Monday, September 19, 2016

No respite for Brasil's Indians

Brazil's National Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEA) found problems faced by indigenous people of Mato Grosso do Sul state.  During a visit to the region, CONSEA members have seen a large number of people in penury, hunger, and extreme poverty. Communities facing the most serious difficulties are located in areas in land disputes between landowners and indigenous people.

"From a nutritional point of view, there are visible cases of malnutrition. There are low birth-weight babies, many debilitated elderly," reported Mato Grosso do Sul CONSEA's President Vânia Almeida, who went on the visit to the region.   Vânia Almeida said that land disputes has prevented indigenous people from buying food, since many landowners are also the owners of markets and refuse to sell their products to people who occupy lands which are still under dispute. "We saw children being fed on chicha, which is a fermented corn drink. The water used comes from a river source that is heavily contaminated, dirty, where animals drink," she reported.

The president of Inter-Ministerial Chamber for Food and Nutritional Security of Mato Grosso do Sul, Ana Lucia Américo, said, "Society is very aggressive towards the indigenous people. We went to places where the indigenous people could not go to a certain gas station because landowners from that town do not like them."

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