Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

UK campaigners join Amazon battle

An international tribal rights group is calling on the Brazilian government to take a stand against corrupt local politicians and Western businesses following the kidnap of three Catholic missionaries who supported indigenous Indians in the northern Amazon.

February 1, 2004
2 min read

Survival got involved after Brother Joao Carlos Martinez from Spain, Father Cesar Avellaneda from Colombia and Father Ronildo Franca from Brazil, missionaries on the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous reserve, were released on 12 January following three days in captivity.

All three had been campaigning for the removal of 7,000 settlers – rice cultivators, farmers and cattle ranchers – working in collusion with local politicians. They were taken hostage when a mob of 200 non-Indian settlers invaded their mission and ransacked a hospital and school catering for the Indian population.

Fiona Watson, Survival campaigns coordinator, said: “The Catholic Church is perceived by the local politicians and rice cultivators as being very active when it comes to the rights of indigenous peoples and they want to stop this.

-Indigenous groups are seen as obstacles to progress – the only areas left with forest cover are those belonging to them.”

And although Brazilian environment minister Marina Silva is pro-indigenous, she is fighting against a rising tide of big business; US food giant Cargill is currently involved in clear-cutting forest for the rapidly growing expansion of the GM soya crop.

Survival is also disappointed with Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva. “At the beginning of his presidency a year ago he talked of indigenous land rights but in terms of delivery nothing has been done,” said Watson.

The pan-indigenous people’s organisation COAIB, who Lula is due to meet early this year, burnt Lula’s manifesto last November.

A spokesman for the Indigenous Council of Roraima said: “Ratification of Raposa Serra do Sol is the barometer measuring the attitude of the Lula government. If it acts now, Indians throughout Brazil will take this as a sign of the government’s commitment to upholding their rights.”

In December Brazil’s minister of justice announced that Lula would ratify the area as a reserve. Although the 3.95 million acres territory has been mapped and demarcated, it still needs that presidential signature promised since 1998.

www.survival-international.org

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism

Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists

Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson

As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win

The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution

Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.

‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition

#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny

Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke

The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana

Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth

Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company

You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild

Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University

This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback

Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein

Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up

Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement

‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic

Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden

There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright