As far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro recently won the Brazilian Presidential elections, environmentalists around the world’s worst fears came to reality.
Usually developing small-scale infrastructure in rural areas is seen in a positive light, especially when these rural areas are located deep within the Amazon forest in the borders of Peru. That is the mentality that local people in these communities had, and supported the idea of the government building a road to connect to them to the bigger towns nearby. However, although positive changes have been made, there are still negative consequences within the modernization of communities who have remained remote for decades.
On Friday, October 2017, troops and federal police were deployed after several government and environmental agency buildings were set on fire by hundreds of armed men in the town of Humaíta in the Brazilian Amazon.
The Amazonian and Andean regions of South America are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Of the top ten ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world, six are in Central/South America. Four of these countries house part of the Andes, and five house part of the Amazon rainforest (Hyatt 2014).
It is believed that this unnamed tribe was forced out of their land by illegal loggers and miners near the border of Peru and Brazil. Being forced out of their homes and hungry they were forced to make contact. Upon arrival at the Ashinanka village, they signaled that they were hungry and were given plantains. The next day they came back, not because they needed more food, but because one of the members had come down with cold or flu like symptoms.
On 5 February 2015, some 200 employees of the mining company Yanacocha invaded the property of the Peruvian land rights defender Ms. Maxima de Chaupe. She has lived in an area known as Tragadero Grande, Cajamarca for over 20 years. In 2011 Yanacocha Mining Company, a Peruvian-American-World Bank transnational enterprise, attempted to buy the 49-year-old woman’s land and when she refused to sell it, a campaign of intimidation, violence, and judicial courts ensued.
Among the many controversial interactions the US has had with Latin American countries, perhaps one of the most dangerous is the US relationship with meat producers in South America. The US is the highest consumer of meat in the world, with the average American consuming 101 pounds of meat each year, a number which has quadrupled since the 1960s. While the US is still the largest producer of meat in the world, countries such as Argentina and Brazil are closing the gap.
Amidst all the political chaos happening in Brazil, it’s easy to forget that outside of the bustling metropolis’ lies a completely different side of Brazil. Brazil is home to one of the largest uncontacted indigenous populations in the world, whose sole protector against invasion and subsequent modernization is the organization known as FUNAI, the National Indian Foundation. While the Amazon region of Brazil remains largely untouched, both the national government and large and small corporations have been trying to make their way into the region, mostly using force.