Members of four Brazilian Indian groups, the Krikati, Gavião, Awa-guajá and Guajajara, have now released four hostages they had maintained in captivity for two days in Brazil’s Northeast.
Officials at Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), an iron ore mining company, said today that its four employees were let go after talks between the Indians and the Funai (National Indian Foundation), which deal with Indian matters.
The Indians had blocked the Carajás railroad in the state of Maranhão, demanding that the National Health Foundation (Fundação Nacional de Saúde) (Funasa) provide them with better healthcare.
This is not the first time in Brazil that Indian group take hostages to make a point. As recently as December, they blocked another CVRD railway line, but withdrew after successful negotiations.
The Carajás railroad is named after the world’s largest iron ore reserve area. It is owned by the CVRD, which is Brazil’s second biggest company, after Petrobras.
It is the world’s fourth biggest mining company and the world’s biggest exporter of iron ore. CVRD is worth an estimated US$ 20 billion, and owns some 9,000 kilometers of railroad tracks and ten port terminals in Brazil.
Funasa says that it joined forces with the Funai sending representatives to deal with the Indians. Funasa also added that it is doing everything it can to meet the Indians demands regarding healthcare.