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Facing criticism, government creates working group on indigenous children situation

Damares Alves, the Human Rights Minister, has a history of spreading fake news on the subject

Credit: Anderson Riedel/PR/via Fotos Públicas

3 Apr 21

Facing criticism, government creates working group on indigenous children situation

Responsible for spreading false information about the Brazilian indigenous population, especially on infanticide, Damares Alves, Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights, created a working group, without indigenous participation, “on indigenous children and young people in vulnerable situations”, according to the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. The news was seen with concern by indigenous associations, which fear the use of the initiative as an ideological instrument for the criminalization of the indigenous community and questioned its real purpose.

The organization Atini, of which she is a cofounder, is investigated by the Federal Public Prosecution in lawsuits for moral damage, after associating the Karitiana ethnic group with the practice of infanticide; and for the removal of a teenager from the Sateré-Mawé people alleging humanitarian reasons.

Illegal gold digging rises 30% in Yanomami Indigenous Land during the pandemic

The area destructed is equivalent to 500 soccer fields, study says

Credit: Chico Batata/Greenpeace

25 Mar 21

Illegal gold digging rises 30% in Yanomami Indigenous Land during the pandemic

Weeks after the Federal Public Prosecution issued an order forcing government officials to remove illegal gold diggers from the Yanomami Indigenous Land (TIY), a new study shows that illegal mining grew in the territory during the pandemic. From January to December 2020, gold diggers destroyed five hundred hectares of forest in the indigenous land, a 30% increase over the previous year.

“Scars in the forest: evolution of illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous Land in 2020,” released by the Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY) and Wanasseduume Ye’kwana Association (Seduume), denounces not only the environmental devastationa nd the risk of conflicts with indigenous people promoted by the gold diggers, but also the impact of the activity on the health of the Yanomami, by acting as a vector of malaria and Covid-19 contamination, threatening, above all, isolated peoples.

“To malaria and other infectious diseases was added COVID-19, transmitted directly by gold diggers that continued to walk freely in TIY. 949 cases of the disease were recorded until October 2020, with a strong incidence in the Waikás (26.9% of the population), Kayanau (9.5%)”, says the study.

ICMBio censors public servants with “academic gag law”

Researchers are outraged with the ordinance

Credit: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama/via CC BY-SA 2.0

18 Mar 21

ICMBio censors public servants with “academic gag law”

An ICMBio ordinance signed by the environmental agency’s president, Military Police Colonel Fernando Cesar Lorencini, determines prior censorship of “publication of scientific manuscripts, texts, and compilations” produced within the institute.

Published in the Federal Official Gazette (DOU) on March 12, Ordinance 151/2021, effective as of April 1, also requires a statement in which the researcher assumes “full responsibility” for the work.

Listened to by Folha de São Paulo, the National Association of Servers in the Environment Specialist Career (Ascema) is studying measures against the decision. “It is an attempt to control not only the academic production but also the opinion of the public servants,” said Denis Rivas, president of the group. The website O Eco informed that the Forum of Zoological Societies, composed of 14 societies and research associations, published an open letter calling for the revocation of the ordinance.

Censorship against environmental agencies subordinated to the Ministry of Environment (MMA) is a recurring practice of the Bolsonaro government. In March 2019, Minister Ricardo Salles determined the restriction of access of servers to the press, centralizing the demands in the MMA’s Communication Office. In the case of ICMBio, the “gag law”, as it was called by critics, was extended to social networks, with the request for the interruption of the body’s Twitter profile, now inactive. In July of the following year, the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU) published a technical note defending that the disclosure by federal employees “of opinions about conflicts or internal affairs, or of critical manifestations to the body to which they belong” on social networks are conducts that are subject to “disciplinary investigation”.

Court orders the removal of illegal gold diggers in Yanomami Indigenous Land under R$ 1 million per day fine

Decision criticizes federal government’s omission

Credit: Chico Batata/Greenpeace

17 Mar 21

Court orders the removal of illegal gold diggers in Yanomami Indigenous Land under R$ 1 million per day fine

The 2nd Federal Court of Roraima, at the request of the Federal Public Prosecution Office, ordered the federal government to present a plan for the removal of illegal gold diggers from the Yanomami Indigenous Land within 10 days under penalty of a daily fine of R$ 1 million reais. The judge reinforced the omission of the government.

In addition to the trail of rights violations left by illegal mining, in the context of the pandemic, the Yanomamis have been denouncing the invasion of miners since last year as a serious vector of Covid-19 transmission. The arrival of these criminals has led to an explosion in the number of cases of the disease among the population, including the deaths of babies.

In under a month, two Tembé indigenous are murdered in the state of Pará

Leaders denounce rise in crimes against indigenous peoples

Credit: Archive/Tembé People

3 Mar 21

In under a month, two Tembé indigenous are murdered in the state of Pará

After the murder of Isak Tembé during a military police action on February 13, another indigenous of the Tembé ethnic group was killed in Capitão Poço, in the northwest of Pará. Didi Tembé, as Benedito de Carvalho was known, was executed on his motorcycle with a shot to the head while trying to flee from a shootout.

According to a report by Brasil de Fato, out of fear, the indigenous people of the region preferred not to comment on the death. Listened to by the newspaper, Puyr Tembé, vice president of the Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Pará, points to the increase in crimes against indigenous and traditional peoples. “Some strange things are happening in Capitão Poço. It’s not only in Capitão Poço, but the whole of Brazil is going through a very difficult process of criminalization of leaders, of social segments, not only the indigenous. This has been very much in evidence inside the territories”, he said. 

Supreme Court vetoes bill that authorizes gold digging without environmental impact studies

State senate had approved the bill with urgency

Credit: Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado/via CC BY 2.0

20 Feb 21

Supreme Court vetoes bill that authorizes gold digging without environmental impact studies

Justice Alexandre de Moraes of the Supreme Court (STF) ordered the suspension of Law 1.453/2021, which authorizes mining activity in the state of Roraima with the use of mercury and without an environmental impact assessment. After being approved by the state senate in January, the governor ratified the bill shortly after, on February 8.

