Bolsonaro Government: A Threat to Indigenous Peoples and the Environment

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019

Two Brazilian scholars and friends of the Brazil LAB were in the news recently voicing concerns over the environmental policies of Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro. Beto Veríssimo, prominent environmentalist and Brazil LAB's first scholar-in-residence, was featured in the CNN article, "Why Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro has environmentalists worried for the Amazon." Veríssimo was quoted saying, "We expect Bolsonaro will be against environmental protection and the environment minister he picked will follow his agenda." He also criticized Brazil's withdrawal of its offer to host the COP 25 climate conference, calling it an attempt to shield the Bolsonaro administration from international scrutiny of its environmental policies. 

In the popular Brazilian magazine, Época, Carlos Fausto, anthropologist at the National Museum of Brazil, gave an interview discussing the changes suffered by the indigenous community since Bolsonaro's inauguration. Heavily critical of the government's treatment of indigenous peoples over time, he also called for people to see the indigenous as agents of their own destiny. "The idea that they are 'poor little things' isn't true at all. Many are on the cutting edge of fruit sales. There are projects that are going really well… There are indigenous filmmakers with awards from Brazil and abroad."

Image credit: Isabel Penoni, published in Época.