Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Protest Agribusiness and Biofuels

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Rainforest Action Network reports this protest in Brazil, Thursday December 14

“Rainforest Action Network (RAN) issued its support for a major protest of US Agribusiness and biofuels expansion staged by the Mobilization of Indigenous People of the Cerrado (MOPIC) in Campo Grande, Brazil. More than 300 MOPIC members representing more than 35 distinct Indigenous cultures attended the protest, shutting down major city streets for several hours as they held their traditional Buriti palm trunk race. The protest ended with the delivery of a letter from MOPIC to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.”

The protest was part of the conference called in this statement, issued by the Mobilização dos Povos Indígenas do Cerrado on December 6:

The Indigenous Peoples’ Movement of the Cerrado, a political movement integrated by several Indigenous peoples in Brazil, will host its First General Assembly in the village of Cachoeirinha- T.I. Terena – Mato Grosso do Sul (MS).

Participants include Indigenous peoples from the Brazilian states of MT, MS, TO, MA, MG and SP, as well as guests from Venezuela and Bolívia. There will be a series of discussions and debates including the following: Indigenous Prisons, Agrarian Issues, Environmental Legislation, Agribusiness, Biofuels and Indigenous Politics.

A proposal document addressed to various Brazilian governmental groups as well as to various grassroots organizations in the USA, Venezuela, Bolívia and Cuba will be drafted at the end of the meeting.

A protest will take place on Campo Grande’s main avenue (Afonso Pena) on December 14 featuring the Buriti Palm Trunk Race followed by a march to the Legislative Assembly where group leaders and runners will deliver the trunks as part of an act symbolizing the fight and the resistance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Cerrado.

The main objective of the event mentioned above is:

  1. to denounce (both at national and international levels) and to take the necessary steps against the Indigenous persecutions and incarcerations in Mato Grosso do Sul;
  2. to give visibility to the Cerrado, in particular the discrimination of the Indigenous peoples’ and the lack of attention of the biome and its peoples due to the fact that the focus of global attention is the Amazônia only
  3. to strengthen the Indigenous peoples of the Cerrado that face severe marginalization due the expansion of ethanol production and refinery construction in the region;
  4. to draft a document/proposal addressing the demands and the rights of the Indigenous population of the Cerrado.

Worthy of mention is that these peoples are prepared to declare direct opposition to both federal and state governments in case their demands are not met.

The country’s current political position is very unfavorable and disrespectful towards the Indigenous peoples of the Cerrado whom are on the verge of having their millenary culture, lifestyle and wisdom destroyed by the current political administration.

Based on the above considerations, we urge all supporters and institutions around the world to support this very important political effort and act of resistance of the Indigenous peoples’ of the Cerrado.

Coordination / Executive Commission
Indigenous Peoples’ Movement of the Cerrado

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