Much to the chagrin of environmentalists, Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro has done exactly what was expected of him. Mere a few hours after taking office, Bolsonaro transferred the responsibility for regulating and creating new indigenous reserves to the agriculture ministry – which has close ties to the powerful agribusiness lobby.
The move sparked outcry from indigenous leaders, who said it threatened their reserves, which make up about 13% of Brazilian territory, and marked a symbolic concession to farming interests at a time when deforestation is rising again.
“There will be an increase in deforestation and violence against indigenous people,” said Dinaman Tuxá, the executive coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil (Apib). “Indigenous people are defenders and protectors of the environment.”