Brazil’s Indigenous Missionary Council blames government for murder
The Brazilian bishops’ Indigenous Missionary Council is holding the Brazilian government responsible for the assassination of indigenous leader Paulo Paulino Guajajara, one of the Guardians of the Forest in the Amazon.
‘Today it is no exaggeration to say that indigenous people can no longer move safely within their territories. The recurring speeches by the president of the republic against the demarcation and regularisation of territories, followed by a prejudiced regional environment against indigenous peoples, have been the main vector for invasions and violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil,’ said the early November note released by the council, known by its Portuguese acronym as CIMI.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been recorded several times stating that he does not agree with the number and size of indigenous territories. He has vowed not to regulate any more indigenous territory. “While I’m president there will be no more demarcation of (indigenous) land,” Bolsonaro has said repeatedly.
Guajajara, 26, was killed inside the Arariboia Indigenous Territory, where he lived with his wife and son on 1st November after he was ambushed by five armed loggers who were invading the indigenous land. Another indigenous leader, Laercio Souza Silva, was also hit by gunfire, but managed to escape.
The Guardians of the Forest group, of which Guajajara was a member, regularly patrols indigenous territories and reports illegal invasions of land barons and loggers. There have been several threats made against the group’s members, and many have started to wear bulletproof vests while out on patrol.
Picture: Paulo Paulino Guajajara, one of the Guardians of the Forest in Brazil’s Amazon, paints his face on 10th September 2019, on Arariboia indigenous territory near Amarante, Brazil. Guajajara, 26, was killed on 1st November inside the Arariboia Indigenous Territory, where he lived with his wife and son. (CNS photo/Ueslei Marcelino, Reuters).