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Humanitarian Catastrophe in the Amazon

from the Guardian (on indigenous tribes)

Flight of the Goose goes deeply into this tragic theme, the destruction of lives and culture and ecology of indigenous tribes - not just in the past, it is happening now around the world and the Amazon has some of the worst - here is an excerpt 
DH: You say “humanitarian catastrophe.” Can you elaborate?
FM: I mean the genocides, ethnocides, epistemicides, slavery, forced displacement of social groups, dispossession and the disruption of social systems. This is happening today in different parts of Brazil. From 2003 to 2014 there were 390 Indians killed in Mato Grosso do Sul, mostly Kaiowa Guarani, fundamentally in conflict with ranchers and soya plantations. The Guarani consider this genocide. And to combat falling commodity prices, the government now wants to increase extraction of natural resources such as iron ore and weaken indigenous rights and the rights of nature. The Belo Monte mega-dam alone affects 12 indigenous lands and 21 maroon communities. I’ve seen the recently-contacted Arara coming to Altamira, treated by the consortium building the dam as beggars. One Arara community has been completely dysfunctional for the past 4 years: their land has been invaded, with increasingly high levels of deforestation and illegal logging associated with the pressure of building the mega-dam.
FM: I mean the destruction of environments: almost 20% of Brazil’s Amazon and 45% of the Cerrado - the savannah - are deforested, while the main tributaries of the Amazon from the eastern border of Peru and the Andes have around 150 proposed dams, and from the southern banks of the R. Amazon big rivers such as the Tocantins, Xingu, Madeira, Teles Pires and now the Tapajos have been or are being dammed. Last year there were 40,000 fires in indigenous lands in just one state, Maranhão, while the Xingu Park, surrounded by soya plantations, is burning every year. For the first time in their history, the Kuikuro have witnessed a typhoon on their land.
DH: You’ve touched on some of the major “drivers” of these horrors: logging, ranching, charcoal, iron ore, soya and mega-dams. Any others? Who are some of the most feared operators and who’s financing a lot of it?
FM: Capital expansion is certainly the main driver, but it doesn’t work alone. Local histories of violence, state lack of responsibility to the poor, elite privileges and racism are other ingredients. Recent developmentalism has been pushed by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) playing the role that the World Bank did during the dictatorship, financing huge slaughterhouses and mega-dams. In the most violent region, southern Pará, where Zé Cláudio and Maria were killed, the main driver of blood today is the expansion of iron ore mining by Vale, the S11D project, and its infrastructure, such as the expansion of the Carajás railway.
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