© Sarah Shenker/Survival International
A statement from the Guajajara Guardians of Arariboia Indigenous Territory, Brazil
We’ve lost a great warrior in our fight. They murdered our friend, our brother, our tireless companion in the defence of the forest, Paulo Paulino “Lobo” Guajajara.
We’re mourning and our hearts are hurting.
Lobo was killed because he defended our land. Our forest that gives us everything. Our forest without which we cannot live. Lobo was killed for defending life.
There is so much evil in this world. The loggers want to kill us to steal our trees and make money. We are not violent to them, but they are heavily armed. They threaten us. They kill us. They killed our friends, our fellow Guardians Cantidi, Assis and Afonso. And now they’ve killed Lobo.
But his death will not be in vain. It makes us sad and angry, but it gives us strength. One more warrior has been planted in the soil. It will give us the strength to keep fighting to protect our forest for our families, and for the survival of our uncontacted Awá relatives. We will never give up.
We cannot give up because we have a great battle ahead. The government has declared itself our enemy. President Bolsonaro said he will not protect indigenous lands. He and others want to open our land to agribusiness. We will never accept that!
We want the government to fulfil its duty to help us defend our forest from illegal invaders and destruction. We want proper security for our land and our lives.
We want the government to investigate Lobo’s murder, and the attack on him and our fellow Guardian Tainaky. We want the killers and the logging mafias behind bars.
We’ve been denouncing the threats and crimes against us for a long time. Lobo and all of us Guardians had often warned the authorities that we could be attacked and killed at any time. Nothing was done. And Lobo was murdered.
Where is justice? We demand justice!
We will continue our struggle to rid our land of loggers. We know it’s working. We’re managing to greatly reduce the destruction.
The protection of our land and its biodiversity has always been our struggle and always will be. It does not depend on politics or money. It is simply a matter of life and death for us, our relatives and future generations.
While we are alive, we will fight for Lobo. We will fight to the last drop of our blood. And we will win. The health of the planet depends on this struggle.
We ask everyone to support our work to defend the lungs of the planet and to defend life. For Lobo, and for everyone, let’s fight to the end.