Monday, January 14, 2008


The history of capitalism is one of death and destruction. Thus the English enclosure acts decimated the agricultural population, the Highland Clearances replaced generations of clans with sheep, the indigenous population of the USA were robbed and murdered, the aborigines of Australia were killed like vermin and now in South America the same pattern emerges."These are the Yanomami; a group of just under 30,000 indigenous people who live in one of the most remote and mysterious regions of the Amazon, a Portugal-sized area of almost pristine jungle, straddling the border between Brazil and Venezuela. For thousands of years the Yanomami have inhabited the region living in an almost identical way, hunters and gatherers, bound by age-old traditions and isolated from the modern world, deep in the world's largest tropical rainforest. But for how long? In the 1980s, some 40,000 illegal wildcat miners poured into the Yanomami's ancestral lands in search of gold. ... According to some sources, before the government expelled the miners in 1992, up to 20% of the Yanomami people died in just seven years. Now the Indians fear history may be about to repeat itself. At the end of last year, the indigenous rights NGO Survival International reported that hundreds of illegal miners - known in Brazil as garimpeiros - were again flocking into Yanomami lands. Activists fear that the miners are likely to unleash a new wave of destruction in the region; bringing violence, alcoholism, disease and prostitution to the region's virtually untouched indigenous villages." Sunday Herald, 13 January) RD

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