Indigenous People in Brazil Swear to Fight for Amazon To Last Drop of Blood

Published August 23, 2019

Indigenous Mura people prepare for resistance.

Indigenous Mura people in Canutama, Brazil painted their bodies with orange-red paint and took up long bows and clubs as they headed into the jungle this week, prepared for battle against logging companies, who are destroying the rainforest with the support of the fascist Bolosonaro regime.

More than 18,000 Mura people live in Amazonas state, the largest state in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

Logging companies have cleared away an area the size of several football fields near their village, leaving a broad dirt hole in the ground pockmarked by the treads of heavy machinery.

“With each passing day, we see the destruction advance: deforestation, invasion, logging,” said Handerch Wakana Mura, one of several leaders of a tribal clan of more than 60 people.

“We are sad because the forest is dying at every moment. We feel the climate changing and the world needs the forest.”

Indeed, Amazon deforestation has surged 67% in the first seven months of the year from the same period a year ago, as the Bolsonaro reigme has ramped up environmental destruction.

Forest fires were up more than 80% in the country year-to-date, hitting their highest point since at least 2013.

Everywhere in the region around the Mura village, pockets of fire were raging.

The fascist President Jair Bolsonaro has called for the development of protected reserves and railed against environmental fines, emboldening loggers and farmers who seek to clear the land, sometimes by setting fires.

Deforestation in the area began four years ago, and only last year were loggers and those extracting rocks to build a nearby roadway forced out.

Logging subsequently jumped across the roadway, with a huge area of downed trees visible by drone.

When that abated, the Mura people came upon a path through the jungle nearby that had recently been hewn with chainsaws and machetes - a logging path and the first sign of a new area that would be targeted.

This time, the path runs particularly close to a group of Brazil nut trees the clan harvests, a major traditional food source for indigenous people in the area, Handerch Wakana Mura and other tribal leaders say.

The Mura clan plans to fight against loggers and others exploiting the land through militant resistance.

The clan says it will be a tough battle, with Bolsonaro having vowed not to set aside any more tribal land.

Leader Raimundo Praia Belem Mura, a 73-year-old who has lived on the land his entire life, has vowed to fight to the bitter end.

“For this forest, I will go on until my last drop of blood,” he said.