Fear of a “New Genocide”: The Coronavirus Affects More Than a Hundred Indigenous Ethnic Groups in Brazil

The natives denounce Bolsonaro’s policies and affirm that the president seeks to take advantage of the pandemic to occupy their territories, as the chief of the Huni Kuin people told RT.

With 990 deaths from coronavirus in one day, Brazil has almost 56,000 fatalities, according to the latest government figures. However, the disease does not only affect large cities, but has also reached more than a hundred indigenous ethnic groups, most of them settled in the Brazilian Amazon.

A group made up of native leaders points out that more than 7,000 natives have been infected in the communities and that the fatalities exceed 300 people. These figures would be higher than the official data presented by the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (Sesai), the entity of the Brazilian Ministry of Health in charge of monitoring these cases.

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A “new genocide”
Local media warn of the rapid spread of the virus among the peoples. A month ago they already realized that the disease affected 44 ethnic groups.

Given the low presence of the State in these localities, the indigenous peoples feel an increase in the feeling of vulnerability, even raising concerns about having to face a “new genocide”.

The natives also denounce the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro and stress that the president seeks to take advantage of the situation to occupy their territories. This was expressed by the chief of the Huni Kuin people in conversation with RT, who says that since the beginning of his term, Bolsonaro ” has tried to violate the rights of indigenous peoples.”

“He wanted to push the country’s elites to seize indigenous territories to develop the mining and oil industries in our towns, and build dams to generate electricity,” he said.

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The indigenous leader also stressed that the indigenous communes that are settled in the state of Acre “are directly affected by the coronavirus.” He said that in seven of the towns people with symptoms of the disease have been detected and several deaths have already occurred.

In this context, the chief of the Huni Kuin people denounces that “adequate assistance has not yet been received” to combat the outbreak . “We do not have quality or adequate aid that takes into account the cultural and geographical features of our community,” he explains.

To confront the situation, the leader says that “it is essential to carry out preventive work”, but for this they require supplies, such as disinfectant products, soap, masks and rapid tests.

In addition, he stressed that they have launched their own fundraising campaign to provide food to those most in need and thus to help strengthen their immune system.

 

 

Featured image: Indigenous of the Satere Mawe ethnic group in Manaus, Brazil. June 3, 2020. Photo: Bruno Kelly / Reuters

(Actualidad RT)

OT/JRE