Moraes’ decision decided after an lawsuit filed by the party Rede Sustentabilidade (ADI 6672), which denounces the unconstitutionality of the measure, as it contradicts the federal law, which allows simplified licensing only for low-impact activities, and violates the fundamental right to an ecologically balanced environment (Article 225). The party also mentioned the manifestation of dozens of indigenous organizations against the project, including the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CRI), which has protested against the measure since its presentation.

Justice Fachin issues vote against eviction of quilombola communities during the pandemic

Brazil doesn’t have so far a specific plan for the protection of Afro-brazilian traditional communities

Credit: Walisson Braga/via CPT

18 Feb 21

Justice Fachin issues vote against eviction of quilombola communities during the pandemic

In a suit by the National Coordination of Articulation of Rural Black Quilombola [Afro-Brazilian traditional communities] (Conaq) in the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Justice Edson Fachin diverged from the rapporteur of the case, Justice Marco Aurélio, and voted for the suspension of eviction actions against traditional communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Filed in September 2020, jointly with the PSB, PSOL, PCdoB, REDE and PT parties, the Argument of Noncompliance with a Fundamental Precept (ADPF) 742/2020 requires the Union to create and implement a national plan to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in quilombola communities. The requested deadline was 30 days, however nothing has been done until now. “After almost a year of the pandemic (…), the State still has not prepared unified measures to prevent families, especially from vulnerable groups such as quilombolas, from being expelled from their territories during the serious epidemiological crisis that the country is going through,” says a note from the Pastoral Land Commission on Fachin’s decision.

Illegal gold digging pollutes waterfalls and rivers in Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Lands

Sete Quedas waterfall waters polluted with mining waste

Credit: @karibuxi/ Reproduction/Twitter

9 Feb 21

Illegal gold digging pollutes waterfalls and rivers in Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Lands

Indigenous peoples of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land continue to struggle in defense of their territory, which suffers from the advance of illegal gold digging. As reported by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, pictures taken in January show the critical state of the Sete Quedas and Urucá waterfalls, near the municipality of Uiramutã, polluted by mining waste.

The land is close to the Army’s 6th Border Platoon and, despite Operation Verde Brasil 2, which assigned the military to combat environmental crimes, the violators remain unpunished. “We have already denounced them, we called for an assembly, we made documents, maps, we delivered photographs, but so far nothing”, declared to the newspaper the vice-coordinator of the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR), Edinho Batista de Souza.

As an aggravating factor, the leadership cites President Jair Bolsonaro’s declared incentive to mining on indigenous lands – as in the case of Bill 191/2020, which is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives – and Bill 201/2020, of the Roraima government, which authorizes mining activity in the state “without prior study”.

Ibama caves in to pressure from Belo Monte dam and goes back to liberating minimum flow to the Xingu River

Order to increase the flow tried to mitigate socio-environmental impacts

Credit: Federal Government/PAC/via O eco

8 Feb 21

Ibama caves in to pressure from Belo Monte dam and goes back to liberating minimum flow to the Xingu River

After a power struggle between shareholders of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and environmental agency Ibama, Norte Energia, the concessionaire responsible for the project, may once again release a lower volume of water from its reservoir for the stretch known as Volta Grande do Xingu, in Pará state, according to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. Under pressure, the regulating agency did not maintain the decision, in force until February 10th, which made the hydroelectric plant provisionally increase the amount of water destined to the Xingu River, aiming at mitigating the environmental impacts on the riverside populations caused by the dam.

The difference between the new flow agreed upon and the one previously demanded by Ibama is big: in March, the plant will make 4,000 cubic meters per second; the authorities were asking for 14,200 m³/s. The reason is the already notorious information that “there are no conditions to maintain life in the river”, as the article says, with the adoption of the measures defended by Norte Energia.

Norte Energia signed an Environmental Commitment Term, in which the company commits to implement 15 new measures of environmental compensation, inspection and support to the local population – an investment of R$ 157.5 million reais over three years. The text also requires the concessionaire to present, until December 31, 2021, complementary studies on the river’s flow and environmental quality.

After the news, the Federal Public Prosecution (MPF) of Pará requested Ibama to provide technical data to support what it qualified as a “sudden change” in the flow of the plant. According to a note from the MPF, the agency wants answers about “the technical choice for adopting mitigation measures instead of adopting measures to prevent impacts, such as those already adopted by Ibama, with the definition of higher average flows”.

Fired by Bolsonaro, former space research director receives award for scientific responsibility

After his exoneration, Ricardo Galvão was nominated as one of the top 10 scientists in the world

Credit: SEESP/via

8 Feb 21

Fired by Bolsonaro, former space research director receives award for scientific responsibility

Ricardo Galvão, former director of Inpe (National Institute for Space Research), exonerated by Bolsonaro in 2019 after reacting to the president’s criticism of the institute’s data indicating increased deforestation, won the international award for Responsibility and Scientific Freedom 2021 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The award “honors scientists who have demonstrated scientific freedom and responsibility in particularly challenging circumstances, sometimes at risk to their professional or physical safety,” says the AAAS website. According to Jessica Wyndham, director of the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, the physicist “acted to protect the well-being of the Brazilian people and the immense natural wonder that is the Amazon rainforest, a world heritage site.”

NGO launches multimedia feature about violence against landless workers, indigenous people and environmentalists

Survey by Repórter Brasil gathers data from the first year of Bolsonaro’s administration

Credit: Daniel Beltrá/Greenpeace

30 Jan 21

NGO launches multimedia feature about violence against landless workers, indigenous people and environmentalists

The multimedia feature “Cova Medida” [Measured Graves], developed by Repórter Brasil, after a report by the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), provides an overview of the violence against landless workers, indigenous and environmental activists in 2019. The survey portrays the 31 murders recorded in the first year of the Bolsonaro adminstration, marked by the struggle for agrarian justice and the impunity of their authors.

Territorial dispute (39%) and defense of indigenous territories (29%) are among the primary motivations for the crimes. There’s also reports of casulaties related to the defense of the environment, labor issues, denunciation of illegalities and even hate crimes. The victims are mostly men (93%), inhabitants of the Legal Amazon (87%), linked to the landless movements (35%) or indigenous people who died defending their land (25%).

