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The Brazilian acting
minister of justice Milton
Seligman denied the allegation that the former minister
Nelson Jobim had given
the instruction that the
Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous area be reduced in
exchange for votes in favour
of the presidential reelection
bill. This denial was seen as an
attempt to retrieve the crumbling image of the government accused of several corruption charges. The information which was confirmed
in the O Globo newspaper in
mid May, had alleged that the
deputies wanted the mining
villages to be left out of the
original demarcation project,
thus reducing the area by 10 per cent.
Apparently, the agreement was officialised in December 1996 by Jobim. According to Seligman, the presidential reelection bill was not a major issue during the time of Jobim's visit. The minister said that the government 'could not "simply wipe out villages which grew inside the area of the indigenous reservation". The pro- indigenous peoples lobby attacked this statement as preposterous by pointing out that the government does not have to "wipe out" any home to demarcate any area since the law provides for compensations and that the "homes" in this case are mining villages. The hazards they pose to the indigenous peoples have been consistently denied by the government, it alleged.
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