Prospectors hold an empty audience and curse the press in Roraima


After the start of operations to dismantle illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous Land and with the process of flight of prospectors who invaded the region, representatives of the sector in Roraima met this Thursday (9) in Boa Vista to hold a public hearing and protest against the disintrusion process promoted by the Lula government (PT) in the Yanomami indigenous area.

With flags written with the motto “Roraima asks for help”, miners, family members and leaders demonstrated their opposition to the actions of the federal government at a time when ministers of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) are visiting the state to verify the social crisis , health and safety in the region. They were accompanied by commanders of the Armed Forces.

The event brought together approximately 200 people, including miners, supporters and relatives. The main argument of the organizers is that “Roraima is being suffocated” and that it is one of the Brazilian states that did not suffer from the socioeconomic impacts left by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Today the state of Roraima is being persecuted by international NGOs and it’s time for all of society to join together. Businessmen, traders, loggers, farmers, miners and miners, let’s go together hand in hand to show our strength”, said a looped recording on the manifestation.

Self-appointed coordinator of the “Garimpo é Legal” movement, civil servant Jailson Mesquita told the Sheet during the hearing that prospectors in the indigenous area are having problems due to the federal government’s removal process.

Under Brazilian law, mining is considered illegal on indigenous lands.

Also this Wednesday (8), Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) began operations to dismantle illegal mining in the Yanomami area to remove the more than 20,000 prospectors who invaded the territory over the last few years. years. The actions are supported by Funai (National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples) and the National Public Security Force, linked to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

“They are committing some excesses that we are going to discuss. One of our biggest problems in Roraima is the dictatorship that Ibama set up here, they burn everything. We also have miners there who cannot pay to return, and they have to bring everyone . Isn’t that what the federal government wants? When the airspace was closed, the demand [por aviões] got bigger and then the price of the ticket went up because the guy is at risk”, said Jailson.

He reported that current freight prices for irregular flights of small planes to the region, such as the Cessna model, reach R$ 25,000. Mesquita estimates that there are still around 10,000 miners in the region.

The garimpeiro representative also argued that the federal and state governments need to adopt a social assistance approach and include mining workers in income transfer programs, such as Bolsa Família.

The Minister of Defense, José Mucio Monteiro, said on Wednesday (8) that the treatment to be given to miners in flight is “a matter of Justice” and that the Armed Forces are concerned about “not harming innocents”.

“Now, the overwhelming majority of these people are from Roraima. And why did they go to the mine? Because they left us a migration of 300,000 people here without welcoming us with anything”, he reported, referring to the Acolhida Operation, force- humanitarian logistics coordinated by the Army that receives Venezuelan immigrants in Brazil.

During the hearing, panelists hurled insults at the press which, according to them, “demonizes the image of Roraima and the mining industry”.

“We are not going to let Globo guide our image. They tell lies 24 hours a day with the intention of dirtying our image and defame us, but we know that gold diggers are not criminals! Gold diggers are workers!”, shouted Cleiton Alves, who also identifies himself as the leader of the garimpeiros demonstration. He was applauded by the participants.

“Roraima is over,” said a woman who declined to be identified. According to her, who claimed not to be a prospector, the only reason the state has not suffered more economic impacts after the pandemic, like the rest of Brazil, is because money orbits around mining.

She says she has accommodation and transports miners with her husband. And she regrets that if the money from the mining doesn’t work, it will break everyone.

Well seen by the movement, the governor of Roraima, Antonio Denarium (PP), sanctioned laws considered unconstitutional in defense of mining. One foresaw the use of mercury and another forbade the destruction of machinery.

During the ministerial visit to Boa Vista on Wednesday, he stated that the garimpeiros are aware of the need to leave the region.

“It is very important that everyone leave. The federal government, with the work of the state government, is also encouraging this exit so that there are no conflicts”, he declared, adding that the partial reopening of airspace over land was a request of the state government .

The Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, stated earlier this week that prospectors have left Yanomami land in Roraima and estimated that there are at least 15,000 illegal prospectors in the area, but the number could reach 40,000.

“We are expecting that, when coercive police actions begin, we will already have at least 80% of this contingent of 15,000 people who have left Yanomami territory since last week and throughout this week,” he said.

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