Amazon illegal mining on protected indigenous lands is part of a recent renewal in the rampant exploration of the region. The situation is so terrible that Yanomami tribe leaderships appealed to nature spirits to guide the Minister of Planning, Romero Jucá, to resign from office (Fellet, 2016). The reason behind this ritual is goes back to the material world. As a coordinator of an indigenous association describes Jucá, “he is the greatest enemy of indigenous people of Brazil” (Fellet, 2016, par.2).
Romero Jucá relation with native brazilians goes way back in time, with an important episode when he was president of Funai (National Indian Foundation) between 1986 and 1988. His management was considered by a recent official report “the most blatant example of public power support to illegal mining activities” (Fellet, 2016, par.5), which is in the opposite way of Funai institutional mission, “to protect and promote indigenous people rights in Brazil”. It was a period marked by many alerts about the increasing illegal mining on Yanomami territory. Romero Jucá not only did nothing to stop it, but also expelled foreign religious missions and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing health support for the local communities with the justification that these organizations were a threat to national sovereignty (Fellet, 2016).
Going ahead in time, June 2015, the Federal Police denounced the existence of 600 illegal mining professionals, 30 companies, 26 merchants and five public servants involved in gold exploration on Yanomami territory (Fellet, 2016, par.24). Curiously, one important entrepreneur in the gold exploration of the region is Marina Jucá, daughter of Romero Jucá and major stakeholder of the Boa Vista Mining company (Rocha, 2012, Fellet, 2016).
If everything stated above is not shocking enough, in the beginning of this month, July 3th of 2017, one small airplane with three environmental inspectors exploded on takeoff, killing all but one passenger, who managed to jump the plane in the last minute. The planned destination of the airplane was the Yanomami territory in Roraima state. They were called to investigate illegal mining activities in the region (Vecchioli, 2017).
The authors of the cited articles are journalists working for large media outlets, both international, like BBC, and national, like Época magazine and Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. I recommend everyone to read and understand more about what is happening recently to Brazil’s Amazon. Right now the country goes through major political and economical crisis that is already affecting the world’s largest rainforest. It is a relevant subject because the region is not only property of indigenous people but also a shared property of the humanity. It should be everyone’s concern.
Fellet, J. (2016, May 25). Por que ianomâmis fizeram ritual por saída de Jucá. Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/portuguese/brasil-36375984
Rocha, M. (2012, August 31). Por que Romero Jucá defende a exploração de ouro em áreas indígenas. Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://revistaepoca.globo.com/Brasil/noticia/2012/08/por-que-romero-juca-defende-exploracao-de-ouro-em-areas-indigenas.html
Vecchioli, D. (2017, July 3). Queda de avião mata 4 pessoas em Roraima; sobrevivente pulou da aeronave. Retrieved July 24, 2017, from https://noticias.uol.com.br/cotidiano/ultimas-noticias/2017/07/03/queda-de-aviao-mata-4-pessoas-em-roraima-sobrevivente-pulou-da-aeronave.htm
Quem Somos: Funai. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://www.funai.gov.br/index.php/quem-somos