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Brazil’s Bolsonaro says he has authority to demarcate land

June 21, 2019
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a presidential decree signing ceremony that proposes to make it easier for authorities to sell goods seized from drug traffickers, at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a presidential decree signing ceremony that proposes to make it easier for authorities to sell goods seized from drug traffickers, at Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has the authority to demarcate land held by indigenous communities.

Bolsonaro said at a press conference Friday in Brasilia: “At the end of the day, the one who demarcates indigenous land is the president by decree.”

Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency has historically carried out policies related to indigenous people.

But Bolsonaro has transferred responsibility for delineating territories to the Agriculture Ministry — even though Congress still needs to vote on the measure.

Sonia Guajajara is the coordinator of the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. She said on Twitter that Bolsonaro’s administration was disregarding the law by “going above Congress and the national constitution.”

Bolsonaro promised during his campaign not to grant “an additional centimeter” of land to indigenous groups.

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