former president of Brazil’s indigenous protection agency Funai, expressed anger and sadness at the dismantling of the safeguards he created during his legendary 60-year career, in an interview with The Guardian. expressed.
Possuelo, who ran Funai in the early 1990s, said Brazil’s indigenous people have been treated with incomprehensible or outright hostility by the government and fellow citizens for centuries. “But now, under Bolsonaro, everything is getting worse,” said the veteran indigenous champion, pointing to Funai’s systematic weakening since Brazil’s far-right president took office in 2019.
“In the past, invasions of indigenous lands [and] Not much timber was cut, and there was some reaction from government agencies. Funai objected to this and the police backed them up. Now, in the Bolsonaro era, everything has become very dangerous. Because there are pre-planned policies that stem from the presidency and spill over to all other government agencies. agency”.
A report released this month said encroachments on indigenous lands by gold miners and loggers had increased 180% under Bolsonaro, and accused the president of “normalizing” such violence. .
“Indigenous peoples have never faced the worst moment in the history of Brazil that they are facing right now, because we are talking about a deliberate policy from the president himself to cover up criminals and trespassers. said Pozuelo.
Criticism of Bolsonaro’s decision to cut Funai’s budget and fill the organization with officials unfamiliar with or unsympathetic to indigenous causes Indigenista Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips (June).
Poszuelo claimed that Bolsonaro took responsibility for the crime in the Amazon’s Javari Valley and relentlessly fomented hostility against indigenous peoples, activists and environmental advocates.
“It’s clear to me. He’s responsible. Bolsonaro is responsible because he was the driving force behind this policy and used government machinery to destroy the environment and indigenous peoples. This has consequences.” said Possuelo, who led the historic 105-day expedition through Javari in 2002.
“He is not the one who committed the actual crime, but he is the leader of this anti-environmental and anti-Indigenous policy… The shamelessness that allows us to invade, kill, and kidnap Indigenous lands is the reason why these We exist because we know that the people of our country enjoy their protection…the highest level of government.”
Posuelo suspected that Bolsonaro had dismantled indigenous protections not only to benefit powerful members of the agribusiness sector, which sought to make money in Brazil’s rainforests. was
Explorers recalled Bolsonaro claiming in 1998 that the Brazilian military was “incompetent” in dealing with indigenous communities. “North American cavalry has shown capability in the past when they wiped out Indians, so today they no longer have this problem in their country,” declared Bolsonaro.
“It’s almost a declaration of war,” Poszuelo said of the infamous remark.
“How did such anger take root within the government?” he asked.
The 80-something activist, 82 years old and still roaming Brazil, was speaking during a recent visit to the Amazon’s Arariboa Indigenous Territory, where members of the Guajajara tribe hailed him as a hero.
“You are part of our family.
A Guajajara activist group called Forest Guardians told Pozuelo about their fight against illegal loggers. “We are not fighting to start a war. We are fighting to end all this murder,” said the 32-year-old leader, whose cousin was murdered in 2019. He said Zé Guajajara.
Pozuelo said the government’s inaction means that such Self-Defense Forces are now an essential way for indigenous communities to protect themselves. “They shouldn’t be here risking their lives. The Brazilian government should be. But it’s not here. By protecting the intruders, they act almost like enemies. Therefore, This is exactly what they have to do.”
In response to Pozuelo’s criticism, a Funai spokesperson said it was taking “effective and practical” steps to help indigenous communities, pledging £13.2m into inspection efforts designed to protect them. “Funai … will work with environmental agencies and security forces to strengthen activities aimed at combating illegal activities in indigenous areas and ensuring the protection of indigenous communities. We spared no effort,” they claimed.
Pozuelo said he was disappointed by the plight of Brazil’s indigenous communities. “Sometimes I’m embarrassed to say I’m Brazilian.” But polls show that Bolsonaro, in his October elections, promised to create a ministry for indigenous peoples, ex-president Luis Inacio It is suggested that he will lose to Lula da Silva.
“I just thought he [Bolsonaro] I will not claim that the election was rigged, that the electronic voting system is not working, or do nonsense like my fellow Trump in America.
“Be careful, Bolsonaro. You may suffer the same fate,” Pozuelo joked. When darkness fell over the jungle camp where he was sleeping in a hammock surrounded by the people he had risked his life to protect.