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Project April 16, 2020

Thirty Years Later: Brazil's Reconquered Democracy



In 1987, leaders of rubber tappers and Indigenous peoples joined together to demand the demarcation of Indigenous areas and the creation of extractive reserves. After 21 years of dictatorship, democracy was returning and the constituent assembly was about to begin. Pressure from the Peoples of the Forest Alliance was fundamental for the inclusion in the new constitution of Indigenous rights and environmental protection.

30 years have gone by so what happened to these leaders? The project intends to recount their trajectories, discussing the advances and retreats of the policies to protect forest peoples during the last three decades. Some have died (like the emblematic Chico Mendes) and others have disappeared from the media. But most have continued the fight and this team will find them and talk to them. Among these survivors are rubber tappers Raimundão (Chico Mendes's cousin) and Osmarino Amâncio and Indigenous leaders Davi Kopenawa, Marcos Terena, Ailton Krenak, and Paiakã Kayapó.

The team will also interview other less well-known leaders and will build a panorama of the struggles, advances, and defeats of which they were the protagonists as Brazil reconquered democracy.