Brazil has a new leader, and he could be the Amazon’s biggest enemy yet. President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to sell off large portions of the rainforest, much of which is owned by Brazil’s indigenous groups, to agribusiness and mining.
In reference to the indigenous territory he plans to steal (which covers 13% of Brazil), Bolsonaro is unsympathetic, stating: “Minorities have to adapt to the majority, or simply disappear.” He also commented that under his administration, “not one square centimeter” of Brazil will be kept safe for indigenous peoples or uncontacted tribes.
Bolsonaro is a huge supporter of the beef industry and according to Return To Now, he plans to staff his administration with members of the “beef caucus,” a group of lawmakers who have historically opposed indigenous land conservation, supported agricultural expansion, and attempted to relax slave labor laws.
Meanwhile, the year has already been a fatal one for land rights activists in the country, with over 20 killed so far this year and 50 killed last year during attempts to protect forests from deforestation, illegal logging, and cattle ranching. Several indigenous rights groups have called it a genocide.
Sources: Return To Now