Tag Archives: Sebastião Salgado

‘We are on the eve of genocide’: Brazil urged to save Amazon tribes from Covid-19 | World News | Instant News


Brazilian leaders must take immediate action to save the country’s indigenous people from the “genocide” of Covid-19, said the global coalition of artists, celebrities, scientists and intellectuals.

In an open letter to Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, figures including Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, David Hockney and Paul McCartney warned that the pandemic meant indigenous peoples in the Amazon faced “extreme threats to their survival”.

“Five centuries ago, these ethnic groups were destroyed by a disease brought by European invaders … Now, with this new scourge spreading rapidly throughout Brazil … [they] it might disappear completely because they don’t have the means to fight Covid-19, “they wrote.

Organizer petition, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, said survivors including gold miners of wild cats and illegal loggers must be immediately driven out of indigenous land to stop them from importing diseases that have killed more than 240,000 people worldwide, including 6,750 in Brazil.

“We’re on the eve of genocide,” Salgado, who has spent nearly four decades documenting the Amazon and its inhabitants, told the Guardian.

Even before Covid-19, Brazilian indigenous people were locked in what were called activists historic struggle for survival.

Critics accuse Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist in power since January 2019, of stimulating the original reserve invasion and dismantle government institutions that should protect them.

“Indigenous peoples have never been attacked … The government has absolutely no respect for indigenous territories,” Salgado said, pointing to crippling budget cuts and recent dismissal from several prominent environmental officials who target illegal seekers and loggers.

But the letter said the pandemic had made the already bleak view under Bolsonaro even worse by crippling the remaining protective measures.


“As a result, nothing protects indigenous peoples from the risk of genocide caused by infection by outsiders who enter their land illegally,” said the signatories, who also included supermodels Gisele Bündchen and Naomi Campbell, author Mario Vargas Llosa, artist Ai Weiwei, architect Norman Foster and actor Meryl Streep.

Salgado, which documents Rwandan genocide in 1994, warning that 300,000 indigenous people in the Brazilian Amazon face extermination.

“In Rwanda we see violent genocide, attacks, where people are physically killed. “What will happen in Brazil will also mean the death of indigenous people,” said the 76-year-old woman who has spent the past seven years photographing the area for his last big project.

“When you support or encourage actions that you know will eliminate the population or part of the population, this is the definition of genocide … [It will be] genocide because we know this will happen, we facilitate … the entry of coronavirus … [and therefore] permission was given for this native death “

“That means the extinction of the Brazilian indigenous people,” Salgado added.

Covid-19’s fear of destroying indigenous communities grew last month when the death of a Yanomami teenager relive terrible memories of the epidemic caused by road makers and gold seekers in the 1970s and 80s.








Sebastião Salgado: ‘[Allowing coronavirus to enter Amazon communities] will mean the extinction of the Brazilian indigenous people. ‘Photo: David Fernandez / EPA

“In some villages I know measles kills 50% of the population. If Covid does the same thing, it will be a massacre, “said Carlo Zaquini, an Italian missionary who has spent decades working with Yanomami.

Brazilian city so far worst affected by coronavirus is Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, where part of the Yanomami reserve is located.

Salgado – who called for the formation of an army-led task force to drive out intruders from protected areas – acknowledged Bolsonaro would not act of his own volition. But he believes international pressure can force governments to do so, as happened last year when global outrage resulted in the military being mobilized to quell fire on Amazon.

“Only in the Brazilian Amazon we have 103 indigenous groups that have never been contacted – they represent the pre-history of humanity,” Salgado said. “We cannot allow all this to disappear.”

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