Brazilian Ministry of Defense participates in the 52nd General Assembly of Indigenous Peoples

This Monday (13), the Minister of Defense, José Mucio Monteiro, accompanied the President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in the 52nd General Assembly of Indigenous Peoples, in Roraima. The meeting, which brought together several ministries to discuss the theme “Territorial Protection, Environment and Sustainability” and began on Saturday (11), in the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, was attended by about two thousand indigenous leaders of the state.

In the event, which ends this Tuesday (14), land protection, natural resources management and the indigenous movement’s agenda for this year are being debated. Also, during the visit, the minister José Mucio attended the fair of organic products and crafts and the exhibition of animals raised on indigenous lands. Also present were the Commander of the Amazon Joint Operational Command, Major-Brigadier Raimundo Nogueira Lopes Neto, and the Commander of the VII Regional Air Command, Major-Brigadier David Almeida Alcoforado.

Operation Yanomami – Historically, the Armed Forces have also acted in defense of indigenous peoples, a role that was reinforced exactly 40 days ago, under the coordination of the Defense Department, after the issuing, by President Lula, of Decree No. 11,405, January 30, 2023. The document established measures for dealing with a Public Health Emergency of National Importance due to the lack of assistance to the Yanomami population and to combat illegal mining. To date, 430 tons of supplies, medicines and materials have been transported to attend to the needs of the indigenous people, and around 600 military personnel have been employed.

The actions of the military won the recognition of the indigenous people. The vice president of the Hutukara Associação Yanomami, Dário Vitório Kopenawa Yanomami, praised the support and dedication of the Armed Forces during Operation Yanomami. “It is an important role to save the lives of the Yanomami population. That is extremely important. We are human beings; we are forest people; we are Yanomamis. So each one of us has the responsibility to take care of any one of the Brazilian citizens”, he highlighted.

Support – The Navy (MB), the Army (EB) and the Air Force are helping to provide humanitarian support to the Yanomami and to combat illegal mining in the region. Since January 20, 1,761 cases have been treated at the field hospital and 137 aeromedical evacuations have been performed, as well as 14,400 baskets of basic food supplies. Last Saturday (11), the Amazon Joint Operational Command provided logistical air support, with personnel and material transportation, to the National Force of the Unified Health System (FN-SUS), a federal program of the Ministry of Health (MS), in Roraima. The mission included 17 professionals among doctors and nurses. The areas that are receiving these teams are: Auaris, Palimiú, Surucucu, Waputha, Maloca Paapiú and Yarotobi.

Besides this operation, the Army carries out infrastructure works, such as the construction, maintenance and repair of artesian wells, mini hydroelectric plants, roads, ports and river anchorages; and the preparation of the land for settlements of the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA). It also has Special Border Platoons (PEFs) to fight illicit activities in border areas – often on indigenous lands -, to provide health care and logistical support to governmental bodies.

The Tuxaua leader Francisco Xavier, in Maturacá, stressed the importance of the military in the region. “For us, the army’s presence is one of protection. They protect us, since we are at risk; we are on the border between Brazil and Venezuela. The Army also brings health. It contributes to the Yanomami people. We have a lot of confidence in the Brazilian Army; we want it to strengthen us more and increase our human resources. There are members of the community who serve in the Force”, he recalled.

Calha Norte – Through Defense, the Calha Norte Program (PCN) operates in the North, Northeast, and Center-West regions, to contribute to the maintenance of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the promotion of regional development. With 37 years of existence, operating in 10 states of the country and covering the entire Legal Amazon, the PCN transfers budget resources through agreements signed between the Ministry of Defense and the state and municipal entities benefited by the program.

Among the actions of the PCN, the following stand out: the recovery of airfields in Indigenous Lands, the construction of road stretches, the acquisition of equipment for health centers in indigenous areas, the implementation of nine special border platoons (PEFs) in indigenous communities, the construction of four small hydroelectric plants, three indigenous schools (on the banks of the Solimões River), the Casa de Apoio aos Povos Indígenas – Casai (Indigenous Peoples’ Support House) and the Indigenous Cultural Center, among others. In all, since 2004, about 70 million reais have been invested in infrastructure works, vehicles, and equipment.

Legal Amazon – The Ministry of Defense (MD), through the Management and Operational Center of the Amazon Protection System (Censipam), contributes to the preservation of indigenous peoples in partnership with other public agencies, through the intensive use of remote sensing technologies and the analysis of intelligence on indigenous lands. The Center has a server trained in geo-intelligence that works in the Yanomani Shield Operation, coordinated by the Air Force, to do the updated mapping of the mining activities. Censipam is also bringing internet to the Yanomami Land through transportable satellite connection antennas, used in field operations in isolated locations.

At the moment, the Center is acting in conjunction with the General Secretariat of the Government (SG), for the repossession of indigenous lands illegally occupied by non-indigenous people, participating in the planning of actions to be carried out by government agencies, besides delivering reports on the illegal activities carried out in the communities of Yanomani/RR, Munduruku, Kayapó and Trincheira Bacajá/PA, Karipuna and Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau/RO and Araribóia/MA.

Raquel Alves and Carolina Militão
Photos: Disclosure

By admin