Bolsonaro's special secretary of land affairs, Luiz Antonio Nabhan Garcia, today attributed part of the blame for the fires in the Amazon region to indigenous peoples who, he said, "practice" this as a "custom."
As a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, he attended a public hearing of the Senate Environment Committee to discuss the problem of burning and illegal activities such as mining and clandestine logging. Ibama President Eduardo Bim Fortunato was one of the invitees but did not attend.
Nabhan said the region's farmers have been holding farms with consolidated pastures for at least five decades and that they cannot be confused with people involved in criminal activity. The secretary is a rancher and former president of UDR (Rural Democratic Union).
"These people have been there for five or six decades and need to be effectively respected, not confused with illegal loggers, illegal prospectors, and a practice adopted by most indigenous communities, which are the burnings that indigenous communities make," he said.
The ruralist said he knew the subject "in-depth" and that "every year the indigenous community itself uses this burning practice." One of the goals would be, for example, "that new grass may come." "Anyway, it's their culture."
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon