Feeling a mixture of shame and desire to show the world what is happening in Brazil, we awaited Bolsonaro’s speech at the opening of the UN Assembly. Reality surpassed expectations and although nothing was said to be new. The discourse explained to the world the thinking of the Brazilian government. Amazonia and the indigenous peoples occupied 11 of the 31 minutes of a speech that was also marked by successive talks about how the country is “rising” and overcoming an ideological system of thought that was advancing in the fields of culture, families, schools, universities and the souls of the people.
Behind the surreal discourse, however, is a project for the Amazon region, a “new Amazon operation” that cannot exist without penetrating the Indigenous Lands. Nothing more explicit about this than the two main mentions recorded in the speech: Agriculture and mining in Indigenous Lands. This, of course, in addition to the statement that there will be no new demarcations.
Although the introduction of the topic “Amazonia” was eagerly awaited, the president reinforced the narrative that has already been worked out exhaustively by Minister Ricardo Salles, of the Environment, and other public agents, without obtaining great results with international interlocutors, to know:
• The supremacy of the developmental discourse on the social and environmental approach as an instrument to combat poverty;
• The need for an investment agenda that fights “the Amazon demographic vacuum” and promotes the protection of national sovereignty;
• The elimination of what was recently dubbed the “ecoideology”, understood as a supervisory and protective culture of traditional peoples and communities; and
• Criticism of the economic and financial interests of internationally connected civil society organizations.
In the government’s view, such measures will facilitate a better quality of life in impoverished areas of the Amazon by stimulating indigenous entrepreneurship, health and education.
For this reason, the president calls for a “new indigenous policy in Brazil”, which he considers more modern, which we can also interpret as more colonizing. An advance that does not respect the rights and lifestyles of traditional peoples and communities for growth.
If it is true, however, that president Bolsonaro’s speech sets before us a seemingly inescapable abyss, it is also true that every extreme situation sharpens the imagination and encourages the elaboration of outputs.
Although serious, we want to think of the abyss not as an end, but as a means that raises movements and society and drives the defense of the Amazon. This is the first and crucial move to address the horror the president has set before us.