Despite the centrality of indigenous peoples to sustainable environments, governments and corporations are doing the utmost to militarize the Amazon to ensure indigenous erasure.
Tropical forests remain among the most targeted areas, with 46-57% of imported material deriving from such areas.
More than 4.2 million hectares of primary tropical forests was lost in 2020 to deforestation; 1.7 million hectares forest loss were incurred in Brazil’s Amazon alone.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro certainly has failed to impress with his track record of exploiting indigenous terrain.
Since the start of his presidency, he prioritized the industrialization of the Amazon rain forest, home to indigenous communities and over 100 never contacted tribes.
Not in Bolsonaro’s language, however, who refuted the indigeneity and declared the communities as favorable to industrialization of their land.
In 2019, the world witnessed a grotesque spectacle as the Amazon rainforest burned and Bolsonaro bided his time to save the terrain, while blaming environmental activists for the destruction, claiming arson attacks.
Yet one of Bolsonaro’s first policies, enacted within hours of his taking office, was to subject the regulation of indigenous lands to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Another gimmick hand involved Bolsonaro’s rejection of the G7’s offer $20 million in aid to fight the Amazon fires – rhetoric he later retracted.
The spectacle of exploiters offering aid to halt the fire spread illustrated nothing in terms of environment protection; rather it portrayed the vested interests of saving the forests to exploit through other means.
With a history of being in favor of industrializing the Amazon, Bolsonaro’s purported solution to preserving the terrain has turned out to be a recipe of oppression for the indigenous communities, and an avenue for exploitation to take place.
A recent report by Reuters quotes former left-wing environment minister Izabella Teixeira stating, “The current Brazilian government has a 1970’s mentality related to natural resources. That to control the forest means to cut it down.”
The indigenous populations, for whom the Amazon is a home, existed in a realm far from capitalist consciousness. And in such reasoning, Bolsonaro and the G7 were on the same page.
In January this year, indigenous leaders and human rights groups requested the International Criminal Court to investigate Bolsonaro for crimes against humanity as a result of his policies and violations of indigenous rights. A detailed report by Brazil’s Climate.
Observatory highlights the government’s refusal to engage in public debate, noting that 593 regulatory changes were signed in 2020 alone.
Furthermore, outsourcing the Amazon’s protection to the military resulted in an increase in fires and higher deforestation, which substantiates claims that the military and the government see eye to eye when it comes to indigenous exploitation.
According to the report, one recurring tactic used by Bolsonaro is the purported collusion between non-governmental organizations and foreign governments.
This is an attempt to obscure the true damage that is leaving a disastrous environmental impact as a result of agribusiness and deforestation – the former a strong lobby and vociferous support of Bolsonaro’s policies.
Bolsonaro has asserted the existence of “international greed” when it comes to the Amazon.
However, such a statement leaves out the Brazilian government’s complicity in the mentioned greed – it was, after all, a prominent policy of Bolsonaro’s to open up the Amazon for international exploitation.
An example of how, despite the centrality of indigenous peoples to sustainable environments, governments and corporations are doing the utmost to ensure indigenous erasure.
Strategic Culture / ABC Polished Experience Hawk-Eye News 2021.