After one year of deaths, 61% of investigations are in a halt, and there are no convictions, says the NGO.

According to CPT, there was a 23% increase in the number of conflicts in the field between 2018 and 2019. According to Repórter Brasil, the former Environment Minister, Marina Silva, points out the conniving posture of the president. “The assassins felt that they have a license to kill. They listen to the government’s speech against indigenous people, environmentalists, extractivists and feel right at home, while the victims are helpless and unprotected,” she said.

The increase coincides with the paralysis of the demarcation of indigenous lands – a “promise” made during the elections and which has been fulfilled – and the agrarian reform in Brazil by Jair Bolsonaro. For 2021, the budget of INCRA – the agency responsible for agrarian reform policy – has been reduced by 90%.

Covid-19: Indigenous and quilombola communities face government neglect regarding vaccination plan

These populations are victim of institutional racism and disinformation tactics

Credit: Ana Mendes/Cimi

29 Jan 21

Covid-19: Indigenous and quilombola communities face government neglect regarding vaccination plan

Victims of federal government neglect, indigenous and quilombolas [Afro-brazilian traditional communities] organizations have pointed out serious flaws in the vaccination plan against Covid-19 executed by the Ministry of Health (MS), which began on January 20.

Regarding the indigenous population, the ministry announced that only “indigenous who live in villages” are among the priority groups contemplated in the first phase of vaccination. The Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi), said that the criteria shows institutional racism by defining as indigenous only “people who live in villages of homologated indigenous lands,” ignoring people from urban contexts, which add up to almost half – 46%, according to data from the 2010 Census – of the country’s indigenous population. “The term used by the Minister of Health, ‘indigenous villagers’, takes us back to the period of the military dictatorship that represents discrimination, where the government intends to define arbitrarily who is and who is not indigenous […]. The National Vaccination Plan, therefore, needs to recognize the extension of this priority group and reach it in its entirety,” declared Roque Paloschi, president of Cimi, in a note released by the organization. In addition to racist typification, the indigenous population also fights against misinformation and fake news regarding immunization, stimulated by the firing of messages via Whatsapp and negationist discourses by evangelical pastors.

The quilombolas, on the other hand, which had previously been included in the groups contemplated in the first phase, do not have a stipulated date to receive the vaccines. Under the pretense that there are not enough doses to vaccinate the entire contingent of priority publics, the Ministry of Health declared that “there was a need for a replanning within the priorities initially listed” leaving the quilombola population unassisted. The coordinator of the Chamber of Indigenous Populations and Traditional Communities of the Federal Public Prosecuttion (6CCR/MPF), Eliana Torelly, sent a letter to the Ministry of Health requesting a position on the change, in which she points out that the decision was reflected in the state plans, leaving quilombolas at the mercy of conflicting and inaccurate information.

Nine Yanomami children die with Covid-19 compatible symptoms

An Yanomami receives medical attention on July 2020

Credit: Agência Saúde via Amazônia real

29 Jan 21

Nine Yanomami children die with Covid-19 compatible symptoms

In January alone, nine Yanomami children in Roraima died of high fever and respiratory difficulty, symptoms compatible with Covid-19. On December 26, the Yanomami and Ye’Kuana District Council (Condisi-YY) had requested medical teams for the communities. Health posts in the region have been closed for two months.

“So far we have no response. The Waphuta and Kataroa communities are without health care. I received information from the leaders of these communities and they said that they still have many sick people. A group of 25 children are having the same symptoms and are in a grave condition. This is very serious,” Condisi-YY president Junior Hekuari Yanomami told the website Amazônia Real.

A survey by the Pro-YY Network indicates that the Yanomami Indigenous Territory had so far had 1641 confirmed cases and 16 deaths, in addition to 14 suspects. The first indigenous victim of Covid-19 in Brazil was a fifteen-year-old Yanomami teenager.

Covid-19: Amazon states health crisis deepens with new virus strain

Brazil’s northern region has close to one million people infected by Covid since the begining of the pandemic

Credit: Juliana Pesqueira/Amazônia Real

28 Jan 21

Covid-19: Amazon states health crisis deepens with new virus strain

Amid the significant increase of Covid-19 cases in Amazonas state, attributed in part to the new strain of the coronavirus, other states in the northern region are on alert. According to the newspaper Metrópole, the states of Rondônia, Tocantins and Roraima also no longer have available ICU beds for patients infected with the virus, while Acre, Pará and Amapá register a worrisome occupation rate, above 70%. Together, the region’s states accounted for 998,590 infected people and 21,373 dead from the disease until January 27.

Manaus is still the most affected city, after the outbreak of the lack of oxygen crisis in the city, on the 14th. Until January 26, health authorities transferred 302 patients from Manaus to other states. According to the Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, they expect the number to reach 1,500.

Orowao Pandran, Canoé youth leader, dies from Covid-19 related complications

Indigenous organizations blame systemic state neglect

Credit: Apib

28 Jan 21

Orowao Pandran, Canoé youth leader, dies from Covid-19 related complications

Orowao Pandran Canoé Oro Mon, of the Canoé indigenous people, died, after being infected with COVID-19 and suffering from kidney complications, in the city of Porto Velho, capital of Rondônia. Graduated in Environmental Management and studying for a Master’s degree in Literature, the young indigenous was considered a leader. Indigenous organizations, such as the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), affirmed that Orowao’s death happened “due to negligence of the Brazilian State”.

“Pandran was a great example for the indigenous movement, especially for the youth. In his academic career, he has always been active in the student’s movement, supporting the organization and struggle of students, especially indigenous people,” said the entity in an official statement.

Pau d’Arco massacre: four years after police killed 10 rural workers, victims lawyer is arrested and key witness is murdered

The Justice system has yet to punish the murderers

Credit: CPT/Reproduction/via Revista Forum

28 Jan 21

Pau d’Arco massacre: four years after police killed 10 rural workers, victims lawyer is arrested and key witness is murdered

José Vargas Sobrinho Junior, human rights defender and lawyer for the survivors of the Pau d’Arco Massacre – a civil and military police action that killed ten landless workers in 2017 in Pará state – was arrested on the first day of the year, in the city of Redenção, points out a report by the NGO Repórter Brasil. The imprisonment happened because of an “extremely fragile” accusation, his lawyer says, and it was related to the disappearance of Cícero José Rodrigues de Souza, a politician. Vargas was released on January 25, but remains under house arrest.

