Brazil: indigenous lands in danger due to capitalist exploitation
Brazil’s Supreme Court has reserved judgment on a landmark case rolling back indigenous land rights, known as the temporal marco (deadline), September 15. The case, which has been supported by the country’s agro-industrial sector, is said to have a negative impact on First Nations communities, particularly in the south of the country.
Under marco temporal, indigenous peoples could only claim rights over their ancestral lands if they occupied them from 1988, the year of the promulgation of the country’s constitution.
Brazilian writer and indigenous leader Ailton Krenac told CNN Brazil that if marco temporal is approved it would mean “greater privatization of land” and could generate another social and environmental crisis as local indigenous peoples are dispossessed of their land. land rights. It would also give avid agro-industry and mining interests opportunities to open up spaces for industrial agriculture, cattle ranching and mining exploration, a situation similar to what is happening in the Amazon rainforest. with its man-made fires.
From an economic point of view, the commercialization of these lands also corresponds to international interests, since large parts are located above the Guarani aquifer, the largest in the world. Multinationals would certainly be interested in accessing the region’s enormous amounts of underground drinking water.
The discussion puts commercial landowners and First Nations people on opposite sides.
The government of President Jair Bolsonaro is in favor of marco temporal because it claims that if Congress recognized indigenous land rights before 1988, agriculture in Brazil would become economically unfeasible.
In addition to the ethical, cultural and social issues of the proposal, there is also the issue of climate change. According to Joência Wapishana, who is the only indigenous representative to Congress: “Indigenous lands are a strategy for conservation and the fight against climate change.
Wapishana said Carta Capital on September 25 that it is in Brazil’s interest that there be protection, not only for indigenous peoples, but for their lands. Krenac said: “The interest of indigenous communities should be the common interest of the Brazilian people, as well as the whole world. It should not be a particular interest, as it concerns the planet’s climate, the country’s economy and the Union’s heritage.
If a ruling is made, it could pave the way for more than 300 indigenous land demarcation processes in the country.
Indigenous people from across the country camped on the ministerial plaza in the capital Brasilia in September to protest against a possible constitutional change. Demonstrations took place in the streets.
Indigenous leader Eliseu Lopes told greenpeace.org: “What the Supreme Court of Brazil must declare is that we do not exist only after the Constitution [was enacted]. We didn’t get here in 1988 – we were already on this land before Brazil became Brazil.
It is only a matter of time before the final decision is made.