Are all women gold diggers

After renewed death threats from gold diggers: Two Munduruku women flee

The death threat came via WhatsApp and also via the local radio wave transmitter with which the residents of the remote region on the Tapajós, in Amazonia, communicate with one another. The message was clear: Patience was exhausted and those who opposed gold prospecting would no longer be tolerated. They'll be killed.

The recipient of the death threat: Kabaiwun Munduruku, 33 years old, formerly known as Leusa Munduruku, now known as Kabaiwun Munduruku, mother of five. The perpetrators: gold prospectors illegally searching for gold in the Terra Indigena Munduruku and the Terra Indígena Sai Cinza, with heavy equipment, with mercury, to separate the gold, which pollutes the rivers to such an extent that there are now hardly any indigenous people living near the river Mercury levels in the body would not be alarmingly high with multi-million dollar equipment paid for by wealthy urban backers. And those who operate the machines on site, clear the trees illegally, dig up the ground, poison the soil and water and leave lunar landscapes behind, always with a rifle or pistol at hand, who issue the death threats and who everyone knows they would not hesitate either to use their weapons, they are also indigenous Munduruku. The split tactic worked.

Alessandra Munduruku is also exposed to a similar threat. Alessandra was in Berlin in September 2019 as a guest of the ASW and the FDCL, took part in the Berlin climate strike demo of "Fridays for Future" on September 20, 2019, spoke to tens of thousands of students at the Brandenburg Gate. Now she too, like Kabaiwun, had to flee with her family to a secret location, because the death threats have gotten out of hand, cars with darkened windows are chasing her, and she was ostentatiously filmed, as reported by partner organizations.

It is too dangerous for the two women to stay where they live. Only in the indigenous village community of Aldeia can they not stay, because the way out and in would be too dangerous, staying in the city is also not an issue, also too dangerous. The only option for both women was to move with their families to another area for a while with the help of friendly organizations. In a secret place there is primarily only one thing: survive.

Both women are in acute danger of death because of their role as leaders of the indigenous people in the resistance against the countless attacks on their people's territory. The powerful and dangerous opponent: Garimpo, the gold rush. The Munduruku are one of the largest ethnic groups in the country, with territories along the Tapajós, the basin that connects the Amazon forest with the Cerrado. The metropolitan area includes three states, Pará, Amazonas and Mato Grosso. Not only is the region suffering from illegal logging and major government projects such as dams, soy, monocultures of all kinds and the pesticides associated with them, but it is also one of the main gold mining targets in the country today. Kabaiwun and Alessandra's complaints in the media, in court and in parliament to prevent all these projects threatening the very existence of the Munduruku community provoked the outrage of a Munduruku group advocating Garimpo in indigenous areas. It's about the money, as is so often the case.

"Now those who defend the Garimpo are showing their true colors," Kabaiwun told the background portal of Repórter Brasil yesterday no more fear, "complains Kabaiwun. "Some relatives have already been deceived, contaminated by the pariwat [white] ideology that one must exploit the territory with them in order to get a share." For Kabaiwun, however, it is clear that it is a minority, formed mainly by men: "It is a small group of indigenous people who are attracted by the entrepreneurs who are exploiting our area. We women are here to say this must not happen because it is our children's lives that are at stake. "And she reiterates," I think if the women weren't in combat, all the men would be there be and sell the area, unfortunately ".

Although viewed as a minority, the pro-garimpo indigenous group has received open support from the federal government. In August 2020, Environment Minister Ricardo Salles received a group of seven Munduruku miners in Brasilia, who were brought to the capital by the Brazilian Air Force from Jacareacanga (PA). After a conversation behind closed doors, the Defense Ministry even suspended operations to combat the illegal garimpo in the region. The State Prosecutor's Office of the State of Pará (MPF / PA) initiated an investigation into the use of the FAB's military aircraft to transport the group; no one has yet been held responsible for it. Not to mention the prospectors. "It was their strategy to get the Munduruku [to Brasília] who wanted to negotiate the territory. They really came to divide our people," says Kabaiwun.

Today these two women, Kabaiwun and Alessandra, are among the most important spokesmen in the defense of Munduruku territory. Years ago they founded the women's resistance organization Wakoborun, which organizes and educates women and thus initiated enormous empowerment processes among women. That of course stirs up hatred, hatred in some of the men. The internal conflicts between the more than 14,000 indigenous Munduruku - divided into more than a hundred villages - over the Garimpo in the area are old. However, the current political situation under a Bolsonaro government that does not care about environmental degradation and wants to promote illegal mining in the Amazon has given a boost to the group of indigenous peoples who are hoping for the Reibach gold rush. While the gold price is reaching historic records on the world markets, the Bolsonaro federal government continues to promote mining on indigenous land. Last February, President Jair Bolsonaro sent Bill 191/2020 to Congress to legalize this activity.

Kabaiwun was born and raised in Alto Tapajós, where she saw the fever for gold flare up in some men. "Today young people only want gold. It's very sad and it's getting more every day." She says that greed is gripping more and more people in the communities and she regrets that her people's culture is being lost. That is why she is dedicated to educating people about the effects of Garimpo. But now Kabaiwun Munduruku just like Alessandra Munduruku had to get to safety first. It would be too dangerous for the two women at the moment to continue the fight on the ground without adequate protection, for which the state is actually responsible.

// christian russau