The day after Vargas’ release, Fernando Santos do Araújo, considered a key-witness to the massacre, was executed in his home in the Jane Júlia settlement in the municipality of Pau D’arco. In a public letter, the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), together with several organizations, points that his killing is an attack on all who fight for the right to land. “Fernando died. The shot that victimized him also made other victims. It hit all of us who fight for the right to land in Pará, the Amazon and in the country. His death forces us to ask: Who killed Fernando? Who had Fernando killed?”, says the text.

The civil and military police officers accused of the murder of the ten rural workers of the Pau d’Arco Massacre are still at free and on the streets while they wait for the trial.

Former Environment Ministers ask european countries aid to mitigate health collapse on the Amazon

Former ministers demand protection of “forest guardians”

Credit: Marcio James/Amazônia Real

27 Jan 21

Former Environment Ministers ask european countries aid to mitigate health collapse on the Amazon

Nine former Environment Ministers sent, on 26th, a letter to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and to the prime ministers of Germany, Angela Merkel, and Norway, Erna Solber, asking for “solidarity and collaboration” for the “solution of the Amazonian problems”. Signed by Izabella Teixeira, Marina Silva, Carlos Minc, Edson Duarte, José Sarney Filho, José Goldemberg, Rubens Ricupero, Gustavo Krause and José Carlos Carvalho, the document addresses the high rates of deforestation and burning registered in the Amazon in 2020 – which aggravated the respiratory problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – in addition to mentioning the imminent collapse of the region’s health system, which had its peak with the lack of oxygen in hospitals in Manaus, capital of Amazonas.

By presenting the Amazon as “especially vulnerable to the pandemic due to isolation, poverty, precarious health structure, and difficult access”, the former ministers appealed for help to the local population through the donation of oxygen cylinders, stretchers, oximeters, medical oxygen production plants, among other equipment. “Knowing closely the reality of the Amazon, the signatories of this letter, former ministers of the environment of Brazil, know from experience that neither the federal government nor the local governments have all the indispensable means to help the most fragile and vulnerable populations of the region”, says the text.

Recently, the French president threatened to suspend the import of Brazilian soy. Germany and Norway, major donors to the Amazon Fund, announced that they will only resume investments if Brazil shows effective efforts to fight deforestation in the region.

The request for help from former ministers to European leaders happened on the eve of Hamilton Mourão’s declaration at the World Economic Forum, in which he criticized the low “international financial and technical cooperation” for the protection of the Amazon, according to a story by Jamil Chad for UOL. At the meeting, Mourão announced that Brazil has resumed negotiations with Germany and Norway to send resources to the country.

IACHR says that Bolsonaro’s actions to curb Covid-19 spread among indigenous peoples was insufficient

OAS body recommends measures to protect the integrity of life in indigenous communities

Credit: Sesai/via CC BY-SA 2.0

14 Jan 21

IACHR says that Bolsonaro’s actions to curb Covid-19 spread among indigenous peoples was insufficient

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), has decided favourably to a Guajajara and Awá peoples of the Araribóia Indigenous Territory denouncement against Bolsonaro government. The decision pointed to the negligence by the government in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and recommended precautionary measures. Failures in health care and the presence of invaders in their territory were some points presented by the indigenous people in December last year.

As already denounced by other communities, the complaint mentions the Special Indigenous Health District (DESEI) in Maranhão State as the epicenter of positive cases of the disease among the indigenous of the region, at the beginning of July last year. Based on the analysis of the data presented – such as the fact that 8% of the population of TI Araribóia had been diagnosed with Covid-19 by August 2020 – and the lack of information from the Brazilian state on the implementation and effectiveness of plans to combat the disease among the indigenous population, the commission understood that “there were no elements indicating that the actions of the state have been sufficient and effective in protecting the indigenous peoples who live in the Indigenous Land Araribóia”.

Faced with this finding, the IACHR asked Brazil to adopt measures to protect the rights “to health, life, and personal integrity” of the Guajajara and Awá of Araribóia, which includes adequate medical assistance and preventive actions against the spread of the disease.

In protest, Ibama’s public servants resign after termination of technical leader

Eduardo Bim, Ibama’s president

Credit: Handout/Ibama

14 Jan 21

In protest, Ibama’s public servants resign after termination of technical leader

After the announcement of the termination of Halisson Peixoto Barreto, national coordinator of the environmental agency Ibama’s sanctions process, the heads of the sections commanded by the Barreto resigned from their positions in protest. Barreto’s departure was a request from Wagner Tadeu Matiota, a Military Police colonel, and the new superintendent of environmental infractions at Ibama (Siam), who took office in December 2020. With the request for collective resignation, all the work in analysis, conciliation and application of sanctions of the agency was paralyzed, points out the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

Since 2013, Barreto had been in charge of a team of approximately 300 employees, responsible for processing environmental fines. According to the specialized portal O Eco, officials of the superintendency of Rio Grande do Sul sent a letter rejecting the decision to Ibama’s president, Eduardo Bim. “The exoneration takes place in the midst of a critical moment for the administration, precisely in the area of the sanctioning process. It is worth mentioning here that Mr. Halisson has worked exhaustively in the construction and implementation of the whole environmental fines process”, says the text. Bim said he was unable to overturn the decision.

For Suely Araújo, former president of Ibama and senior specialist in public policies of the Climate Observatory, the departure of the technical leader is another episode of the systematic dismantling of Ibama provoked by the current government. “The leadership is removed, the team is demotivated, public policies are weakened. They get what they want: the weakening of the agency that ‘bothered’ them the most,” she declared to Folha.

