Just a short walk from where British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira embarked on their final journey, people were in the fierce sun. Crush the rock with a hammer.
Looks like a movie scene set in the Bible era, but this is the starting point for adventurers, missionaries, poachers, smugglers, etc. in 21st century Brazil. Located in the town of Norte. I was drawn to the remote jungle of the Javanese Valley in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, returned to Ataraia after a research trip to the area killed on June 5. On indigenous land.
The dark incident put the international spotlight on the Javanese Valley, which has a larger indigenous settlement than Austria, where uncontacted tribes are most concentrated on the planet.
The region is hit by a surge in illegal fishing, logging, mining and drug trafficking. According to security experts, the crime is fueled by poverty.
At the county hall Atalaia, Carmen Magallaes da Roxa explains why she sits on a block of wood in the soil and shatters. Lift the stone with a hammer and sell it in a bucket for four reasons (less than $ 1) for a construction project.
"There is no other work here. If you don't break these rocks, you won't have the money to buy gas, pay for electricity, or buy medicine," said 54. Said Rokusa. She has a floral dress and flip-flops with five other dozen "Kebra Pedra" or rock breakers.
"We are suffering here — a lot. I smash my fingers and get attacked by flying debris. But what can you do?" To the three grandmothers Raise your injured hand to shrug and ask.
Lack of choice
75% of the population lives in poverty in Atarai Adnorte. Where Brazil meets Peru and Colombia.
Almost everything in the town is locally produced or boated from Manaus, the capital of the State of Amazonas — an eight-day trip.
There are several ways to escape poverty.
Locals often say that there are three job options for the county's largest employers: agriculture, fishing and city hall.
Analysts say the expansion of lawlessness caused a fourth problem. It's an environmental crime backed by funding from a drug gang that thrives in anarchy on the tripoint deep in the jungle.
"Drug traffickers insert poor locals into their networks and present them as an opportunity," said Aiala Colares, a security specialist at Para State University, in a recent paper on Amazon. "The state."
"You can't deal with the problem of environmental crime without dealing with poverty," Brazilian journalist Jan Bochat said on Twitter.
"Economic development in the Amazon region has failed. What happened to Bruno and Dom is related to that," he wrote with a video of Ataraia's rock breaker.
Poverty and lawlessness have proven to be a violent mix.
Critics say the nation's weak presence, a long-standing problem across the Amazon, has become even more serious since 2019 under President Jair Bolsonaro, who has shrunk FUNAI, an environmental enforcement and indigenous affairs agency. It states.
Violence continued to surge in the Javanese Valley.
The FUNAI base on the edge of the indigenous settlement was the target of multiple shootings in 2019.
In the same year, FUNAI's anti-poaching director in the area was killed in a nearby city. Of Tabatinga. The crime remains unresolved.
Across the border, a speedboat shooter attacked a Peruvian police station in January, injuring four police officers and bravely stealing a cash of weapons. Posting has not been resumed yet.
Maribone Amoreira Demero, a 45-year-old mother of four working in the city hall of Atalaia, recalls her use 10 years ago. She sleeps with her front door open. Now she says she wouldn't dare.
"Our young man is addicted to drugs. My son is one of them. He is 20 years old," she said.
She was happy when the Army, Navy, Federal Police, and world media landed in Atalaia after Phillips and Pereira went missing.
Now that they're almost gone, she's worried about what's going to happen. There are only two police officers in the local police.
"Atarai Adnorte is in a very dangerous situation," she says.
"There is a lack of police, a lack of security, a lack of everything."