Lula disavowed by parliament over the demarcation of indigenous lands

This is a political setback for the Brazilian president. MPs voted on Tuesday a bill limiting the demarcation of indigenous lands. This text, approved by 283 votes against 155, establishes that the natives are only entitled to the lands they occupied at the time of the promulgation of the 1988 Constitution. A thesis rejected by the natives, who argue that they do not did not occupy certain lands in 1988 because they had been driven out over the centuries, particularly during the military dictatorship (1964-1985).

A setback for Lula

The bill, which still has to go through the Senate before it takes effect, was promoted by pro-agribusiness lawmakers and other opposition groups. His approval by the lower house is a setback for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Returning to power earlier this year, the left-wing president has pledged to make environmental conservation a priority, after four years of a sharp rise in deforestation under his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro. (2019-2022).

The approval of the project “puts an end to hope for the future”, lamented on Tuesday the Brazilian Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara. “This is a genocide against indigenous peoples, but also an attack on the environment,” she added. According to scientists, the demarcation of indigenous lands is a key barrier against deforestation of the Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world.

Brazil has a total of 764 territories of indigenous peoples, but about a third of them have not yet been demarcated, according to figures from the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI). In April, Lula’s government recognized six new territories, the first in five years.

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The MPs’ vote sparked protests in Brazil, and caught the attention of environmental organizations and international activists, including US actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. “There is a war against indigenous peoples and forests. Our planet is in danger. Lula, be the hero your people elected, prevent (the project) from moving forward,” Ruffalo tweeted on the eve of the debate.

Ahead of the vote, around 100 indigenous people temporarily blocked a road on the outskirts of Sao Paulo early Tuesday morning before police dispersed them using tear gas, according to footage shown by local television. “The Chamber of Deputies has sent a message to the country and to the world: Bolsonaro is gone, but the extermination continues (…) The Senate has an obligation to reconsider the approved nonsense,” the defense organization said. environment Observatorio do Clima in a press release.

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