Government spent only half of allocated budget to fight Covid-19 among indigenous, says NGO

Study claims that there is a “genocide in course”

Credit: Ingrid Ãgohó Pataxó/ Cimi

14 Dec 20

Government spent only half of allocated budget to fight Covid-19 among indigenous, says NGO

The National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the federal agency responsible for ensuring the rights of the indigenous peoples, spent only half of the resources available for fighting the coronavirus among the indigenous until early December. The figure comes from an unprecedented survey by the Institute of Socio-economic Studies (Inesc). Also, the government program “Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, also had only 46% of its budget applied in the period. “The low budget usage rate is emblematic of the undermining of the indigenous policies, which, deprived of staff, technical staff and political priority, fails in fulfilling its constitutional duties”, points out Leila Saraiva, political advisor to the NGO.

The data reinforce the claim made by the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Network (Apib) with the report “Our fight is for life”, which details the impact of the pandemic among the indigenous population. By December 9, the National Committee for Indigenous Life and Memory registered 41,250 indigenous people infected and 889 deaths because of Covid-19.

Human Rights ministry pressures indigenous to concede part of their territory to land grabbers in the Amazon

Indigenous state that they were held for three days in a farm

Credit: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

30 Nov 20

Human Rights ministry pressures indigenous to concede part of their territory to land grabbers in the Amazon

A group of Parakanã indigenous is accusing the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights (MMFDH), led by Damares Alves, of arbitrating and participating in a meeting with farmers in order to pressure chiefs to accept a proposal that includes the reduction of the Apyterewa Indigenous Territory, located between the municipalities of São Félix do Xingu and Altamira, Pará State, in the Amazon. In a letter of denouncement and protest, to which the newspaper O Globo had access, leaders reported that the meeting came as a surprise. They were told that they would discuss the invasion of land grabbers on indigenous lands. The meeting, with representatives of the ministry of Damares and farmers, was held on an irregular rural property located inside the indigenous land. In a statement to the Federal Public Prosecution (MPF), an indigenous person that attended the meeting reported that the indigenous people were detained for three days inside the property, without outside contact, being threatened by the landowners to agree to their requests to redefine the demarcation of the territory.

The letter points out the active participation of the federal government as a threatening agent and also says that the proposition to reduce the territory is unconstitutional. “[It was] Another trick of the Federal Government, allied with the invaders and the City Hall of São Félix, to cause internal division and confuse the leaders of the Parakanã people, with the eternal promise that the reduction of territory will resolve conflicts and bring peace to the Parakanã people,” says the text.

In a note sent to the newspaper, the MMFDH denies that they tried to force a treaty that would alter the Apyterewa Indigenous Territory”.

Covid-19: virus advances among Yanomami and threatens isolated indigenous groups

Gold diggers are the main vector of transmission

Credit: Chico Batata /Greenpeace

16 Nov 20

Covid-19: virus advances among Yanomami and threatens isolated indigenous groups

In June, the Instituto Socioambiental [Socio-Environmental Institute – ISA] published a study that warned about the high risk of contagion of the Yanomami population because of the invasion of illegal gold diggers in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory (TIY), between the states of Roraima and Amazonas. Five months later, the health condition of the region reveals an announced tragedy, points out the report “Xawara: traces of Covid-19 in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory and the omission of the State”. According to the new survey, prepared by the Pro-Yanomami and Ye’kwana Network and the TIY Leadership Forum, more than a third of the region’s indigenous people have already been exposed to the virus, with an increase of more than 250% in confirmed cases in the last three months – from 335 to 1,202 between August and October 2020. According to the study, contamination has already reached 23 of the 37 indigenous land regions, including isolated groups most vulnerable to the disease. The monitoring platform “Isolated Indigenous Peoples Covid-19 Alert”, of the Observatory of Human Rights of Isolated Indigenous Peoples and Recent Contact (Opi), also points to the high vulnerability of indigenous peoples isolated in TIY – in the Serra da Estrutura region – based on an analysis that crosses factors such as the number of confirmed cases, of deaths and the existence or not of a contingency plan for the region in question.

The government has been neglecting the request to withdraw illegal miners from the TIY, who act as a vector for contamination among the indigenous people, since the beginning of the pandemic. “We want to file this document with the Brazilian authorities. It is an instrument to denounce the problems of the gold diggers invasion, the contamination of the environment like our rivers, and also about the diseases, this xawara [epidemic], which has been killing many people,” said Dario Kopenawa Yanomami, vice president of the Hutukara Yanomami Association, one of the organizations behind the #ForaGarimpoForaCovid [Out with Gold diggin, out with Covid] campaign, which aims to expel gold diggers from Yanomami territory.

The report also denounces the lack of preventive strategies to contain the advance of contamination by the Yanomami Special Indigenous Health District (DESEI-Y), such as the use of more precise tests for the identification of the virus and the “statistical erasure of its dead in the pandemic,” marked by the underreporting of cases of those affected by the disease.

As another example of the mobilization of indigenous groups in an attempt to draw public attention to the violation of their lands, the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Network (Apib), has also published a recent study containing a series of complaints about companies associated with the systematic devastation of indigenous territories, the “Complicity in destruction III: how global corporations contribute to violations of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon”. The document “reveals how a network formed by large international funding institutions is linked to the production and export of commodities involved in conflicts in Indigenous Lands, deforestation, shackling and weakening of environmental protections” says the text. Among the eleven companies mentioned are the mining companies Vale, Anglo American, Belo Sun, Potash of Brazil; the agribusiness sector, the companies Cargill, JBS, Cosan / Raízen; and in the energy sector, the companies Energisa Mato Grosso, Good Future Energy, Equatorial Energy Maranhão and Eletronorte. 

Indigenous health: Covid-19 menace increases with environmental destruction

Deforestation helps the virus spread: a tragic combination for local populations

Credit: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama/via CC BY-SA 2.0

10 Nov 20

Indigenous health: Covid-19 menace increases with environmental destruction

Since March, studies and surveys by researchers and civil society organizations have been issuing warnings about the extreme vulnerability of the indigenous population when facing the Covid-19 pandemic. The environmental devastation promoted by the burning and deforestation, which reached record levels in 2020, is pointed out as a significant risk factor for indigenous health, by increasing the risk of contagion and bringing territorial instability.

