Yanomami: Four indigenous people from the Venezuelan Amazon die at the hands of the military due to a conflict over Wi-Fi | International

Indigenous people of the Yanomami ethnic group fish in the Venezuelan Amazon.
Indigenous people of the Yanomami ethnic group fish in the Venezuelan Amazon.DEA / G. SIOEN (De Agostini via Getty Images)

A Yanomami community in southern Venezuela obtained the donation of equipment to connect to the Internet, for which they agreed with the military in the area to install it in their base because the place has solar panels. They decided to share the Wi-Fi connection. After a change of staff at the Aviation post, the deal was broken and the indigenous people went to complain. In the discussion, four Yanomanis were killed. Three others are injured, including a 16-year-old teenager, as well as two officials. The community of Parima B mourns their dead and has been in rebellion since Sunday when the incident occurred.

This week the Public Ministry and the Ombudsman’s Office have been mobilized to investigate the facts. The governor of the Amazonas state, Miguel Rodríguez, confirmed the deaths two days later. “There was a confrontation between Yanomami brothers and companions from the Aviation component stationed in Parima B, after the Internet was not shared with them, generating a confrontational situation, which resulted in four deaths and five injuries,” he wrote in the account of Facebook of him.

Prosecutor Tarek William Saab reported this Wednesday that his office will begin an investigation into the complaint of a “confrontation” between indigenous Yanomami and military officials. He appointed prosecutors in indigenous matters and human rights to investigate jointly with the Corps of Criminal and Criminalistic Scientific Investigations (Cicpc). The officials went to Parima B to carry out the investigation. Lawyer Olnar Ortiz, a Bare indigenous and human rights defender in that region, has warned of cultural difficulties that can make the investigation difficult. “Because of their worldview, they are not going to let their brothers out, they are not going to allow them to do an autopsy.”

The town of Parima is part of the mountain range that divides the basins of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers, on the border with Brazil. It is a six-week walk from the nearest town, 450 kilometers from the capital, Puerto Ayacucho, where the hospital where the wounded teenager was taken, the only one seriously, is located. Parima can only be reached by plane, so the internet demanded by the indigenous people was more than Wi-Fi.

In a video that has spread on social networks, a group of indigenous people is seen claiming a prominent general in Amazonas. “You guys are supposed to come take care of us. They didn’t have to use weapons like that,” says a woman while in the background an inconsolable collective cry is heard. In the recording, the uniformed men promise that they will send someone of higher rank to negotiate with them. “Our laws say that the problem that occurs on the land of a Yanomami people is resolved on that land,” the indigenous woman replies.

The Yanomami people have prevented the transfer of the wounded soldiers to the hospital in protest against the massacre, for which a surgeon was transferred to the place to treat them, Ortiz reported. In some versions, they indicate that initially an indigenous captain had gone to ask for the router to the military and they asked for gold in exchange, which led the entire town to claim.

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Parima is a town that is also subjected to illegal mining controlled by Brazilian garimpeiros and Venezuelan unions, with the support of members of the Armed Forces who have militarized the entire State. The organization SOS Orinoco It denounces that the Yanomami and Sanema are being used as workers in this illegal activity in exchange for their subsistence and for transgressing their culture.

March 20 marked the tenth anniversary of a friendly agreement signed between the State and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in which Venezuela undertook to guarantee the integrity of the Yanomami people. These commitments arose in response to the Haximú massacre that occurred in 1993 in which 16 indigenous people were killed by Brazilian miners (the 11,745 Yanomami vs. Brazil case) and are once again remembered by activists after the deaths last Sunday.

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