Brazil. Zawari Valley – An area of ​​tribal people fighting for drug trafficking and survival

The Jawari Valley, a British journalist and scientist recently disappeared, is not only a tropical region of the Amazon, but also one of the few in the world, but a haven for aborigines trying to avoid contact with civilization. Jawari is a region of poachers, lumberjacks and fishermen, and is also used as a cocaine smuggling route between Brazil, Peru and Colombia.

The Jawari Valley in the Amazon rainforest is one of the most mysterious and isolated places in the world. It is a densely forested archive, covering about one-third the size of Poland. There are no roads, and boating to those areas can take up to a week. There are 26 ethnic groups in the valley, 19 of whom have no contact with the outside world.

Scott Wallace, National Geographic photojournalist and author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Lost Contacted Trips, says:

Jawari is also a restless area, not only because of its forest area. Runs along the border with Brazil Peru The area is plagued by poachers, lumberjacks and miners, as well as groups of dwarf breeders (coca) who maintain the raw material for cocaine production.

Peru’s cocoa cultivation has increased by almost 20 percent between 2019 and 2020. Coca came to this country through the waterways of the Jawari River.

The Jawari River is located near the Brazilian border with PeruShutterstock

Jawari Valley on the border of Brazil and PeruShutterstock

Expanding drug trafficking has unleashed bloody conflict on the Peru-Brazil-Colombia border, where rival cartels Brazil And Colombia struggled to control Amazon access. Mauro Esposito, a former coordinator of the Brazilian federal police’s special border operations, estimates that the three-state border has become a high-risk zone due to the “massive” increase in cocoa crops in Peru. In 2014, Esposito oversaw the arrest of Jair Ardel Michu (Javier), the famous cartel leader responsible for 50 murders, including the murder of a Peruvian police officer. However, illegal activities at the border have not stopped since he was caught.

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The Guardian quoted a Peruvian police official as saying, “Amazon is still a battleground between powerful criminal organizations.”

All of these issues have exacerbated the decisions of the Brazilian president Jair BolzanoWhich – without worrying about the important Amazon ecosystem around the world – was decided, among other things, in budget cuts, locals should start patrolling the rivers and forests themselves, thus taking care of their own safety.

Tribal security activists have long argued that the presidency encourages gangs on the Amazon to operate without punishment. Now the problems and dangers of living in the Jawari Valley are back in the headlines and headlines, with the disappearance of Dom Phillips, 57, an experienced Amazonian, and a 41-year-old local social worker and former federal civil servant native. Bruno Arrojo Pereira.

The men were last seen on June 5 in So Raphael. From there they were to take the boat to Atalia do Norde. They never got there.

Phillips came to the Jawari Valley to talk to the natives, and he was writing a book. He has been in Brazil for over 15 years. From the country, he described to the Western media, among other things, how devastating the local environment was.


The Jawari Valley is a very dangerous area, especially since 2019, when the illegal activities of loggers, hunters and fishermen have intensified, ”said Anton Vaz, a former official of the Brazilian Federal Tribal Organization where the missing Bruno Aravjo Pereira worked.

Over the past three days, various search teams – from aboriginal teams to the Brazilian navy and police – have been searching the dense valley. Brazilian politicians and public figures have called for an emergency operation to find the men. Their disappearance was featured in morning headlines and evening news articles across the country.

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On Monday, Brazilian media reported that the bodies of Phillips and Pereira had been found. However, the local police have denied this information.

– This is a cry for help for Amazon. People need to be vigilant. To save the lives of Toma and Bruno from being wasted, they must save the dying Amazon – explains Luis Carlos Rocha, mother-in-law of the missing journalist.

Search for a British journalist and associate expert in the Jawari ValleyReuters

Nearly 140 murders in a decade

Such appeals are indeed valid. Looking at the history of the Amazon, violence in these areas has long been common and affects the people who live there.

According to data collected by the authors of the press program, it aims to investigate cases of violence against those who sacrificed their lives to fight to protect the environment – in 2009 there were 139 murders of environmental activists on the Amazon. -2020.

Image taken on June 17, 2020

One of the rivers crossing the Amazon jungle in the Jawari ValleyImage taken on June 17, 2020PAP / EPA

In 2019, in the Amazon city of Tabatinka (located on the border with Brazil, Colombia And Peru), Brazilian government employee Maxciel Pereira dos Santos shot. A man on a motorcycle was shot twice in the head. It should be in retaliation for his struggle against the illegal activities of poachers, lumberjacks and miners in the Jawari Valley.

The country also recalls the 1988 assassination of Chico Mendes. He is a trade unionist and conservationist of the Amazonian landscape – calling for an end to the deforestation of rainforests. His assassins were in favor of converting forests into grazing lands.

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The attack on Mendes launched a movement to protect the Amazon, which is now fighting opposition from the Brazilian president, who during his tenure has increased deforestation in the region by weakening many of the agencies responsible for protecting the forest.

Activist Soraya Zaidan, who worked with Pereira on the disappearance of the Jawari Valley Indigenous Peoples Union (UNIVAZ), shared a letter to UNIVAJI with the editors of the New York Times. In the letter, the sender personally threatened Pereira, accusing him of “sending people to seize our machinery and take away our fish.” “I warn you that if it continues like this, it will be even worse for you,” he wrote.

– We demanded action, unfortunately no reaction. “This is the reason why Bruno and Tom are missing,” says Zidane.

Area in the Jawari ValleyPAP / EPA / Brazilian Military Guide

“The New York Times”, “The Guardian”, Reuters,

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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