Difficult, tiring, dangerous, Bruno Pereira told Folha – 06/18/2022 – Power

“The president [Jair Bolsonaro] did not demarcate an inch as he promised. The president of Funai, the [Marcelo] Xavier, you’re there for that. It is the management of chaos. I do not know [suspiro]. Difficult, tiring, dangerous. Let’s go.”

This is how the indigenist Bruno Pereira, 41, completed one of his responses to the Sheet during a long telephone interview weeks before traveling for the last time to the Vale do Javari indigenous land, in Amazonas.

The interview is dated April 22, the day the discovery of Brazil is celebrated. 44 days later, on June 5, Bruno disappeared near the indigenous land. He was murdered alongside British journalist Dom Phillips, 57, who was writing a book about the Amazon and had the help of the indigenist.

Bruno was a licensed employee of Funai (National Indian Foundation). That day, he was wanted by the Sheet to talk about the risks that the isolated indigenous people face today, their specialty.

In the approximately 50 minutes of interview, the tone of the indigenist varied between concern, when dealing with the safety and risk of death of the isolated, and enthusiasm, with the possibilities of maintaining action in the defense of indigenous rights and freedoms through of what he called “resistance”.

When referring to Funai, from which he had withdrawn at his request, Bruno showed dejection and indignation, especially when the topic was the current management of the federal agency, under the command of Bolsonaro.

Former general coordinator of Isolated Indians and Recent Contact, Bruno started to work on the front line in protecting indigenous lands through Univaja (União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari). The region is the target of invasions due to illegal fishing and hunting, mining and the influence of drug trafficking.

THE Sheet he analyzed the current condition of Funai, spoke of the persecution of him and other employees, addressed the external influence on the autarchy and presented his overview of the country’s indigenist policy and the condition of indigenous peoples.

That day, Bruno asked the reporter not to publish his statements about Funai, on the advice of his lawyers, since he had been facing a situation of internal conflict since his removal.

Now, faced with his tragic death and the journalistic interest in what he thought about the subject, the Sheet publish your interview. That day, Bruno was in Santarém (PA).

Persecution and harassment at Funai

Look, this is essential. destroy inside [a Funai] and find allies who maintain the facade they need. When I leave CGiirc [coordenação geral de índios isolados], I was the general coordinator, we already imagined what was coming. Even in a government that was no longer interesting, when it comes [Michel] Temer, there was respect for the democratic, republican side of the Brazilian State functioning […] With the turn of this new government and the fall of General Franklimberg [Freitas], president of Funai at the time, he himself calls us and says: ‘Get ready, he’s coming to blow everything up’. It doesn’t work to work.

The more he destructures, messes with internal regulations and threatens servers, the more he achieves.
I don’t blame all my colleagues. I came to the resistance and I am being persecuted from then until today. They’re filing a lawsuit against me. My alliance is much stronger with the Indians than with the State and Funai. I’m not worried.

But I don’t pose this question to all my fellow servers. It’s not possible for the server alone to go against such a heavy machine, and the State in their hands. Since I can’t, this is my profile and that of others, closing my eyes, pretending that nothing is happening and playing at having a position in a power structure like this.

So, they came to threaten. They are opening lawsuits against several of the OPI [Observatório dos Direitos Humanos dos Povos Indígenas Isolados e de Recente Contato]. Me as a contributor and connoisseur of the OPI, against Univaja [União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari] and so on.

It is the authoritarian profile of this management, of these delegates. They have a modus operandi. When I left CGiirc, as soon as I left, talking was forbidden. I said: ‘I will speak’. I do not care. And I opened my mouth. I gave interviews at the time. That was used as a dossier in meetings. On the table, the president of Funai, ‘pa’, ‘I’m going to break this guy’s financial and banking secrecy’. Trying to threaten. I was not intimidated. The others were pursued one by one.

Funai license

I don’t get paid, but I’m still a public servant. I can stay up to six years in it [licença]. I’m a public servant. I think they thought they were going to get away. Nobody thought the license was going to come out, and they did.

It’s out, I’m silent, I’m going to the shade and I’m going to sew these joints all over the country with a lot of people. I know the entire OPI class. Univaja, I work. The OPI, I contribute. They are denouncing me precisely because of this. The complaint is that I am in conflict of interest because I am working in private indigenous activity, which is a role for [que] would be the state.

The process is getting there, it has already passed at the CGU [Controladoria Geral da União]. They were interested in sending me back. As if he were going to punish me, order me to go back to work on the land I’ve worked for 12 years. I think they dissuaded this sewing. They didn’t talk about me coming back anymore. Well, I’m looking forward to it. I will answer very calmly and continue the fight for the rights of the Indians.

Indigenous policy of the isolated

the gang over there [Funai] it’s worrying. There are some there who have become corrupted and are playing a very dangerous game of choosing what should be handed over to keep their positions.

