Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration fears that his demarcation policy for the lands of the natives will be questioned during the Bishops’ Synod on Amazonia that is to take place at the Vatican in October 2019.
According to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo on February 12, 2019, the Brazilian government’s worries are due to the promotion of left-wing theories promoted by a “progressivist clergy” that has made ecology its hobbyhorse, especially “since the arrival of Pope Francis.”
General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro, head of the Ministry of Security, spoke in no uncertain terms of the upcoming Bishops’ Synod: “We believe it is an interference in an internal Brazilian issue,” he declared to Estado.
According to the same newspaper, information transmitted by the Brazilian intelligence agency (Abin) reveals discreet meetings in the United States to prepare the synod, meetings the government sees as “worrisome”.
In order to understand where the bone of contention is coming from, readers need to know that on January 1, 2019, Jair Bolsonaro placed the demarcation of the lands attributed to the indigenous peoples under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture.
This ministry – that will soon merge with the Ministry of Ecology – has been attributed to Tereza Cristina, federal deputy of the Mato Grosso do Sul, an agronomist accused by the media of being too close to the interests of the major companies of the food industry.
This was enough for President Bolsonaro’s opponents to see the new demarcation policy (demarcação) as a silver platter handing over the ancestral lands of the Indians to the voracity of the food-processing lobbies and as a danger for deforestation.
General Heleno Ribeiro warned: “The policy on Amazonia is a matter of national defense, it is Brazil’s sovereignty that is at stake.” Nine months from the synod, he could not have been clearer.