Brazilian president Lula da Silva enforces strict deforestation measures to save Amazon

Invoking assistance from the ancestors during a ritual cleansing, Brazil’s new director of Indigenous relations recently strolled through every area of the organization’s offices, including its coffee lounge.

Joenia Wapichana, the first Indigenous woman in Brazil to lead the organisation tasked with safeguarding the Amazon rainforest and its inhabitants, gave the rite a special significance. When she takes office as President Luiz Inacio da Silva’s successor next month, Wapichana pledges to make changes at the agency that some contend has permitted the exploitation of the Amazon’s riches at the expense of the environment.

Indigenous people and representatives of the government joyously yelled “Yoohoo! Funai, the organisation she will head, is ours.

Lula’s tight victory over former President Jair Bolsonaro depended on environmentalists, Indigenous people, and voters who supported their causes. Now, Lula is attempting to carry out the promises he made to them during the campaign, including increasing Indigenous territory and putting an end to a spike in illegal deforestation.

To achieve these objectives, Bolsonaro has military commanders and well-known environmentalists assume critical posts at Funai and other organisations. Lula is replacing them with Indigenous people and well-known environmentalists.

Lula’s performance on environmental and indigenous concerns in his first two mandates was inconsistent. Additionally, Bolsonaro-supporting state governors who continue to hold sections of the Amazon will undoubtedly provide challenges. However, analysts concur that Lula’s initial actions are sound.

According to George Porto Ferreira, an analyst at Ibama, Brazil’s environmental law enforcement agency, Lula has already appointed top federal officials who have the national and international prestige to reverse all the environmental damage we have suffered during the Bolsonaro government’s four years.

Bolsonaro’s supporters,however, said Lula’s promise of stronger environmental protections will harm the economy by reducing the amount of land available for development, and punishing people for activities that had previously been permitted. Rioters stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Court earlier this month, and supporters ties to agribusiness have been accused of providing financial and logistical support.

It was during Bolsonaro’s presidency that Funai and other agencies responsible for environmental oversight were defanged, allowing deforestation to soar to its highest level since 2006 as developers and miners took Indigenous lands without consequence.