The President, Jair Bolsonaro, wants to exploit the "lung of the earth" in partnership with the US and "review" indigenous reserves so that native Indians can sell their lands.
The Brazilian President said he proposed the exploitation of the Amazon region in partnership with the US during his meeting with Donald Trump. "When I was with Trump, I talked with him [and told him] that I want to open the Amazon region for him [so we can] exploit it in partnership. As it is, we are going to lose the Amazon, that area is vital for the world," said Bolsonaro during an interview with radio network Jovem Pan.
In an interview with Pan journalist Augusto Nunes, broadcast on Monday night on the occasion of the new government's first 100 days, Bolsonaro promised to review indigenous reserves in the Amazon region, slammed what he described as the "reserves industry," and openly said he wants to "exploit the Amazon region with the United States."
"I will review as many indigenous reserves as I can," he said. Bolsonaro also argued that indigenous and 'quilombola' communities should be able to "sell or exploit" their lands "as they see fit," and slammed what he described as the "reserves industry," which "makes any project in the Amazon unfeasible."
When asked what he meant by losing the Amazon, Bolsonaro claimed that the UN is holding talks with indigenous communities to discuss the possibility of creating new countries within Brazil, and accused a minority within the National Indigenous Communities Foundation (Funai) of curtailing the development of the region to "make money on Indians."
In the interview, Bolsonaro also criticized what he described as the indigenous reserves "industry," which, according to him, prevents development projects in the Amazon region. Citing accusations from big farmers, Bolsonaro said that many reserves were created on the basis of "suspicious reports."
The President added that he wants to "review" as many reserves as he can and argued that native Indians should be able to sell these lands. "Native Indians are human beings, just like you and me. They want electricity, they want a dentist to pull that aching tooth, they want doctors, they want internet," he argued.
According to the Constitution, the state has the duty to demarcate indigenous reserves, which are areas dedicated to the sustainability of native communities. Indigenous reserves exist in all Brazilian states, span about 14% of the country's territory, and, except in extraordinary situations, cannot be exploited by outsiders.