“Amazon’s future at stake in the Brazilian elections”

Piroschka del Wouw

News from the NOSyesterday, 22:24

  • Nina Jurna

    correspondent South America

  • Nina Jurna

    correspondent South America

Sunday’s elections in Brazil are not just about the political future of incumbent President Bolsonaro, many believe that the future of the Amazon is also at stake. It is one of the main electoral themes.

In the past four years, under the far-right Bolsonaro, deforestation has increased by about 80%. A Brazilian research agency recently calculated that at least two billion trees were felled during his reign. There have been more fires and violence against environmentalists, indigenous leaders and journalists in the Amazon has increased.

This has a lot to do with Bolsonaro’s policies and his views on the Amazon. It emphasizes the economic importance of the area and encourages agricultural and mining activities at the expense of trees.

Since he took office, the restitution of land to the original indigenous population has also been halted, as was the case in the early 1980s and 1990s. The basic idea was that by delimiting indigenous areas, nature would be protected. In recent years, loggers, prospectors and illegal fishermen have felt empowered by Bolsonaro’s rhetoric and policy towards the Amazon, which has led to a growth in illegal activity in the tropical rainforest.

Threats

For conservationists and indigenous leaders, the struggle to preserve the tropical rainforest has become more dangerous. Violence has escalated: it is estimated that around 30 activists and an unknown number of indigenous people were killed last year. In many cases, the perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

A highly threatened indigenous activist is also Alessandra Korap Munduruku (37) from the Central Tapajos area in the state of Para. She grew up around the Tapajos River and belongs to the Munduruku people, who live in the heart of the Amazon. Due to her struggle against the arrival of gold mining in her area and extensive logging, she has been seen as an enemy by illegal loggers and gold miners. They broke into her home, she received death threats, and her computer and social media were hacked.

In this video he talks about his struggle:

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Alessandra Korap fights for the Amazon and ‘does not fold’

“They invaded my house twice. I think they did it because I’m trampling, because I always defend the river and my people. They probably see me as someone standing in their way,” he says. For some years he has no longer lived in his village but in the city of Santarem, where he studies law. Ultimately, as a lawyer, he hopes he can do even more in the fight for the Amazon and indigenous peoples.

Alessandra Korap Munduruku has already received numerous international awards and is not deterred by threats. “I don’t bow to big business or the government. I’ll keep fighting for my people,” she says. Like many other natives, she is very worried. If the policy of the Bolsonaro government continues, the Amazon will soon be saved, she thinks. And the impact of that can be felt around the world, she says. “Ultimately, the Amazon is everyone’s business.”

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