Brazil cracks down on illegal mining

Al Jazeera, 05/28/2013

Troops deployed in area inhabited by indigenous tribe near border with Venezuela in fight against gold mining.

Brazil’s military is 12 days into its largest ever deployment of troops in the country’s border regions.

The military has sent 25,000 troops to guard the entire border with Venezuela that stretches nearly 17,000km.

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Despite legal victories Awa Territory still full of invaders in Brazil

Rick Kearns – Indian Country, 04/10/2013

The Awa people of Maranhao state, in northeastern Brazil, have turned in desperation to the international community to help protect their territory according to activists at Survival International (SI), a human rights organization based in London, England.

For generations the Awa, who SI asserts is the “Earth’s most threatened tribe,” have lived in the Amazonian forest area of Maranhao, but in the last decade they have been persecuted and pushed out of their territory by illegal logging operations and other settlers, according to a variety of sources.

Human rights advocates in Brazil and throughout the world have been trying to help the Awa in their efforts, and last year a Brazilian judge delivered some good news.

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Special Report – Rough justice as Brazil tries to right past wrongs to Indians

Caroline Stauffer – Reuters, 04/10/2013

Damião Paridzané was nine years old in 1966 when the Brazilian Air Force loaded him and hundreds of other Xavante Indians onto a cargo plane.

The government, eager to open up the tribe’s fertile slice of central Brazil to commercial agriculture, whisked them 250 miles (400 km) away to a new reservation. Paridzané says many friends died of measles, while others clashed with rival tribes who had been forced onto the same land.

Nearly a half century after their eviction, the Xavantes are back. Paridzané is now chief, resplendent in a headdress of bright green and blue feathers. These days it’s the “white man” being forced to leave. As President Dilma Rousseff’s government tries to redress past wrongs, it has evicted some 7,000 farmers and other settlers and turned their holdings into a reservation so that the Xavantes can return home.

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Brazilian chief uses technology to help save his tribe and curb deforestation

Juan Forero, The Washington Post, 03/27/2013

As a small boy in the early ’80s, Almir Surui hunted monkeys with a bow and arrow, wore a loincloth and struggled with Brazil’s official language, Portuguese.

At 38, he is the tech-savvy, ­university-educated chief of the Paiter Surui, or “the real people,” of this western corner of Brazil.

He can still handle a bow. But Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui says his weapon of choice is technology: Android phones to monitor illegal logging, hand-held Global Positioning System devices to map territory and Google Earth Outreach to show the world what a well-managed forest looks like.

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Brazil police evicts Rio indigenous museum protesters

BBC News, 03/22/2013

A group of indigenous Brazilians has been evicted from the building they had been occupying in Rio de Janeiro for more than six years.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to dislodge the indigenous people from the former museum.

The building is next to the famous Maracana football stadium.

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Brazil: indigenous squatters living by Rio’s Maracana stadium resist eviction; police close in

AP/The Washington Post, 01/12/2013

Police in riot gear surrounded a settlement of indigenous people next to Rio de Janeiro’s storied Maracana stadium on Saturday, preparing to evict them as soon as an expected court order arrived.

The site commander, police Lt. Alex Melo, explained officers were “waiting for the order, and understand it can come at any time.”

But the order still had not arrived after a tense, daylong standoff. Frightened residents wondered why law enforcement came without an order to enter, and federal public defenders who have worked on the protracted legal battle over the space tried to mediate.

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Judge halts construction on Brazil’s Belo Monte dam

Mariano Castillo – CNN, 8/15/2012

(CNN) — A Brazilian court has ordered an immediate halt to construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam project in the Amazon.

It’s the latest twist in a long-brewing battle between the Brazilian government and local indigenous communities over the Belo Monte dam.

The government has backed the construction of what would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam, while activists argue that it would displace thousands of local residents and damage the environment.

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