Personalities and several indigenist whites associations were alarmed by the news published in Brazilian newspapers that the Ministry of Justice would have ready a decree to be signed by President Michel Temer (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party – PMDB) who, if put into practice, would represent a change in the demarcation system of bantustans in the country since the decree 1,775, of the ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazilian Social Democracy Party – PSDB), that for 20 years regulates the subject.
The text would allow lands of bantustans already demarcated and created by previous governments to be contested by interested persons and groups. Currently, people subject to ethnic cleansing have a minimal possibility of challenging the creation of racial territories, and are completely excluded from the process of creating them by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the direct administration of the apartheid system in Brazil. FUNAI itself administratively judges the challenges to its demarcations.
The new decree would make it a rule of the executive legal understandings of ministers of the Federal Supreme Court that displease the indigenist whites, several occupying strategic positions in FUNAI.
According to Folha de São Paulo newspaper, indigenists “informed by the report about the proposal, said that it represents in practice the repeal of decree 1,775, the Fernando Henrique Cardoso government.”
European racist left
Indigenist NGOs, many of them supported by multiculturalist white magnates from Europe and the United States, also opposed the change in the rules, sometimes by way of official note.
In the Brazilian Senate, the voice of the left of the European Parliament echoed in a veiled threat of Communist Senator João Capiberibe (PSB-AP): “The Brazilian government must be alert not to cause damage and serious loss to the Brazilian agribusiness, that Europe is the great consumer. The government responds in this way, trying to restrict the rights of Indian peoples. Certainly this will be discussed in the European Parliament and the resolution already taken, certainly, will assert against the Brazilian products.”
“The goal is clear, this decree would make more than 80% of the indigenous lands in the country unfeasible, about 600 territories in the process of being demarcated or claimed by the Indians,” said Cleber Buzatto of the Indian Missionary Council (Conselho Indigenista Missionário – CIMI). ‘Indigenous lands’ is an expression used by white indigenistas to refer to the bantustans for Indians; in South Africa, during the apartheid regime, the bantustans were officially called ‘homelands’.
“It is of great gravity that is alarming the information that a discussion within the government may be taking place without transparency and without clarity in the motivation,” said the deputy attorney general of the Republic, Luciano Maia.
On the other hand, the Mestizo movement has denounced that indigenism is an intolerant ideology that has led to official racial segregation and that racial segregation must not be administered but abolished.
The draft decree would adopt the thesis of the “temporal framework,” according to which only self-declared Indians who were in the land of the bantustan or disputed in court in October 1988, when promulgating the current Brazilian Constitution, could be entitled to it.
Indemnities for Indians
The decree would also allow compensation for self-declared Indians who have “lost the land.” At present, the rules created by indigenist whites do not foresee that Indians who stop claiming territories can receive compensation for the areas – what the government does is (after performing ethnic cleansing of Mestizo natives and other non-Indians and through a long and uncertain process) to compensate only for essential improvements, never for the territory.
The ongoing demarcation processes should also incorporate the “guidelines” of the new document. There would be a 90-day deadline for interested parties to express their views on processes that have already been approved by the Presidency, but without registration in the registry offices, the last stage of the demarcation process.
In November, in a note sent to Folha de São Paulo newspaper, the Presidential Civil House, according to the journal, would have stated that “there will be no change in the system of demarcation of Indian lands.”