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After 25 years, Indian Foundation to be Headed by Military Leader Once Again

05/10/2017 - 15h27

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RUBENS VALENTE
FROM BRASÍLIA

After 25 years of being run by civilians, FUNAI (the National Indian Foundation) will once again by headed by a military leader.

On Tuesday (the 9th), Minister Eliseu Padila (Presidential Chief of Staff) nominated Army General Frandlimberg Ribeiro de Freitas, 61, as interim chief. Until January of this year he had been an institutional relations aide to the CMA (Amazon Military Command).

The last military leader to head FUNAI was Air Force Sergeant Cantídio Guerreiro, during part of the Fernando Collor government, from August 1990 to July 1991.

Since the beginning of Michel Temer's government in May of last year and after the removal of Dilma Rousseff from the Presidency, the General is the fourth person to head FUNAI. Dilma's tenure, however, wasn't exactly stable for the agency either. There were four different presidents during a four-year period.

The General is replacing Antonio Costa, who was fired last week. In an interview, Costa said that he was leaving due to pressure and "political interference" and that the Justice Minister, Osmar Serraglio (PMDB-PR Party), is a "minister with a mission", in apparent reference to agribusiness.

In a written communication, Serraglio declared that there had been a demand, coming from the state government of Roriama, for Costa to speed up internal FUNAI processes to facilitate the construction of an energy transmission line that would cut through the indigenous Vaimiri Atroari land. The project has been resisted by indigenous peoples, but Eletronorte, in a consortium with a construction company, has said that it will carry out the project at an estimated cost of R$2 billion (US$ 625 million).

On Tuesday (the 9th), APIB (Indigenous Peoples' Articulator), the largest organization of indigenous peoples' in Brazil, repudiated the nomination.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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