Indigenous groups will be consulted but have no veto, says Brazilian mining minister as he announces opening indigenous reserves to mining in opposition to constitutional law.
Articles by Sue Branford and Maurício Torres
Federal litigators warn of “imminent genocide” for the Karipuna people, while at least 14 indigenous reserves have been threatened or invaded. Bolsonaro government slow to act, say critics.
On his first day in office, Brazil’s new president shifted the demarcation responsibility for indigenous lands to the agriculture ministry, potentially putting the Amazon at risk, critics say.
As Grainrail, the BR-163 and BR-319 highways, and other transport projects improve Amazon access, they attract land thieves ready to kill.
Agribusiness desperately wants Grainrail built, but it poses a clear threat to 20 indigenous territories, and to the livelihoods of Amazonia’s truckers. A battle could be brewing.
President elect Jair Bolsonaro signals his government will be strongly pro-business, likely bringing major setbacks for the environment, indigenous groups and social movements in Brazil.
Brazil has plans for an expansive Amazon and Cerrado rail network, including two transcontinental Atlantic to Pacific lines, but development likely depends on China.
Brazil’s elections have brought an apparent surge of violence, with indigenous groups, quilombos and rural minorities fearful as the right’s rhetoric grows more hostile.
Soy farmers see Grainrail as salvation; traders ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Amaggi see it as profit; but the Amazon railway could harm habitat and indigenous communities.
Interviewed by Mongabay in 2016, Aluisio Sampaio is the most recent victim in a growing wave of Amazon violence against socio-environmental activists.
“We used to go into the forest to tap copaiba oil but we had no good way of selling it. The regatão [traveling river trader] paid us whatever he liked…
A surge in Amazon deforestation is trending this year, with a 22 percent rise from August 2017 to May 2018. Experts say land thieves and politics may be at the heart of the problem.
Gold mine owners have polluted a river in Brazil’s Tapajós basin and placed a price on the heads of resisting Munduruku leaders. A federal raid in May failed to stem the conflict.
Most oil palm production in Pará state has so far been on degraded lands, but researchers warn a coming Brazilian oil palm boom could result in large-scale Amazon deforestation.
Brazil’s bancada ruralista has attached a wave of riders to bills in Congress that could overthrow the nation’s environmental and indigenous protections. There is a high chance of passage.
In a win for the environment, the Supreme Court ruled against the use of executive orders to reduce conservation unit size. Also, Brazil conserved 1.2 million hectares last week.
Thirty-eight environmental and social groups are demanding an end to indigenous intimidation by a dam building consortium on the Teles Pires River that includes Chinese and Portuguese firms.
Most environmentalists expect more deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere due to last week’s high court ruling upholding the constitutionality of much of the 2012 New Forest Code.
Land rights of Quilombolas, former slave communities, protected by high court ruling that rejects ruralist-backed lawsuit. The settlements have a strong record of protecting forests.
In 2018, expect more Amazon assaults by the Temer administration, as indigenous and environmental resistance builds, with court rulings and October elections adding uncertainty.
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