Brazil’s Criminal Groups Hamper Fight Against Illegal Mining in the Amazon – by Nelza Oliveira (Dialogo-Americas – August 23, 2023)

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Brazil’s largest criminal groups, the First Command of the Capital (PCC) and the Red Command (CV), have been working together with illegal miners in the Amazon, hampering government efforts to eradicate mining and contributing to increased violence in Brazil’s Yanomami reservation, the largest indigenous territory in the world and home to approximately 30,000 indigenous people.

The criminals provide heavy machinery and weapons to miners, acting as security guards at certain sites, and helping to transport mined gold out of the Amazon. They also run prostitution and narcotrafficking rings on Yanomami land.

“Why has the protection of Yanomami territory gone on without any deaths for months and during the last few weeks there have been armed clashes? Because these exact sectors that remain in the territory are linked to criminal groups,” Brazil’s Minister of Justice Flávio Dino, told the press on May 18.

In late April, illegal miners shot at teams from the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and agents of the Federal Highway Police as they carried out an inspection in an illegal mining area on Yanomami land.

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