Reporter Brasil brought to the public an unprecedented survey of the NGO Global Forest Watch that points to the devastation promoted by more than 115 thousand outbreaks of fire in several Indigenous Lands since the beginning of the year until October 29. According to the report, out of the more than 724 TIs contemplated by the report, in several states, 61% registered fires. Local leaders and experts point out the lack of structure to fight the fires – used by farmers to clean the pasture – and denounce the abandonment of the National Indian Foundation (Funai). Indigenous Land Parque do Xingu, in Mato Grosso State, is among the most affected in 2020, with 10,502 outbreaks of fire. “Our reality is not good at all. We’ve lost many leaders, our people are dying [from Covid-19] and, to make matters worse, our house, which is our pharmacy and our supermarket, is on fire,” reported Watatakalu Yawalapiti, the region’s leader, who is home to 16 ethnic groups in 500 villages.

Although the fire from the fires does not directly affect the communities, its impact on health will be felt, points out the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. The research “Covid-19 and burning in the Legal Amazon and Pantanal: cumulative aspects and vulnerabilities,” released by the Deutsche Welle on November 12, warns about how the coexistence of the increase in burning and the presence of Covid-19 can further aggravate the health situation of the indigenous peoples. “The large occurrence of burnings, which has reached record numbers in 2020, combined with low humidity in the Amazon region and Pantanal, may worsen the impact of the epidemic of Covid-19. The particulate material and toxic gases generated by the burning of biomass reach long distances, and can affect large cities in the North and Midwest regions, as well as river-dwellers populations, quilombos and indigenous lands hundreds of kilometers away from the sources of fire. The particulate material has a great inflammatory potential, which can aggravate the cases of Covid-19, being also a gateway for respiratory infections,” says the technical note of the study. The document highlights that one of the priority areas for strengthening the health system and control of fires is precisely that of the “arc of deforestation,” especially in northern Mato Grosso State, where TI Parque do Xingu (MT) is located, and in the southeast of Pará State.

Alongside with the fires, deforestation on indigenous lands, caused by gold diggers, miners, and illegal loggers, grows exponentially, increasing the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the villages, points out another study, prepared by the Instituto Socioambiental [Socio-environmental Institute] (ISA) and released in September. According to the organization, in the Trincheira-Bacajá, Kayapó and Munduruku indigenous lands, in southwest Pará, deforestation increased, respectively, 827%, 420% and 238%, between March and July 2020. The regions are among the seven most invaded lands in the Legal Amazon, together with the Karipuna and Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau (Rondônia State), Araribóia (Maranhão State) and Yanomami (Amazonas and Roraima States). As a response, the cases of the diseases shoot up in the territories, says ISA.

In the most recent survey made by the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) about the impact of Covid-19 among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, until November 9, 28,241 confirmed cases of the disease were registered, 643 suspects and 695 deaths, in 133 peoples.

Bolsonaro administration wants to control NGOs in the Amazon

NGOs have been attacked by Bolsonaro since his campaign

Credit: Ana_Cotta/via CC BY 2.0

9 Nov 20

Bolsonaro administration wants to control NGOs in the Amazon

The Amazon Council plans, through a regulatory framework, to have full control over the activities of non-governmental organizations in the Amazon by 2022. The proposal aims not only to control the work of NGOs, but also to limit the actions of those that violate “national interests”, according to documents obtained by the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo. The text, however, does not specify what would be the criteria to be fulfilled by the organisations and what are such interests.

The organizations heard in the report criticized the proposal, and pointed out in the initiative the lack of social participation and authoritarianism that mark the environmental policy of the Bolsonaro administration. “They don’t want to go through the people’s scrutiny and intend to impose themselves without dialogue with the society,” said Ariana Ramos, coordinator of the Instituto Socioambiental [Socio-environmental Institute] (ISA), an organization that has been working since 1994 to defend the environment and indigenous rights.

For the Climate Observatory (OC), the measure is unconstitutional and is part of the “insistent and repugnant campaign of defamation of NGOs by government agents”. In a note, the OC warned about the existence of a device that already has the function of regulating the work of the institutions – the Regulatory Framework of Civil Society Organizations (MROSC), via Law 13.019/2014 – and recalled the attempts of coercion against NGOs by the government of Bolsonaro. “The attacks and persecutions of Bolsonaro’s administration against civil society are a regrettable constant in its political action. Initiatives aiming to control the NGOs have been previously presented by the Executive Power and rejected by the Brazilian Parliament – as in the case of the Provisional Measure (MP) 870/2019. Also in December 2019, agents of the National Intelligence Agency (Abin) went to the Climate Summit (COP25) to monitor (spy) Brazilian NGOs present there”.

The vice-president Hamilton Mourão, who is in charge of the Council, said he didn’t know the proposal, although he signed a memorandum calling servers to discuss the group’s guidelines, including the NGOs control.

The new initiative of the Amazon Council comes to public two months after General Augusto Heleno, chief minister of the government’s Institutional Security Office, publicly attacked, under the pretext of “the crime against the homeland,” one of the most respected Brazilian indigenous organizations, the Indigenous Peoples Network (APIB). Heleno accused the APIB of “publishing fake news against Brazil; imputing environmental crimes to the President of the Republic; and supporting international campaigns to boycott Brazilian products”. In response, the organization stated “that the greatest crime that damages our homeland is the government’s omission in the face of the destruction of our biomes, protected areas, illegal burning, shackling, deforestation and invasion of our lands and the theft of our wealth”.

Covid-19: Amado Menezes Filho, leader of the Sateré-Mawé people, dies at age 65

Amado fought for Covid-19 protection for the indigenous peoples

Crédito: Danilo Mello/Foto Amazonas/Amazônia Real

16 Oct 20

Covid-19: Amado Menezes Filho, leader of the Sateré-Mawé people, dies at age 65

The Tuxaua Geral (general-chief) of the village Sateré-Mawé, Amado Menezes Filho, died due to Covid-19 complications, at age 65, at the Jofre Cohen Hospital, in Paratins, Amazonas State. He was admitted at the hospital on September 23. 

During the pandemic, Menezes Filho fought actively to stop Covid-19 spread among indigenous populations. He demanded the maintenance of a sanitary barrier installed at Maraú River, which leads to the Indigenous Land Andirá Marau, home to the Sateré-Mawé. The Parintins Special Indigenous Sanitary District (DESEI) removed the barrier on May 31. On June 2nd, the Tuxaua Geral and many other leaders from Sateré-Mawé General Council, filed a note to repudiate the decision and denounce the removal of the barrier.

