Floresta Amazônica - Marcio Nagano.jpg

Amazon: who is interested in a coup d'état?

Professor at State University of Pará and member of the Brazilian Public Security Forum.

Aiala Colares Couto

Translated by Ana Karoliny Gomes, Silvia Benchimol, Ewerton Branco (ET-Multi/UFPA)


The latest events in Brazil, when the three government branches were attacked by extremists claiming for military intervention and doubting the result of the presidential elections, have clearly indicated the threat of a coup over democracy. In fact, the history of Brazil has been marked by coups and attempts to seize power, having the most violent period, known as the "anos de chumbo" [years of lead], that corresponded to the civil-military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

This violent phase of the Brazilian political trajectory during the military governments ended up consolidating the internationalization of the economy, especially with the concession of loans from the World Bank and with the presence of foreign investors. The modernization and acceleration of Brazilian economic growth, undeniably, stemmed from a military technocratic conservatism that imposed over the territory a developmentalist geopolitics, marked by the absence of criticism and popular participation.

Amidst this context, Amazon is seen as a strategic region for the production of wealth and generation of foreign exchange to pay the foreign debt. Here, at this moment, the region is violently inserted in the process of spoliation of natural resources in a coordinated modus operandi involving the State, national private capital and foreign capital, that is, a capitalist alliance that has created the necessary conditions for the various crossings imposed on the territories of the Amazonian peoples (indigenous, quilombolas, riverine people, chestnuts handlers, rubber tappers, etc.).

The current depiction of Amazon is one of total abandonment by the government that has recently ended, as the crimes of deforestation and illegal mining in indigenous territories have contributed not only to an increase in environmental crimes, but also to a process of "militia involvement" of the land issues in the region. These facts endanger not only the Amazon peoples who are located in conflict zones, but also our political stability, they attack our democracy. The term "miliciarização" [militiarization] is a new concept and refers to the emergence of armed groups that provide private security services to landowners, logging companies, and mining "owners". For the agrarian militias, violence is a political device to control and regulate the population and its territories; it imposes a politics of death.

This statement is based on the assumption that business groups and individual entrepreneurs, linked to predatory economic activities, are financiers of radical groups that disrespect human rights, the rights of traditional peoples, and environmental laws, while advocating for closing of the Supreme Court (STF), total liberation of weapons, closing of congress, and ultimately, military dictatorship as a form of government.

Perhaps, the fact that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced important emergency measures for the Amazon, such as reconstitution of FUNAI (National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples), strengthening of policies aimed at indigenous peoples with the creation of a new ministry,  confronting illegal mining and the participation of Brazil as place of the Climate Conference (COP 30) with Belém as a possible host city, have accelerated the hatred and extremism of radicals who do not accept such measures.

For this reason, the geopolitical position of the Amazon in the upcoming government is one of the most strategic in the Brazilian territory, since it does not only involve the responses that Brazil must give in relation to international pressures on the environmental questions. It also involves the resolution of domestic problems, such as the various types of crimes that have materialized in our region. The challenges are huge, but there is also great hope for a country in which intolerance is banished and social justice prevails, especially for vulnerable populations.

Finally, a coup d'état interests criminals, who commit atrocities against indigenous and quilombola peoples, using illegal extraction of wood and minerals from invaded territories. The coup also interests the land grabbers of public lands, that should be used for agrarian reform and incentive to family agriculture. The coup interests the armed militias of the countryside, who provide services to the most varied types of criminals, who dispose of investors to unduly plunder the wealth of the region, thus the coup interests those who flirt with fascism.