Whether Brazil, the U.S. or any other country defunds, attacks, or ignores science, devaluing research and innovation is detrimental to the long-term well-being of any modern society, as well as for the interconnected global community.
Resistance will always face repression if it is strong and poses a real challenge to the elites and the privileged. It will need resources and a community to survive and endure.
We, representatives of 45 indigenous peoples in Brazil, more than 600 participants, were summoned by chief Raoni to meet between January 14 and 18, 2020 in the village Piaraçu (Terra Indígena Capoto Jarina), with the objective of bringing together our forces and denounce that a political project of the Brazilian government of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is underway.
It may come as a shock to Harvard students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the millions of educators and others in the United States whose pensions are managed by TIAA, to learn that these two institutions are deeply and directly invested in this destructive expansion of agribusiness. Over the past twelve years, TIAA and Harvard University have collectively spent over $1 billion on Brazilian farmland, making them two of the largest owners of farmland in the Cerrado.
And now, the Amazon is on fire. Wildfires are incinerating the rainforest at a record pace, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE as it is commonly referenced). INPE recently stated that there has been an 80 percent increase in wildfires in the Amazon, compared to the same period from last year.
The outcome of the indigenous struggle is important to all of us. A Guarani person recently put it this way: ‘If indigenous peoples become extinct and dead, the lives of all are threatened, for we are the guardians of nature. Without forest, without water, without rivers, there is no life, there is no way for any Brazilian to survive.
When social reformers fail to make good on their promises, it is of little surprise that they get punished. Any legitimate State or ruling body needs to maintain the trust of its citizens in order to function. When trust is lost, the vacuum is created for the “strong man” to walk in.
Recent reforms would open oil exploration and development in Mexico to major oil companies for the first time in decades. But it’s instructive to look at what actually happened in Brazil since the time its potential as a major new oil producer was touted several years ago under similar circumstances.
With the media awash in stories telling us how much oil is being discovered around the world, there is one word which the optimists quoted in these stories refuse to utter: Depletion.