The privatization of Jalapão State Park, approved by the Legislative Assembly of Tocantins (Aleto) and sanctioned by Governor Mauro Carlesse (PSL) on Wednesday (25), is criticized by quilombolas and residents of the region for having excluded the populations most affected by the project of the debates on the subject.
The project had already been announced by the state administration since the beginning of the year, when the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) signed contracts with six states to structure a series of natural park concessions to the private sector.
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During the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, the BNDES has been leading privatization projects with the States. In all, 26 parks were involved, including the Tocantins parks of Jalapão, Cantão, and Lajeado. In a session held this Tuesday night (24), Aleto also approved the permission for the concession of bus terminals and the Natural Monument of Fossilized Trees in Tocantins.
According to the law, which is authored by Governor Mauro Carlesse, the concession does not cover the 7 quilombola communities located in the Jalapão State Park region. The project was criticized by the opposition at Aleto for its superficiality. State deputies pointed out that the two pages of the text do not consider the impacts on traditional peoples and quilombos.
Zé Roberto Lula, from the PT, stated during the session that the impacts on communities were not calculated by the project. “The model to be adopted cannot be adopted by those who come from abroad, but to help those who are in the regions”, warned Zé Roberto.
“We need to learn to listen to people and here the people of Jalapão, you can count on this deputy who will make a supreme effort so that this House does not decide anything without first discussing with the people to build a development model that includes people” , said the state deputy.
The Federal Public Ministry of Tocantins (MPF-TO), on August 20, tried to suspend the project in court, but the request was barred. The action asked the Tocantins state government to consult traditional communities on measures that will directly affect them.
In the document, the Attorney of the Republic Álvaro Lotufo Manzano wrote that the concession project was not discussed with the traditional communities and that the text does not detail the obligations of the future private partner or the term of validity of any partnerships.
O Brazil in fact interviewed the president of the Association of Craftsmen and Quilombolas of the Mumbuca Community, Railane Ribeiro da Silva, and said that residents are afraid of the impacts of the approval of privatization. According to her, the project was not even presented to the quilombolas.
Railane also said he feared reprisals after he took part in protests at Aleto against the privatization of Jalapão.
“People are scared. I’m scared to even speak. Because I participated in this fight [contra a privatização], we went, asked, talked and we were not successful,” he declared.
“In the communities, many of the people don’t even know what privatization is, they don’t even know what concession is. They keep asking what it is, because I’m the leader of the community, president of an association.”
The community leader also said that residents criticized the fact that representatives of the state government had not conducted conversations about privatization in the territories: “First of all, they would need to come here and say what it would be like, what would be the impacts it would have on our community and on us. There are many communities in the region and this has not been done.”
Initiative with participation of Natura founder
In February, the Brazil in fact showed that Pedro Passos, founding partner and director of the Natura company, finances the execution of several stages of the Natural Parks Concession Structuring Program, launched in 2020.
The businessman is the sole sponsor of the Semeia Institute, an NGO that will provide four services “for free” to state governments by 2023, including the Tocantins: sectorial study, monitoring of the modeling study, dialogue with potential private investors and training of public agents. Natura is a Brazilian multinational of cosmetics, hygiene and beauty products, founded in São Paulo (SP) in August 1969.
Edition: Vivian Virissimo