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The Brazilian far-right president seems determined not to grant "one more centimeter" in territories for Indigenous peoples or biodiversity protection.
On Friday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro urged Congress to approve a bill that enables the exploitation of Indigenous lands considered until now as environmental reserves to reduce his country’s dependence on fertilizers imported from Russia.
“Roraima is the richest state. Now, everything is lost... because local politicians allowed the state to be taken over by Indigenous territories and other areas dedicated to environmental protection that suffocated the Brazilian State. Inadmissible... Since 2020 we have a bill that will allow us to explore these Indigenous lands... we can explore minerals, build hydroelectric plants,” he said during an interview with outlet Folha BV.
According to Bolsonaro, these territories treasure "the entire periodic table of chemical elements" since they are rich in minerals that function as raw materials to produce fertilizers. “We have to take urgent action because Ukraine-Russia armed conflict risks Brazil’s agricultural industry, which depends on barely 80 percent of Russian fertilizers,” he said.
However, according to official data, the Brazilian agricultural sector has reserves of fertilizers until October, so it still does not suffer the impact of the supply problems caused by Ukraine conflict.
Indigenous people in #Brazil are marching against mining on their lands!
The bill, which environmental movements reject for its possible impact on the degraded Amazon basin, will be voted in the Lower House in April. If lawmakers approve its text, the Senate will discuss it in June.
Bolsonaro insisted that this proposal will open spaces to integrate Indigenous brothers into society, as it contemplates the payment of various royalties for the use of their lands.
“With this attitude, the Bolsonaro administration evinces once again its close link with capitalist depravity and extermination of the Indigenous peoples," the Communist Party of Brazil (PCB) said, emphasizing that it will close ranks with the Indigenous peoples in the uncompromising defense of their lands.