November 26 marked the beginning of the removal of mining equipment from the Roosevelt Reservation, the Aripuanã Indian Park, the Serra Morena, and Aripuanã, Indian lands in the south of Rondônia and the west of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
The 140 machines were divided into twelve lots, each containing 30 tons, and will remain warehoused at a Federal Police base in the vicinity of the mines.
“The situation in the locale is calm, and the Indians are turning everything over peacefully,” observed the Federal Police general coordinator of Institutional Defense, commissioner Wilson Santos Lustosa.
Eighty men from the Federal, Highway, and Civil Police in Rondônia are participating in the action, which was baptized the Roosevelt Operation and is headed by commissioner Mauro Spósito. The region is being patrolled by four permanent bases and a mobile one.
On November 25, the Federal Police transported 30 rough diamonds, removed illegally from the Roosevelt Indian territory, to Rio de Janeiro.
This is the first lot of stones that the Cinta Larga (Wide Belt) Indians are handing over to be auctioned by the Federal Savings Bank (CEF).
According to the Federal Police, when an Indian turns over a stone, he receives 70% of its value in the act. The rest will be delivered following the auction, after deductions are made for taxes and the costs of the operation.
“The value is variable, depending on the purity and carats,” the vice-president of the Funai (National Indian Foundation), Roberto Aurélio Lustosa, explains.
As the result of a provisional measure (MP) published last week, the Indians have 15 days to turn over the diamonds, which were extracted illegally, since mining is prohibited on Indian lands.
Translator: David Silberstein