It is complex because the State is predominant, it is predominant in the protection of these peoples. They cannot go around shouting: ‘I need help’, like other indigenous peoples.

You saw it now on ATL [Acampamento Terra Livre]7,000 Indians, a political force, facing the government that attacked the rights.

The isolated ones do not. It’s a line that was a little marginal. The white, hegemonic society loves to talk about the naked Indians who are in the bush like they used to, but no one took over.

The State has always been very important in the policy of protecting isolated Indians. Brazil is avant-garde, in the world, in America. Public policy in Brazil was widely copied and today it is in the hands of people with interests, which we know are not about protecting the isolated. The interest is to open up the territories.

The president of Funai in January made an open statement, giving up Ituna-Itatá [PA], having recent expeditions that showed possible traces of the presence of these Indians. Boy, this is still going to be studied a lot. The scale of this is very serious.

Lobby against the isolated

Are not over all restrictions [de uso em terras com indígenas isolados]. Restriction is a fragile thing and gives a lot of power to the president of Funai. In places that are not confirmed, three of them are on expansion fronts. Where are today Ituna [PA]Jacareúba-Katawixi [AM] and piripkura [MT] are of monstrous land and mining interests. These are relatively large lands worth millions and millions of reais.

You don’t see this pressure to take down Igarapé Taboca [AC]. Not at Tanaru [RO]. Now, the others are in the arc of deforestation and in the interest of people who rule the country today. Of people who run Funai. These retrograde agribusiness guys. And who was Marcelo Xavier, right?

There’s no one for free. What holds him back are deputies and senators. Whatever is within his reach, the president of Funai, he will do. Undoing indigenous land is not going to be done because it will take some beatings in the Supreme Court as it is taking in the restrictions.

‘Taking land from the Indian is killing the Indian’

The isolated indigenous people, first, need an intangible land. Full land, that has game, water, fruits. Everything they have in their habit. Second point is that they have an epidemiological and political vulnerability. A group like this with Covid is shovel and fall. Super strong, muscular, healthy people, women with beautiful children, they all fall sick and die from the flu. Covid would be much more devastating.

The pandemic was didactic. When we stayed like this with Covid dying people to shit all over the world it’s kind of how they spend their whole lives.

They need territory protection and specialized agents knowing how to deal when they walk out of the territory or need a contact to survive. Taking land from the Indian is killing the Indian. That’s what they’re trying to do. It becomes an eternal escape [dos índios isolados], a diaspora in search of its land. It’s the history of Brazil.

loss of expertise

The State cannot be the only and final word, you know? It has no leg, it has not made an expedition.
You don’t leave for land demarcation without having confirmations. It only leaves for demarcation if it has confirmation from the Indians. There is neither one nor the other happening. Today, it goes beyond the disruption that has become this government’s policy of isolated people.

There is a loss of this knowledge, this expertise of the forest, of the sertanistas due to the lack of preparation of cadres that do not come only from public tenders. Then the guy from São Paulo, from Recife, will learn everything about the forest in two, three years. Does not work.

The first step was to start having teams to locate isolated individuals that were well-formed, structured and with clear goals for action. It doesn’t have that today. We have a historical deficiency and in this government it is forbidden to try to solve problems.

What they are doing is putting out the fire because the stick broke in the Supreme Court because of Covid. It’s a sanitary barrier, I don’t know what. But having a logistical plan to take miners away from the Yanomami, who also have isolated land and other places, is not in the interest of this administration.

places at risk

Jacareúba-Katawixi is a large land. It is completely pierced, taken over by loggers. There is a drama linked to the paving of the BR-319. The coordinator of isolated indians who made the expedition and said that he located the indians and that [portaria de restrição de uso] de Jacareúba was not renewed even for six months. The president of Funai will only take legal action.

Piripikura has heavy lawsuits and confirmed Indians. We know, behind the scenes, of agreements rolling again with this direction of Funai to reduce the land and free up some farms inside. Pyrititi is more [ameaçada] logging and agricultural expansion. It is close to the BR-174. There has already been an invasion of miners nearby.

Ituna-Itatá is complex and still needs official confirmation from the Indians. You expose a lot. Because the farmer, logger is next door. And a crazy government like that, he [invasor] I think it’s going to bring the earth down. If he stays there patiently and waits a while because ‘this business [demarcação] don’t go forward’. ‘Let’s invade, let’s invade that is Bolsonaro, we are together’. ‘The law on indigenous land will change’. ‘There is a lot of land and few Indians’.

In a context beyond isolated Indians, the president did not demarcate an inch as he promised. The president of Funai, Xavier, is there for that. He is the administration of chaos. I do not know [suspiro]. Difficult, tiring, dangerous. Let’s go.


Bruno Pereira, 41
Career servant of Funai (National Indian Foundation) since 2010, he was licensed after being exonerated from the General Coordination of Isolated and Recently Contacted Indians, in which he was for 14 months. He was working for Univaja (Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley) when he was murdered along with British journalist Dom Phillips.

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