Funai makes national strike and demands the departure of the organ’s president

The president of Funai, Marcelo Xavier

The president of Funai, Marcelo Xavier

Photo: Promoting Funai/Mario Vilela

Employees of the National Indian Foundation (Funai) who work throughout the country are preparing a national act of strike at the agency, in protest against the acts carried out by its current president, Marcelo Xavier. The demonstration is scheduled for next Thursday, the 23rd, at 10:00 am, and should include all Funai units spread across the states and the Federal District.

“We, employees of Funai, mobilized nationally and represented by our entities, call on everyone to be with us in the National Strike Act”, informed the Indigenistas Associados (INA), an association of employees of the foundation.

“We will express our deep sadness and indignation at the barbaric murder of our colleague Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips and we will demand the proper identification and accountability of all the culprits. We will also demand the immediate departure of the President of Funai, Marcelo Xavier, who has been promoting anti-indigenous and anti-indigenous management in the institution”, declares the INA.

PF delegate Marcelo Xavier came to the command of Funai in July 2019, supported by the ruralist caucus. He took command in place of General Franklimberg Ribeiro de Freitas, who had left the post in June, after being the target of strong pressure from the agribusiness bench. Franklinberg had been in the job for less than five months.

After four months at the helm, Xavier made a generalized dismissal at Funai and changed 15 coordination of areas of the autarchy. Some coordinators learned of the exoneration through the Official Gazette. That same October, he fired Bruno Pereira, who was the general coordinator of Índios Isolados.

Pereira was one of the body’s main specialists and had been leading all the initiatives to protect isolated peoples. He had just carried out a major operation in the Vale do Javari region, which resulted in the destruction of dozens of illegal ferries.

The organ’s personnel development coordinator, Haroldo Niemeyer Resende, was also removed, without any prior communication. He had pointed out situations of interference and pressure on servers.

In addition to exchanging commands, Xavier began to investigate servants and indigenous leaders, under the accusation that they would act to put ‘barriers to approval’ of a high voltage network between Manaus ‘and Boa Vista’, Bolsonaro’s priority project.

In September of last year, the Federal Public Ministry accused Xavier of administrative improbity, for disobeying a court agreement in which the municipality promised to advance in the demarcation of the Munduruku indigenous territory, in Santarém (BA).

In November 2021, Xavier decided to prevent civil servants from the municipality from visiting indigenous lands that are in the process of demarcation. His order was that displacements could only occur in cases where the land is already “approved or regularized”.

Since the first day of the disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, representatives of the Indigenistas Associados (INA) have held vigils in Brasília to demand the authorities’ reaction to the searches.

Gustavo Vieira, representative of the Federal Public Servants Union of the Federal District, said that the decision is the result of a national meeting held with Funai employees. “We had an assembly with more than 200 people from Funai from all over the country and we decided to carry out this strike”, he commented. The vigils will continue, in front of the Funai headquarters, in Brasília.

About Abhishek Pratap

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