In the Amazon, the heart of darkness

Ranjani Shettar (1977), Seven Ponds and a Few Drops of Rain, 2017.


The plot that exposes the networks of interests of our authoritarian capitalism

The murder of Amazonian heroes Bruno Pereira and Don Philipps (it should be said like this) in full swing in the investigations they were carrying out into illegal activities in the remote regions of the Javari Valley in the extreme west of the Amazon, in addition to the worldwide commotion it aroused, brought to us , with solar evidence, the project of pirate capitalism that serves as the compass of orientation of the Bolsonaro government, presented without subterfuge in a ministerial meeting of unfortunate memory in the ides of June.

It was there that the program of systematic deforestation of the forest for the purpose of expanding agribusiness was announced, opening the way for the cattle, in the expression of its Minister of the Environment, in the presence of its Minister of Agriculture, when scandalous manifestations of predatory nature of our institutions and the values ​​cultivated by what is best in our national traditions.

What the country and the world did not know until the tragic outcome of the murder of the Amazonians Bruno and Don was that there were men with the temper of heroes who, even unprotected and lacking in resources, fought to defend the forest and its peoples, facing mortal risks, denouncing, even if with little vocalization power to public opinion, national and foreign, the crimes against the homeland that were practiced there.

Their criminal execution uncovered universal horror – someone already recalled the book's purpose. heart of darkness of Joseph Conrad – the cruelty to which the natives of the region were exposed, particularly the indigenous people, objects of predatory exploitation carried out by a network of small interests that were at the service of large capitalist interests, including sectors of drug trafficking and drug trafficking. weapons, in expansive movements that aimed to bring under control a large part of the immense natural resources available there.

The criminal occupation of that region cannot be covered up for the cynical reason that the State was leagues away there, although it had a history of presence, even if rudimentary, squandered by the action of the Bolsonaro government in its policy of opening a royal road for the passage of herds, pastures, mining, logging and everything that could be converted into an object of profit by the action of fortune hunters, agents of free enterprise in the language of our ruler, in a filibuster capitalism renamed with the solemn name of defense of national sovereignty.

It will be from this remote place in the forest that, through the fearless action of local intellectuals allied with indigenous people and segments of the Amazonian population, aware of the need for dialogue with national and foreign public opinion and with university circles, especially those linked to universities in the Amazon, that will the most significant movement to date, due to the external and internal resonance it provokes, in the strategic environmental issue for Brazilian democracy.

From there, the plot unfolds that lays bare the networks of interests of our authoritarian capitalism, in the old conceptualization of the anthropologist Octávio Velho, whose roots were and are rooted in the agrarian world, solidly defended by the repressive apparatuses available to the expansive movements of capital among us. . Emancipate the region from the Amazon frontiers of organized crime, protect it by a democratic State in what may become the mission of the current initiative of the Senate in establishing a commission to find out what is happening in the Javari valley, since it is from there that we will have to decipher the sinister project underway to establish a new flowering of authoritarian capitalism in the country.

The tragic episode that victimized our brave Amazonians, bringing to the center of the agenda of the civilized world the dominant themes in the daily resistance in which they lived, is an example of the transforming role that the conviction founded on the ideals of justice is capable of operating.

*Luiz Werneck Vianna is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). Author, among other books, of The Passive Revolution: Iberism and Americanism in Brazil (Revan).


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