Brazil: New president makes agriculture ministry responsible for indigenous people's lands in a win for agribusiness

Author: Thomson Reuters in CBC News (Canada), Published on: 8 January 2019

"Brazil's new president gives Agriculture Ministry power to decide on Indigenous lands", 02 Jan 2018

Brazil's newly inaugurated president issued an executive order...making the Ministry of Agriculture responsible for deciding on lands claimed by Indigenous peoples, in a victory for agribusiness that will likely enrage environmentalists. During his... campaign,...Bolsonaro said he was considering placing Indigenous affairs under the Ministry of Agriculture, alleging lands should be opened to commercial activities that are currently banned. Bolsonaro has now decided to move Indigenous affairs agency FUNAI into a new ministry for family, women and human rights. As a result, key decisions on land claims will be in the hands of an Ministry of Agriculture with deep ties to Brazil's powerful farm sector. Critics say Bolsonaro's plan to open Indigenous reservations to commercial activity will destroy native cultures and languages... Environmentalists say the local Indigenous peoples are the last custodians of the Amazon,...which is vital for climate stability. A former army captain, Bolsonaro [said] he had freed the country from "socialism and political correctness." His supporters hope he will cut through red tape to kick-start the economy, tackle violent drug gangs and run a graft-free government. Others fear he will unleash bloodshed by making guns more readily available and roll back social victories for minorities.

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