Sônia Guajajara: Lula will reposition Brazil in the global debates on climate change

The federal deputy was interviewed by Central do Brasil and talked about the Ministry of Native Peoples

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | Rio de Janeiro (RJ) |
This Monday (7), the Federal Deputy-elect gave an exclusive interview - Reprodução/YouTube

Federal Deputy-elect Sônia Guajajara (Socialism and Liberty Party, São Paulo state) said that the government of president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) will “reposition Brazil” in the international debates on climate change.

Sônia will be part of the Brazilian delegation at the 2022 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27), an ongoing event taking place in Egypt. This Monday (7), she gave an exclusive interview to Central do Brasil, a TV show by Brasil de Fato in partnership with TVT. Her remarks also included the expectation of the Indigenous movement to create a Ministry of Native Peoples, as Lula announced.

One of the favorite names to take on the ministry, Sônia said that the issue is still being discussed. She stated that the members of the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib, in Portuguese) met last week to talk about the subject matter and are waiting for a more obvious sign from the next president to understand how the ministry will work. 

Read more: Black and indigenous movements defend land demarcation and fight against racism at COP27

“From the definition of how things will work – if it is a ministry that puts forward policies or articulates them – we will choose a name [to take on the ministry]. First, we want to be invited to be part of the transitional team and, then, we will start to talk. As long as there is no Indigenous participation in the transitional team, we cannot say 'yes' or 'no' to a ministry that we do not know how is going to work”, she said during the interview.

Guajajara also said that, with Lula, Brazil tends to resume its leadership in the international debates on climate change. However, to make it happen, she emphasizes that local policies must be developed in order to guarantee that the country reaches the goals.

“One of the main actions is to reduce deforestation – to end deforestation in Brazil. Lula has this commitment. He will also have to take on this challenge to achieve these goals. [It is also necessary] To reduce fires, which are increasing year by year. The demarcation of Indigenous lands is likewise a central contribution to decreasing or preventing [gas] emissions. Therefore, it’s crucial to debate land demarcation. Indigenous lands contribute to the climate balance as well,” she said. 

Cockade caucus

Besides Sônia, another four parliamentarians elected to the Chamber of Deputies identify themselves as Indigenous. Through an articulation of the Indigenous movement, Sônia and Célia Xakriabá (Socialism and Liberty Party, Minas Gerais state) were elected to Congress. They will probably work with Juliana Cardoso (Workers’ Party, São Paulo state), who also debuts in Congress, and the re-elected Federal deputy Paulo Guedes (Workers’ Party, Minas Gerais state). In addition to them, Silvia Waiãpi (Liberal Party, Amapá state) was also elected. She openly supports Bolsonaro and probably will not be part of the “cockade caucus”.

“Our priority there will be to coordinate with the Executive Power to demarcate Indigenous lands in Brazil. Land demarcation was completely suspended during the Bolsonaro government due to a political decision. Protecting the environment and changing the food production model, which now includes agribusiness on a large scale, will always be the banner we carry. We are convinced that it’s necessary to subsidize family farming to produce real food. And, of course, to defend rights and women's participation. We are part of the statistics showing the increase in female participation in the Chamber of Deputies.

Edited by: Nicolau Soares e Flávia Chacon