Green martyrs

Brazilian indigenous activist killed in ambush

Violence against indigenous people has increased after Bolsonaro took office

Paulino Guajajara. Photo: Survival International

The war against indigenous people in Brazil has made yet another fatal victim. On Friday, a 26-year-old Guajajara indigenous leader was murdered by loggers in the Amazon region. Paulo Paulino Guajajara was ambushed and shot dead by hired bandits who have grown bolder under the new fascist government.

According to Mongabay, Paulino was shot in the head in the Araribóia Reserve in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The death was confirmed Friday night (1) via Mídia Ninja, an alternative communication network.

Paulo was one of 120 indigenous leaders who formed a group called “Guardians of the Forest”, who risk their lives to protect the forest from illegal loggers in what is deemed one of the most dangerous forest reserves in the country. They also act to protect the Awá Guajá people, an uncontacted group of hunter-gatherers who Survival International describe a one of the most threatened tribes in the world.

In a press statement, Survival International quoted Paulino from a statement made earlier this year: “I am so angry at the destruction of the forest. Those people think they can destroy our homes and forests. We will not allow it. We do not invade their homes, do we? My blood is boiling, I am very angry,” he said.

“It is time to put an end to institutionalized genocide! Stop authorizing the bloodshed of our people,” said Sônia Guajajara, an indigenous activist currently on a tour of Europe to denounced the racism and violence of the federal government.

Indigenous people are seen by the fascist neo-liberal government as an obstacle to what is in the ground, that is, minerals. Destroying them through deforestation, thus paving the way for land-grabbing, is part of the neocolonialist strategy, bolstered by a constant stream of hate speech portraying indigenous people as lazy, naive and greedy.


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