The absence of the barrier led to a rise of coronavirus cases among the indigenous. It rose from 30 and one death to 164 and 5 deaths, according to the Observatory of Indigenous Rights and Policies (OBIND).

Entities, newspapers and social movements recognized Amado Menezes Filho as an historical leader in the struggle for indigenous peoples rights, for land demarcation, health and education.

Salles and federal attorney general act to intimidate environmentalist

NGOs say that attacks against Marcio Astrini are anti-democratic

Carolina Antunes/PR/via CC BY 2.0

14 Oct 20

Salles and federal attorney general act to intimidate environmentalist

The minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, in yet another attack against the work of NGOs and environmentalists, requested the Attorney General’s Office (AGU) to summon Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, to present explanations about statements given to the newspaper O Globo on May 25th. In the article, which echoed Salles’ suggestion of taking advantage of the pandemic to further deregulate environmental norms, Astrini criticized what he called “an environmental destruction task force”, led by the minister, and drew attention to its attempt to work with AGU to “avoid legal problems”.

The environmentalist, in addition to his work at the Climate Observatory – which gathers 50 organizations, such as the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) and the World Wide Fund for Nature – Brazil (WWF-Brazil) -, worked for 13 years at Greenpeace.

According to the G1 portal, the AGU claims that the judicial interpellation is justified by Astrini having committed a “crime against honor”, since “‘Besides attacking the person of the Minister of State for the Environment, it also affects the institution of the Attorney General”.

In a statement, the Climate Observatory repudiated the attempt to intimidate Astrini and criticized the minister’s anti-democratic stance. “While Salles seeks to use the state apparatus to hide his anti-environmental policy, the forest burns, transparency decreases, the democratic space shortens and Brazil’s image disintegrates internationally. His performance only shows that, as a minister, he is not willing to take any kind of effective action for the protection of the Amazon and other biomes, and that is not up to the position it holds “, says the text.

Crisis at Ministry of the Environment deepens with accusations from workers and militarization of key positions

The dismantling of the Ministry is being denounced since Salles took office

Crédito: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

22 Sep 20

Crisis at Ministry of the Environment deepens with accusations from workers and militarization of key positions

On September 4,  Ascema, the National Association of Environmental Public Servants presented a dossier called “Chronology of a disaster in waiting: Bolsonaro’s government action to dismantle environmental policies in Brazil”. The document details the dismantling of the governance structure of the Ministry of the Environment and its agencies Ibama and ICMBio since 2018, and it was sent by Ascema to the National Congress, to the UN and to NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.  

Even under growing pressure, the Minister of the Environment announced fresh changes to the structure of the ministry. On the 21st,  the minister replaced the head of the Biodiversity Secretary and nominated a former agribusiness lobbyist to run the recently created Secretary of the Amazon and Environmental Services

On the 22nd, minister Ricardo Salles confirmed the nomination of Military Police Colonel Fernando Cesar Lorencini as the new president for ICMBio. He has occupied the position provisionally since August; his nomination was published in the Official Diary of the Union signed by Minister Braga Netto, president’s Bolsonaro Chief of Staff.  Besides the military ranking at the head of a biodiversity agency, colonel Lorencini’s nomination drew attention because he was part of the police squad involved in the massacre of the Carandiru Public Prison in 1992 in São Paulo, when the police raid ended with 111 inmates killed.

Campaign aims to reduce forest fires in Santarém (PA)

Initiative raises awareness about safe use of fires for preparing the soil

Crédito: Projeto Saúde & Alegria/Handout

21 Sep 20

Campaign aims to reduce forest fires in Santarém (PA)

The campaign “United community preserves life” was launched in Santarém, Pará State, with the aim of preventing accidental forest fires that originate from controlled bush burning practised by small farmers and traditional

Amazon communities. The initiative offers guidance on how to prepare the soil with safety and how to get permits from related authorities and introducing techniques for cultivating without using fire. Many local stakeholders got together to run the campaign, including federal Institute Chico Mendes for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and its field programs at the Tapajos National Forest and Extractivist Reserve (Resex) Tapajós-Arapiuns, Pará state Civil Guard, the 4th Fire Department and community groups such as the Federation of the Tapajos National Forest, The Resex-Tapajoara Organization and NGOs such as Projeto Saúde e Alegria. 

 One year ago, forest fires in the Santarém and Alter do Chão regions gained international attention after a state police inquiry led to the preventive arrest of voluntary firefighters (brigadistas) that worked with environmental NGOs in the region.  In August 2020, after months of official investigation, the Federal Police dismissed the participation of the brigadistas in the forest fires.

Indigenist dies while trying to protect isolated indigenous group

Tragedy exposes vulnerability of isolated indigenous peoples

Crédito: Mário Vilela/Funai

9 Sep 20

Indigenist dies while trying to protect isolated indigenous group

The indigenist Rieli Franciscato, 56, died on September 9 when he was hit by an arrow in the chest while monitoring a group of isolated indigenous people in the State of Rondônia. Rieli was a renowned active indigenist in the country, with over 30 years at the service of the National Foundation of the Indian (Funai). He worked to avoid friction between non-indigenous and a indigenous non-contact group known as “Isolados do Cautário[Cautário Isolates]” that appeared near Seringueiras (RO) in June; he was also engaging in preventive actions to avoid exposing the isolates to the coronavirus pandemic.

That day, Rieli went to the scene with two military policemen and an indigenous colleague. The team found and followed footprints that led to Indigenous Land (TI) Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau; already inside the indigenous territory, Rieli was hit in the chest with an arrow and was taken to the hospital, but did not resist the wound. Rieli’s death shocked sertanistas, indigenistas and Funai’s workers. It also exposed the precarious and vulnerable situation of isolated peoples. Ivaneide Bandeira, coordinator of the Association for Ethno-Environmental Defense Kanindé, which she founded together with Rieli in 1992 to protect the indigenous peoples of Rondônia drew attention, in an interview to DW Brasil, to the risk of silent ethnocide among isolated peoples amid the fires. “With the dismantling of the Rio Madeira teams and the entire Funai structure, we don’t even know if they are alive,” she said.

