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The problem of the indigenous lands in Brazil: the social conflict in the Raposa Serra do Sol territory
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For several decades, Brazil has implemented a strange process that seems irreversible, that is not mentioned in in newspapers or media.
Since 1980, have been created so-called "indigenous lands", with the official aim of preserving the ancestral territories of indigenous people, ensuring their cultures, languages and traditions.
When an area is identified as "indigenous", even though the native population is numerically smaller (sometimes 1 to 10), compared to the "non-native" peasants, every "non-native" has to abandon for ever the territory (even if he was born there), and its properties are confiscated after the payment of a minimum compensation. In addition, it is absolutely forbidden the access to any non-indigenous (even natives from other lands), Brazilian or foreigner.
One of the first demarcated territories was the Yanomami land (in Roraima), after the English explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison, made contact with some natives.
Initially, the indigenous Yanomami land was "only" 50,000 square kilometres, but in 1991 it was extended to as many as 94,000 square kilometres. Strangely, were incorporated into the "reserve" areas rich in gold, tin, niobium and radioactive minerals, as was indicated by the Radam-project (Brasil, 1975).
What is also strange is the immensity of the indigenousYanomami land: 94.000 square kilometres (an area of the size of Indiana State), home to just 7,000 natives.
The question is: why 7000 people, who are no longer even nomadic, because they live so close to some of the missions (such as Xitei), do need an area of 94,000 square kilometres?
Over the years, the so-called demarcation of indigenous lands continued: have been created the Xingu, Alto Javari, Alto Rio Negro (the so-called cabeza do cachorro, "dog's head", on the border with Colombia, extended far 106,000 square kilometres), Tumuqumaqué, Kayapo, and many others indigenous areas.
Today the total area of indigenous lands in Brazil amounted to 1.096 million square kilometres, 13% of the whole country.
Some Brazilian journalists have denounced this situation arguing that the indigenous and environmentalist thesis hides a global privatization project of the Brazilian Amazon Basin.
Usually within each indigenous land there is a mission. The natives see the priest as the one who saved them from the "white Brazilians" who wanted to take possession of their lands. As the missionary speaks the language of the tribe chief, has the possibility to influence him.
The result is a scenario where who demarcate these vast lands want to keep them clear of any journalist,who can have the opportunity to check what's going on.
They are creating docile human beings, who do not have external informations, and above all do not know what are the international values of their resources (water, mining, bio-diverse).
Following this logic, the foreigner who is interested in the resources of the indigenous lands can negotiate directly with the cacique (or tribe's chief), who is docile, easily influenced, corruptible, in order to be able to implement, strategic and geo-economic studies, in those areas.
The demarcated territories as "Indigenous lands" are very rich: besides the most valuable asset of the planet, water (billions of tons.), there is gold, tin, platinum, uranium, plutonium, niobium (coltan), silver, copper, molybdenum, tantalum, precious wood, as well as a resource that will become increasingly important in the years to come: the bio-diversity.
Some bio-pirates have infact removed from Brazil and other Amazonian states important active ingredients, useful for the creation of medicines, cosmetics and food.
Until sparsely populated lands have been demarcated, not particular problems have arisen, but in 2005, when Funai (Fundacion Nacional do Indio), has validated the boundary of "Raposa Serra do Sol", located in Roraima State, in extreme north of Brazil, on the border with Guiana and Venezuela, started a strong social conflict.
The area identified as "Raposa Serra do Sol" is 17,430 square kilometers, and only 19,000 indigenous people live there, especially Macuxi, Ingaricos, Patamonas, Taurepangues and Uapixanasetnhic groups.
According to government data, was only from 1900 that non-native (Brazilian settlers), settled in the area and started the production of rice and cattle breeding.
The descendants of the settlers, who argue that the initial occupation started during Portuguese occupation in the eighteenth century, did not accept the government compensations and opposed the expropriation, arguing that it would be possible a peaceful coexistence with the natives, considering the land’s immensity.
According to the farmers, the land used as rice cultivation and cattle breeding do not exceed 2% of the territory, but also contribute to 6% of the economy of the entire Roraima State.
In June 2007 the Supreme Court of Brazil decided that the Raposa Serra do Sol territory must be emptied of all non-natives.
In March 2008, the federal police began the operation called Upatakon III, in order to proceed forced expulsion of peasants from the area, but the non-indigenous population has reacted harshly, not obeying police orders.
In April 2008 the Roraima government has asked the federal government to suspend the order of abandonment of land by non-natives.
The government responded by sending the national security force in support of the federal police, but the results were further tensions with the local population of settlers and farmers.
Up to date, the Raposa Serra do Sol state of tension is continuous, and many non-native speakers have already left their lands forever.
In return, the natives were often relocated to other areas.
What's really going on in the Brazilian Amazon Basin?
According to some journalists is going to be implemented a huge strip of land called "North corridor", where the access of non-indigenous Brazilians is completely prohibited.
The indigenous land "Raposa Serra do Sol", is part of this project almost unknown internationally, which actually reduces the sovereignty of Brazil.
In fact, if nobody can enter in the indigenous lands, because the access is totally denied to ordinary citizens, and if nobody can see what is going on inside those areas, is it not already a loss of sovereignty, that theoretically belongs to the people?
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to see what is happening within the indigenous areas, however, the reports of the access of foreign entities (NGOs), are on the agenda.
It is difficult to detect what are the activities carried out by these NGOs, but many analysts agree that they are conducting studies aimed to the exploitation of strategic minerals (gold, coltan, uranium), and biodiversity. There are some evidences that they are acting for the interest of a few people, and not for all mankind.

Copyright 2012

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© 2008 Yuri Leveratto
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