For the last four years Brazil’s rainforests bled. “They bled like never before,” said Felipe Finger as he prepared to venture into the jungle with his assault rifle to staunch the environmental carnage inflicted on the Amazon under the former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.
Moments later Finger, a mettlesome special forces commander for Brazil’s environmental protection agency, Ibama, was airborne in a single-engine helicopter, hurtling over the forest canopy towards the frontline of a ferocious war on nature and the Indigenous peoples who lived here long before Portuguese explorers arrived more than 500 years ago.
The group’s objective was Xitei, one of the most isolated corners of the Yanomami Indigenous territory on Brazil’s northern border with Venezuela. Tens of thousands of illegal miners devastated the region during Bolsonaro’s environmentally calamitous 2019-2023 presidency, hijacking Indigenous villages, banishing health workers, poisoning rivers with mercury, and prompting what his leftist successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has called a premeditated genocide.
As Finger’s aircraft swooped down into a muddy clearing beside a Yanomami village, a handful of those miners scurried into the forest in their wellies in an attempt to avoid capture.
For the rest of this article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/28/brazilian-force-driving-out-mining-gangs-indigenous-yanomami-territory-bolsonaro