Two weeks later, on September 22, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) of Rondônia recommended that Funai and the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (Sesai) should create health and safety barriers on the lines of access to the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau Indigenous Territory to protect the isolated peoples of the Cautário River region.

One year later, “Day of the Fire” leaves “legacy of impunity”, says Greenpeace

Cattle herd in Novo Progresso, Pará State, one of the “Day of the Fire” hotspots

Photo: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama/via CC

10 Aug 20

One year later, “Day of the Fire” leaves “legacy of impunity”, says Greenpeace

One year ago, between August 10th and 11, 2019, rural landowners coordinated to start forest fire in Amazon areas in southern Pará State, in the episode that became known as “Day of the Fire”, which caused protests in its aftermath throughout Brazil. In that period, the National Institute of Space Research (Inpe) detected 1.457 fires hotspots in the state, a 1923% increase when compared to the same period in the previous year (2018). 

As the first anniversary of the event approaches, NGO Greenpeace says that the “Day of the Fire” left a legacy of impunity. According to an investigation led by the NGO, out of the 207 rural properties where fires registered in the period in the region, only five were fined by environmental authorities. In 2020, some are functioning normally, producing crops and cattle. 

The local newspaper Folha do Progresso, who first reported on the organization of the Day of the Fire, noted that the rural landowners felt encouraged to engage in the burning by the words of Bolsonaro and declared that the action had the aim of showing the president their willingness to work. Adélcio Piran, the journalist who first reported the incident, told Deutsche Welle that he’s still facing attacks and threats one year after the story came out.

One year after the criminal event, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Pará State is still on the rise. According to data from the Amazon Men and Environment Institute (Imazon), the loss of native forest grew 29% between August, 2019, and July, 2020, when compared to the previous year. The state also has 6 municipalities among the 10 in the country with the highest deforestation rates, including Novo Progresso, where the Day of the Fire originally started.

“Gag Law”: Controller General defends silencing of federal public servants

Associations saw CGU’s stance as censorship

Credits: Federal Government/Handout

29 Jul 20

“Gag Law”: Controller General defends silencing of federal public servants

A memorandum published in June by the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU), the federal organ responsible for the “defense of public property, transparency and fighting against corruption”, lists several stances that could lead to “disciplinary hearings” to federal public servants: publicizing opinions about conflicts or internal issues, divulging critical statements about the organ that employs the worker in social media and news-outlets, and conducts by the servants that have a negative impact on the image and credibility of their institution.

The website Congresso Em Foco published an article about CGU’s memorandum and remembered that in May, servants from the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) denounced that the organ’s Ethics Committee issued a technical note that prohibited public statements with critics against the network in social media by the environmental agents.

A few days later, the National Association of Environmental Public Servants (Ascema – Nacional) denounced the memorandum as unconstitutional. “No one can forbid a public servant who is also a citizen, to manifest his opinions, under the allegation that those could harm the organ and its agents reputation,” says the public announcement by Ascema, which also opposed “any kind of censorship, intimidation or persecution against public servants”.

Another occasion of silencing dissent happened in July at the Ministry of the Environment, when public servant Marcelo Grossi was dismissed of his position as secretary of the Ethics Committee of the Ministry after he denounced minister Ricardo Salles to the Union Finance Court (TCU), Presidential Ethics Committee (CEP) and the Office of the Controller General (CGU). Grossi requested the federal control organs to intervene since Salles was withholding the nominations of members of the Ministry’s ethics commission for over one year.

April is marked by layoffs, political persecution and retaliation at the Ministry of the Environment

Agencies and public workers of MMA were affected

Crédito: Lula Marques/Fotos Públicas

30 Apr 20

April is marked by layoffs, political persecution and retaliation at the Ministry of the Environment

Throughout April, governance and environmental inspection structures suffered from the deepening of the dismantling promoted by the Bolsonaro government, which also intensified the militarization in the fight against deforestation.

On April 10, Ricardo Salles, the minister of the Environment dismissed the analyst at the Ministry of the Environment, André Sócrates de Almeida Teixeira. According to internal sources at the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Resources (Ibama), the dismissal was a retaliation since Teixeira expressed his opposition against the exclusion of rules that prevent the export of illegal timber, in late February.

Four days later, Ibama’s director of Environmental Protection, Olivaldi Azevedo, was exonerated after the TV show Fantástico broadcasted a report which accompanied environmental inspection operations against illegal gold mining and for Covid-19 prevention in Indigenous Lands in Pará. Again, the suspicion is of retaliation.

On the 18th, Vice President Mourão transferred the Amazon Council to his office and cut the participation of agents from Ibama and Funai (National Indigenous Foundation). With this, the Council, responsible for combating deforestation in the Legal Amazon. Only military personnel remained in its composition. “We expected such a thing in a government whose narrative from the beginning has been stimulating deforestation and land grabbing,” former Ibama president Suely Araújo told Globo.

At the end of the month, on April 30, Renê Oliveira and Hugo Loss, two of Ibama’s chief officers responsible for operations to combat mining and illegal logging in the Amazon, were exonerated. Both had taken part in the operations portrayed by Fantástico. According to rumors when Salles fired Olivaldi, servants considered Loss and Oliveira the next in line.

Ibama exonerates environmental agent who fined Bolsonaro for illegal fishing

Bolsonaro said environmental control operations are a “party for penalties”

Crédito: Handout

29 Mar 19

Ibama exonerates environmental agent who fined Bolsonaro for illegal fishing

The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) exonerated José Augusto Morelli from his position as head of the Air Operations Center of the Environmental Protection Directorate. He was responsible for the inspection action that fined then federal congressman Jair Bolsonaro in 2012, for illegal fishing, at the Tamoios Ecological Station, a conservation unit that forbids fishing.

Ibama’s superintendence in Rio de Janeiro annulled the R$ 10,000 reais fine in December 2018, after the legal recommendation of the Federal Attorney Office (AGU). During the election campaign, Bolsonaro said he intended to end the environmental “party for penalties”.

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