“Our candidatures must be seen as a breath of life for humanity. elect representatives native people who defend Amazon rainforest Risking one’s own life is necessary to ensure the existence of the planet. Our fight is not only important for Brazil, but for the planet.” He has no doubts Vanda Ortega to give the measure of the importance of greater representation of the indigenous peoples in today’s Brazilian parliament. exponent of Witoto tribeas soon as 450 people In the entire country, Vanda is among the almost 200 indigenous candidates point to a chair a Brazil. Never so many in history.
The 35-year-old has made a name for herself in the city as a nurse manaus for his front line fight against Covid-19. “The Amazon has twice been the epicenter of pandemicsone in the country. The effect was catastrophic. Seeing so many people desperate for oxygen shaped us. This experience was also relevant to understanding that we had to be the ones who had to participate more actively to remedy the state’s negligence and the historical discrimination and exclusion of political life”.
In the first half of 2022, Amazon recorded the largest rate of deforestation the last 7 years: 3,988 square kilometers. The acceleration is due to the increasingly aggressive activity of mining companies and the actions of explorers and traders of precious materials and timber, often controlled by the organised crime. For Vanda Ortega, the result of government policy Bolsonaro. “In these three years, we have witnessed a state policy aimed on the one hand at weakening legislation protecting peoples and on the other hand restricting the actions of the authorities designed to protect and control indigenous lands,” says the nurse. .
That Indigenous Mission Council (Cimi), a body connected to the Brazilian Bishops’ Conferencedocuments a 16 percent increase in the number of invasions of protected indigenous reservations in 2021 compared to the previous year. While there were 263 invasion cases in 19 states (out of 27) in 2020, in 2021 there were 305 cases in 22 states. The study denounces that aggressors often remain in protected areas after illegal invasions. At the reserve of Yanomamibetween the states of Roraima and Amazonia, the hardest hit in the country, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 gold diggers and illegal loggers. The total number of indigenous people in the region is 28,000 people. The garimperos carried out “systematic” armed attacks against the communities. “In recent years, we have also recorded the highest rates of violence, murder and rape in our territories,” confirms Vanda Ortega.
“This violent process joins the economic project that aims to open our territories to exploration minerals and from natural wealth our country. During the election period, the most common theme in politicians’ rhetoric was that exploration must be encouraged because it can curtail wealth in the Amazon, but we know that is not the case,” says Ortega. “Throughout history we have experienced different explorations in the forest: Pau Brasil, gold and rubber. In no case has it brought prosperity or quality of life to people or territories. On the contrary, they always meant destruction, violence, murder. This only enriches businesses, while people who extract gold from the mud in a slave-like state face the risk of poisoning and life. The richness of speech does not exist, it is a delusion, an illusory logic, ”he emphasizes. “The sages and elders of our tribes have always told us what science has started to talk about lately, and that is that it is necessary keeps the forest alive so that the existence of man on the planet is guaranteed. The survival of the indigenous peoples is crucial, because only our resistance has ensured the survival of the Amazon so far”.