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“We don’t want to be used as government's propaganda,” Indigenous leader Parana Yanomami said.
Indigenous leaders from the isolated Brazilian Yanomami community complained that a military mission sent to protect them from the coronavirus brought instead a risk of infection to their people through contact with journalists among other outsiders.
Federal prosecutors said they were investigating the visit for ignoring the wishes of Yanomami communities to remain isolated from society, violating rules of social distancing, and distributing chloroquine to Indigenous people.
Earlier this week, soldiers brought medical supplies by helicopter to outposts on the border with Venezuela and assembled Yanomami families to be tested for the new coronavirus, while they were filmed by journalists.
“We don’t want to be used as government's propaganda,” said Indigenous leader Parana Yanomami. “We don’t want outsiders coming here to take photos of our children. The visit took us by surprise.”
The Yanomami, who is the last major tribe to live in relative isolation on a vast reservation about the size of the U.S. state of Indiana, have been invaded for decades by gold miners who have brought diseases fatal to their people.
The Surucucu community head Roberto Yanomami said Jair Bolsonaro's administration organized the trip without consulting Indigenous leaders.