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Story Publication logo March 19, 2021

Senator Owned Plane With Ties To Illegal Mining Operation on Indigenous Yanomami Land (Portuguese)


Large trees with gnarled roots lining the banks of the Javari river.

"After a long history of decimation, we Indigenous people resisted and our population increased...

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Multiple Authors
Vista aérea de um local de mineração.
Image courtesy of Reporter Brasil/Greenpeace.

The story excerpt below was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Repórter Brasil. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

All day and night, airplanes take off and land from clandestine airstrips that support illegal mining in the Waikás community, within the Yanomami Indigenous Land in the Brazilian state of Roraima. In January and February 2018, among the several aircraft and helicopters spotted flying over the region was the plane with the prefix PT KEM, which at that time was owned by Senator Chico Rodrigues (Democratic Party-Roraima) — an open advocate of mining who in October of last year was caught by the Federal Police trying to hide R$33,000 in his underwear during an operation at his home in Boa Vista.

Reports that this aircraft entered the territory several times are contained in four allegations made by Indigenous organizations to the Federal Police and the Federal Public Ministry in Roraima between 2018 and 2019, obtained by Repórter Brasil.