Carl de Souza

The revolt of the indigenous Amazon populations

© Carl De Souza / AFP

In Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil, the indigenous populations are struggling to make their voices heard to defend their land in the Amazon. They already struggled under previous governments and now, given the ferocious appetites of the industrial giants ready to swallow up the Amazon’s vast resources and a president who appears to enjoy publicly deriding the ancient tribes, the situation has escalated. It will be no easy task in a country where native tribes account for only 0.5% of the population (approximately 900,000 inhabitants) and are poorly represented in the circles of power in Brasilia. In an attempt to turn this situation around, nearly 300 native leaders met in January 2020 in the State of Mato Grosso in the heart of the forest. As the world becomes increasingly concerned about “the lungs of the planet”, which are plagued by devastating fires, they now know that they are living on borrowed time.

Originally from Sweden and educated in the UK, Carl de Souza is head of the AFP’s Brazilian offi ce and is based in Rio de Janeiro. The situation in the Amazon is one of the biggest stories he has had to cover in his 20 years as a photo reporter. With all eyes turned towards this region, vital to our planet’s health, the multi-award-winning photographer has spent months covering the revolt of these native communities who refuse to give up.

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