The group of indigenous forest agents known as “Guardians of the Forest” was ambushed by loggers on Friday, November 1, 2019, in the interior of the Araribóia Indigenous Land, region of Bom Jesus das Selvas (Maranhão state), between the Lagoa Comprida and Jenipapo peoples.
There was an intense confrontation. The indigenous Paulo Paulino Guajajara, the “bad wolf”, was shot in the face; the guard leader Laércio Guajajara was seriously wounded, but he received treatment and his health is stable; there is information that a logger also died in the fire exchange. The Military Police, FUNAI and the Ministry of Public Security are working on the case.
The work carried out by Paulino and the other members of the group is one of vigilance to maintain the preservation of indigenous land, which by law cannot be invaded or exploited without the consent of the indigenous people themselves. In their surveillance missions, they end up fulfilling the role of the State, which abdicates this responsibility, leaving the indigenous communities in a situation of extreme vulnerability and risk.
In recurring speeches, the country’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro, affirmed that “he will not demarcate one more centimeter of indigenous land” and on other occasions said that it was “too much land for too few Indians. These statements reinforce the anti-indigenous position of the current government and incite illegal action by those who seek to invade and exploit the territories already demarcated.
The APIB – Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – throughout this month is making a tour of 12 European countries, meeting with heads of state, congresspeople, artists, professors, students and activists to denounce the reality of the indigenous peoples in Brazil and the recurrent attacks such as this dawn. La Jornada Sangre Indígena (Indigenous Blood Day): Not a drop more began on October 17 and will continue until November 20.
During the tour, they were already received by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the Minister of Environment and Climate of Norway, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, among other authorities. This same Friday, the day of the assassination in Maranhão, they filed complaints before the International Court of Justice in The Hague – the main judicial organ of the United Nations – regarding the attacks on indigenous rights in Brazil since the new president took office.
In a statement from the APIB, Sonia Guajajara, executive coordinator of the APIB and leader of the Guajajara People, declared that the Araribóia Indigenous Territory is in mourning and that for some time now they have been denouncing the absence of public power in the protection of indigenous territories, as well as the invasion of the territory of Araribóia for the illegal exploitation of timber and the struggle of the Guardians of the Forest to protect it.”We don’t want to continue being statistics, we want measures from the Public Power, from the increasingly dismantled organs precisely so as not to protect the peoples, who are paying with their own lives to do the work that is the responsibility of the State. We demand urgent justice.
Translation Pressenza London