The External Committee of the Senate that investigates the causes of the increase in crime and attacks in the North Region heard today (14) two people close to the indigenist Bruno Pereira who, alongside the British journalist Dom Phillips, was murdered on June 5th.
Both Bruno’s wife, Beatriz Matos, and the indigenous leader and former coordinator of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vale do Javari (Univaja), Jader Marubo, expressed concern about the resumption of the same criminal activities that allegedly caused the two deaths. .
During the hearing, the guests said that the work being developed by the indigenist and by Univaja posed a “problem” for criminal groups interested in exploiting the wealth of the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land, as well as for politicians in the region.
Jader Marubo said that Bruno was proud to fight for the protection of the uncontacted and indigenous peoples of Vale Javari. He recalled the indigenist’s actions so that the Indians had the right to vote and that he would have denounced cases of politicians who bought votes from riverside dwellers in the region, which is why he also received a death threat.
“From the moment he put on the shirt, and with the good will to fight for the territory, Bruno ended up messing with powerful people in our region. These are people who fight for power. They are politicians, traders, drug traffickers, fishermen, hunters and prospectors, who are invading our land from the south, with dredgers that could cause mass extinction in our fishing regions. They are entering a territory where there are many uncontacted Indians”, reported the indigenous leader.
Bruno Pereira’s companion, anthropologist Beatriz Matos, who also works in Vale do Javari, recalled that her husband took over the general coordination of isolated Indians at Funai at a time when threats and invasions intensified. Among the actions coordinated by Bruno, she cites the dismantling of mining rafts in the south of the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land.
“Shortly after carrying out this action, he received, from one moment to the next, the exoneration notice. That was in 2019. Subsequently, he took on a coordinator linked to religious missions, from institutions that have an interest contrary to the non-contact policy. On the contrary, they seek contact with the isolated,” he said.
Bruno was then assigned to return to his old post, on the Vale do Javari protection front, in a specific Funai unit. “He and other colleagues had their lives under threat. He understood that there would be persecutions at Funai itself, which in fact ended up happening”, added Beatriz.
Faced with the situation, Bruno asked for unpaid leave and took on an advisory role to which he was invited by Univaja, as he understood that he was better able to continue his work there.
External Temporary Committee of the Senate hears the indigenous leader and former coordinator of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vala do Javari (Univaja), Jader Marubo – Geraldo Magela/Senate Agency
The protection of these areas and these peoples is a job that, according to Marubo, should be done by the Brazilian State. “However, it was the absence of the State that made the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vala do Javari put on their shirt and fight to protect our territory. It’s just that this fight made us put a target on our backs,” he said.
According to Marubo, the Law and Order Guarantee (GLO) measures “have not guaranteed law or order in the region”. “The National Force contingent arrived and some Funai employees arrived, but there was no improvement. What ended up happening was the persecution, at Funai, of employees who work at the place, so that they would not speak, saying that they could pay with their lives,” he reported.
The work of the entity, according to the former coordinator of Univaja, has been hampered by the lack of support from the federal government. “We don’t have an environmental police and the Federal Police have a small force, which is insufficient for the region. After their death, we thought that crime would stop, but when the dust of the military forces that were there, things returned to normal,” he said. “We know the power of the people who are part of these criminal organizations and we know how they can act. Everyone is afraid”.
As the situation is not improving in the region, the indigenous leadership believes that murders like the ones that occurred could happen again. “I and other leaders and officials are on a list of criminals to be killed. It won’t happen tomorrow; a week from now; or a month from now, but it will happen if nothing is done”, he warned.
The indigenous leadership reported that, so far, in relation to the demand expressed in June by the United Nations for the federal government to reinforce the security of indigenous peoples and the forest, “no action has been taken”, and that not even “an action has been taken”. expression of solidarity on the part of the federal government or Funai”.
“We never had any word of support from the president of Funai, since everything happened. We don’t even have boats for displacement. Funai did not make resources available for this, and without logistics we will not be successful in protecting the Javari Valley, which has 8.5 million hectares. What government is this that does not protect its territory?”, questioned the indigenous leader.
Beatriz Matos added that the public power not only stopped supporting, but worked against its own servants. “The president of Funai even made accusations against his employee, instead of taking on the investigation, protection and indignation. The lack of support we had from the federal sphere of this country is outrageous. It is outrageous because we even had a demonstration from the British Prime Minister”, she said, regretting that no representative of the federal government even attended Bruno’s funeral or sent words of condolence.
“The struggle to defend the forest and the conditions of these indigenous peoples, who are responsible for Brazilian biodiversity, has not been respected. The work to take care of these territories, carried out by indigenous peoples, has been less and less respected. While the world recognizes the value and importance of this work, our country recognizes it less and less. Quite the contrary: it criminalizes this work”, added Beatriz, informing that the situation has caused indignation among several Funai employees.
According to anthropologist Beatriz Matos, two months after the murder of Bruno and Dom, there is, so far, no emergency execution plan being implemented for the safety of employees, indigenous movements or indigenous people in Vale do Javari.
“They are unprotected in this place, which has been their and their ancestors’ place of life for millennia, even before they had Brazil. The size of this nonsense is nameless,” she said.
The National Indian Foundation (Funai) clarified that the information that licensed civil servant Bruno Pereira would have been persecuted within the institution is not valid.
“It is also important to inform that the positions in commission and the functions of trust are of free appointment and dismissal by the manager, and must meet the requirements of Decree No. and general procedures to be observed for the occupation of Senior Management and Advisory positions (DAS) and Commissioned Functions of the Executive Branch (FCPE)”, informed Funai.
In a meeting on Tuesday (12) with a delegation of Funai employees, the executive secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Antonio Ramirez Lorenzo, who participated in the meeting as interim minister of the portfolio, said that in the coming days more National Public Security Force must reach the Vale do Javari region.
The meeting was requested by the president of the Commission on Human Rights and Minorities (CDHM) of the Chamber of Deputies, Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP). According to information released by the commission, at the meeting, Lorenzo also informed that there is a commitment to try to make a public tender for Funai possible in 2022.