The Tapajós river does not divide people and also does not the Munduruku”

In a letter, the indigenous tribe Munduruku denounce arbitrary actions and demand to stop the Operation Tapajós. The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), which closely follows the developments […]

In a letter, the indigenous tribe Munduruku denounce arbitrary actions and demand to stop the Operation Tapajós. The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), which closely follows the developments of the military force, reaffirms alliance with Mundurukus and fears other conflicts with riverside populations.

The river Tapajos is the only major river in the Amazon without dams. In an unprecedented move, which surprised the indigenous and riverside organizations fighting against the construction of dams, the Federal Government sent about 250 members of the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Police and the National Force of Public Safety with the logistic support of the Brazilian Army to ensure the environmental impact studies of the Hydropower Plant São Luiz do Tapajós.

Operation Tapajós, as it is being called, was possible after the president of the republic signed on March 12, 2013, the decree 7957. This decree established the Permanent Bureau of Integrated Management for Environmental Protection (GGI-MA) and  regulated activity of the Armed Forces in environmental protection and pointed the functions of the National Public Security Force regarding the safety of the environment.

On last Thursday, March 28, in the middle of Holy Week holiday, the detachment moved to the Indian Territory Munduruku more precisely to the village Sawré Maybu which could be flooded if the dam is built. The Mundurukus already announced that they are against the construction of dams and are negotiating with the Federal Government on how the prior consultation as provided by the Resolution 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) should be organised.

Locals say that the arrival of the Tapajós Operation in Buburé, another riverside community threatened by dams was like the preparation for war, with police in formation and heavily armed. The main access to the village was being under surveilance with interrogations, photographic records and arbitrary escorts. In the afternoon of the same day, a Brazilian Army helicopter flew over the village several times causing panic.

Juarez Saw Munduku, the village chief, says “they spent half an hour trying to land. They are thinking that they would scare the community and saw them running from side to side. ” He said he was surprised when he heard about the military operation since there is a negotiation process going on with a meeting scheduled on April 10 in Jacareacanga.

“We’re not bad guys, why they are acting like this? They came, put us against a wall, humiliating us, without us being able to go to any corner. This is very worrying. The community was frightened. They should not bring the National Force to do these impact studies. We’re here to talk with them” said. He fears that this operation will end as the one commanded by the Federal Police that resulted in the death of the indigenous Adenilson Kirixi in the Village Teles Pires.

Letter denouncing authoritarianism and intimidation

In repudiation of the Operation Tapajós, the Munduruku issued the “Letter to Justice, for the Government, for the World Society and Indigenous Peoples” denouncing these facts and also the breaking of the agreement on a consultation coordinated by the Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic.

They claim they were “being humiliated and threatened” and that the “Armed Forces are scattered arround the Tapajós River, the transamazonic region and in our territories, intimidating and threatening people, stopping us to navigate our rivers and  freely circulate on our lands and villages. We can not fish, take a bath in the river, hunt, roam arround and live our lives … The government acts on our land like bandits, invading without warning our rivers and territories, destroying the Tapajós river and exploring its wealth. “

They require the immediate removal of the military forces from their territory and reaffirm the unity of the indigenous tribe Munduruku against the construction of dams by saying that “the government is trying to divide the people Munduruku in order to destroy the Tapajós River. But the Tapajós river does not divide and the Munduruku also not “stated.

Riverside populations also feel intimidated

Thiago Alves, board member of MAB in Pará state, who stayed in the village Sawré Maybu on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 of March watching the unfolding of action, claimed that the entire region is scared.

“The community of Pimental is afraid. Though resistance we prevent that there were made performations. And now with the presence of the armed forces we fear that we are obligated by force, to let the impact studies be done and this can end up in conflict” confirmed the Luiz Lima, MAB militant and threatened by dam São Luiz do Tapajós.

“The MAB strengthens its alliance with the Mundurukus in fighting this arbitrariness. It clearly shows how this development project is a farce and does not represent any improvement in the lives of people. It’s time to strengthen and consolidate the grassroot organisation and create increasingly strong alliances between indigenous and riverside populations, fishermen and the whole population, because we can not step back ” concludes.

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| Publicado 21/12/2023 por Coletivo de Comunicação MAB PI

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