Cacique Raoni, 90, a spokesperson for the Brazilian natives who had been hospitalized for two days for a condition of great weakness, was transferred by plane to a better-equipped hospital on Saturday to undergo a series of examinations.
“He presented today (…) an increase in his anemia and a deterioration of renal functions (…) probably because of a digestive hemorrhage”, indicated in a bulletin the hospital Santa Inês de Colider where had been admitted Thursday the indigenous chief defender of the Amazon rainforest. This Mato Grosso state hospital “does not have an intensive care unit, so he was moved with some urgency to another facility” in the same state “in case his clinical condition worsened.”
Raoni Metuktire, known worldwide for his tireless fight for the defense of indigenous rights and lands, had been flown from his village to Colider, suffering from “weakness, breathing difficulties, loss of appetite and diarrhea”, specified the Santa Inês hospital.
The establishment added that the cacique had been in a depressed state since the death of his wife Bekwyjka on June 23 of a stroke. Bekwyjka was his partner and advisor for more than 60 years. Other sources, such as the Raoni Foundation or Gert-Peter Bruch, president of the French NGO Planète Amazone, confirmed that the cacique had been extremely affected by the disappearance of his wife. The cacique “started to be sick two weeks ago, with fever, diarrhea and vomiting” and he was dehydrated, said Gert-Peter Bruch.
While many natives have been infected with Covid-19, which is sweeping Brazil, “we thought of the coronavirus,” added Gert-Peter Bruch, who organized fundraisers for the Kayapo people, but “he does a negative Covid test. ” A grandson of the cacique, Takakdjo Metuktire, told AFP: “We must not worry too much, he is fine,” as messages poured into sites defending the indigenous cause for prayers for the old man. chief.
Guardian of the tradition of the Kayapos, nomads living in a reserve located in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest, Raoni Metuktire has made nearly twenty high-profile tours around the world where he met two popes, the emperor of Japan, Prince Charles or the last four French presidents.
According to AFP, Raoni had accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of wanting to “take advantage of this disease” to eliminate his people. Since the far-right leader came to power in January 2019, the old Kayapo leader has not mince words against the president, whose departure he has called for and who has spoken contemptuously of the locals.
As Brazil nears the milestone of 80,000 coronavirus deaths, indigenous populations have been hit hard due in part to weaker immunity: more than 16,000 indigenous people have been infected and 535 have died from it, according to the data. from APIB, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. In particular, the coronavirus carried away in June a well-known cacique and defender of the Amazon rainforest, Paulinho Paiakan, around 65 years old.