by Robert T. Walker, Aline Carrara, Cynthia Simmons, and Maira Irigaray (University of Florida)
Brazil’s divisive President Jair Bolsonaro has taken another step in his bold plans to develop the Amazon rainforest.
A bill he is sponsoring, now before Congress, would allow transportation infrastructure to be built on indigenous territory. Such lands cover 386,000 square miles of the Brazilian Amazon – one-fifth of the jungle. Here, Native people are constitutionally entitled to exercise sovereignty over resource use.
The right-wing Bolsonaro administration says “opening” the Amazon will boost its economy. But environmentalists, indigenous leaders and other concerned Brazilians say that the move will promote mining, logging and other damaging activities.
As evidence, they cite Bolsonaro’s appointment of a Brazilian general who last year served on the board of the Canadian mining giant Belo Sun to lead Brazil’s federal agency for indigenous peoples.
Our research on social movements in the Amazon takes us to areas affected by infrastructure development. There, we have witnessed the disheartening aftermath for Native people and met the indigenous leaders fighting to save their homelands.[read the full article at: https://theconversation.com/indigenous-people-may-be-the-amazons-last-hope-130941]