Defender of Brazil’s Indigenous Gets Fired

Sydney Possuelo, a Brazilian explorer who made a career out of finding and protecting indigenous tribes, was fired for criticizing government officials.

Possuelo compared his boss to the "ranchers, land-grabbers, miners, and loggers" who have destroyed almost a fifth of the Brazilian Amazon after the head of the National Foundation for Indigenous People (Funai) claimed Brazil’s indigenous have too much land.

"If our highest official says the Indians have too much land, he is saying that our society and the destroyers are right," said Possuelo. "It’s the same thing as the environment minister calling on people to cut down trees."

Possuelo is a hated figure to many of Brazil’s powerful elite who wants to deforest more of the Amazon for cattle raising and farming. More than 17 percent of the Amazon’s original tree cover has been cut down and what remains is disappearing fast.