“The future of the Amazon is at stake in Brazil elections”

Sundays elections in Brazil are not only about the political future of incumbent President Bolsonaro, but the future of the Amazon is also at stake, according to many. It is one of the most important election themes.

Over the past four years, under the ultra-right Bolsonaro, deforestation increased by an estimated 80 percent. A Brazilian research firm recently calculated that at least two billion trees were cut during its reign. There were more wildfires and violence against environmentalists, indigenous leaders, and journalists in the Amazon increased.

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had a lot to do with Bolsonaros policy and his vision of the Amazon. He emphasizes the economic importance of the area and encourages agricultural and mining activities, at the expense of trees.

Since taking office, a further stop has been placed on returning land to the original indigenous population, as happened earlier in the 1980s and 90s. The idea behind this was that by delimiting indigenous areas, nature was thereby protected. In recent years, illegal loggers, prospectors, and fishermen have felt empowered by Bolsonaros Amazonian rhetoric and policy and led to a growth of illegal activities in the tropical rainforest.

Threats

For environmentalists and indigenous leaders, the fight to preserve the tropical rainforest became more dangerous. Violence increased: an estimated 30 activists and an unknown number of indigenous people were killed last year. In many cases, the perpetrators were not brought to justice.

An indigenous activist who is also highly endangered is Alessandra Korap Munduruku (37) from the Central Tapajos region, in the state of Para. She grew up around the Tapajos River and belongs to the Munduruku people, who live in the heart of the Amazon. Due to her fight against the arrival of gold mining in her area and extensive logging, she was seen as an enemy by illegal loggers and gold miners. They broke into her home, she was threatened with death, and her computer and social media were hacked.

In this video, she talks about her struggle:

They came into my house twice. I think they did that because Im upset, because Im always defending the river and my people. They probably see me as someone who stands in their way, she says. For a few years, she has not lived in her village but in the city of Santarem, where she is studying law. Ultimately, as a lawyer, she hopes to be able to do even more in the fight for the Amazon and the indigenous people.

Alessandra Korap Munduruku has already received a number of international awards and is not deterred by the threats,. Im not bowing to big companies, or the government. I will continue to fight for my people, she says. Like many other indigenous people, she is very concerned. If the Bolsonaro administrations policy continues, the Amazon will soon be unsalvaged, she thinks. And she believes that its impact can be felt all over the world. Ultimately, the Amazon affects everyone.