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BRAZIL
New face in Congress
1/29/2003
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Antônio Ferreira da Silva, 43, a member of the Apurinã indigenous group and the Communist Party, has become Brazil’s first indigenous senator. Da Silva, who is from the Amazon state of Acre, will temporarily replace Sen. Marina Silva, who has been appointed environment minister.

Da Silva, who will take his place in the 81-seat Senate in April, pledged to fight for approval of the Indigenous Law that has been stalled in Congress since 1991 (LP, May 15, 2000). "Our rights, such as social aid and the demarcation of indigenous lands, have always been ignored by authorities," da Silva said. According to the 2000 census, about 0.4 percent of Brazil’s population is indigenous, belonging to 225 native groups that speak 180 languages (LP, July 29, 2002).

 

 


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