Government plans to remove miners from the Yanomami Indigenous Land, says Marina Silva


The federal government is planning a mega-operation to remove miners from the Yanomami Indigenous Land, he told Sheet this Friday (27) the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva.

At the multi-ministerial level, the management of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) will carry out “emergency health, relief and inspection” operations, in addition to structured actions to prevent the re-establishment of predatory activities in the territory.

“It’s a multiple approach. It’s public health, restoration of traditional ways of life, recovery of these areas, removal of areas, combating deforestation and removal of illegal mining. This will be a mega operation that will have to be carried out, planned , in several stages”, said the minister.

The minister made the statements when asked about the environmental damage caused in the region by the illegal activity. Gold mining led to the deforestation of 232 hectares of the Amazon rainforest in 2022 alone, according to data from INPE (National Institute for Space Research).

The number represents an increase of 24.7% in relation to the index registered in the previous year (186 hectares), shows a survey with information from Deter (Deforestation Detection System in Real Time), compiled at the request of the Sheet. In all of last year, the system only registered deforestation in the indigenous land related to illegal mining.

Marina also stated that the attacks will be carried out without prior notice, a practice that, the minister said, was recurrent in the management of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

“Structured actions are being planned and obviously we don’t usually announce the dates of our operations. [governo] Bolsonaro did that a lot. They published in the Official Gazette. But we have a protocol that is to do the planning and take the actions, so that the offenders do not come to precautions “, he said.

“Structured actions involve intelligence work. In the Bolsonaro government, there could be everything but intelligence, except for the bad things they did.”

In addition to recovering the territory from environmental degradation and responding to the humanitarian crisis, the government will need to develop means so that the thousands of people who work in mining do not return to illegal activity, according to the minister.

“You can’t go there and come back. Structured actions must have full support. President Lula is committed to removing mining from the land,” he said.

“How many people are there there? 35,000? 40,000? More than that? This statistic is not known for sure. These people will also need alternatives. We have to think of alternatives for these people to move from crime to media survival laws.”

The Yanomami Indigenous Land is experiencing a humanitarian crisis —with cases of malnutrition, malaria and respiratory diseases— made worse by the permanence of more than 20,000 prospectors invading the demarcated area.

The situation led the Ministry of Health to declare a state of emergency to combat the lack of health care. In the midst of the crisis, the federal government also exonerated 33 Funai coordinators and 11 district heads of the Indigenous Health Secretariat across the country.

The increase in malaria is associated with mining, mainly because the disturbance in the environment favors the proliferation of vectors.

The mercury used in mining also pollutes rivers and the soil, causing loss of biodiversity and directly affecting the indigenous way of life.

In addition, the presence of illegal activity has a social impact on communities, with an increase in violence, alcohol consumption and prostitution.

The Planeta em Transe project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.

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