34 years have passed since the killing of Chico Mendes and 17 from that of the American missionary Dorothy Stang. Now there are two more victims of the ferocity of criminal organizations trying to get their hands on the infinite resources of the Amazon: Bruno Pereira, environmental activist and former coordinator of FUNAI, and Dom Phillips, British journalist of The Guardian, who has been working for years uncovering attempts to plunder the natural wealth of the Amazon.
On June 4, 2022, Bruno and Dom embarked on a boat trip on the Itaquai River, in the direction of Atalaia do Norte, to monitor the existence of illegal fishing and mining of metals from the river bed. Their arrival was expected in the morning of 5 June, but their traces have been lost.
After a few days of searching (at first very unconvinced) by police and army and thanks above all to the commitment of the indigenous community, on 7 June a suspect was arrested, Amarildo da Costa Oliveira, known as “O Pelado”, who on 15 June confessed to the murder and had the remains of Bruno and Dom found. Shotgun shot, quartered and burned.
Vale do Javari, on the border between Brazil, Peru and Colombia, is known as a region where the Brazilian state is practically absent: drug trafficking dominates and illegal fishing, illegal mining of metals and deforestation proliferate. Just think that only 6 agents of the National Public Security Force are deployed to monitor an area of 85 thousand km2, practically as large as South Carolina.
Due to the lack of controls, the rivers of the region are among the favorite routes of drug trafficking (cocaine from Peru and marijuana from Colombia), with the final destination being the large Brazilian market and European squares, and arms trafficking.
In this climate of illegality, the illegal trade in timber, prohibited fishing practices and the search for precious metals on the riverbed also thrive, also prohibited due to the devastating effects on flora and fauna (including mercury contamination).
Bruno Pereira was the coordinator of Funai until 2019 and organized an important operation against the illegal extraction of metals, which led to the destruction of 60 illegal boats. This operation, codenamed “Korubo”, was the last major one organized by Funai, Ibama and Policia Federal against the “garimpeiros”: from that moment the Bolsonaro government began to “dismantle” Funai and Ibama , firing those responsible for taxation operations (including Bruno Pereira).
Today Funai, Ibama and ICMBio are almost empty boxes, from which the government has removed the powers of investigation and intervention on the territory.
In these lands there is the second largest native land in Brazil, with a population of 6300 people of 26 ethnic groups, of which 19 live completely isolated. Those who try to defend their rights are constantly threatened or, in many cases, killed.
Environmental indicators worsen
The level of deforestation in the Amazon in 2021 was the worst in the last 15 years. According to experts, the devastation was motivated not only by the actions and omissions of the government, but also by the speeches and alliances made by Bolsonaro even before his inauguration. According to the researchers, the government not only does not intend to curb criminal activities, but is even trying to legalize them, so that they can run smoothly.
On the government's agenda, the environment and indigenous peoples are an obstacle to the objectives of exploiting the natural resources present in the Amazon. Mocking international organizations, to which it shows constantly false information and data, the Brazilian government continues its criminal effort to transform the Amazon into a territory dominated by militias, large landowners, timber traders and "garimpeiros".