Disappointed by politics

Disappointed by politics

On the occasion of the presidential elections in Brazil, the winner of this year's Alternative Nobel Prize, Bishop Erwin Krautler, drew a critical balance of President Lula da Silva's term in office. The strategy of distributing food to the poor has gone wrong, he said. His successor also gets the short end of the stick.

Overall, there has been a failure to create jobs and carry out land reform so that "people can help themselves," the Catholic bishop, who works in Brazil, told Austrian radio over the weekend. The Austrian bishop was disappointed with the new president: Dilma Roussef has not really presented a political program so far.

A woman will rule in Brazil in the future: the candidate of the ruling Workers' Party prevailed in a runoff against her challenger Jose Serra.

Krautler expressed clear criticism of the neoliberal orientation of Brazilian politics. Far-reaching social and land reforms have been prevented, and indigenous peoples have been driven from their land. According to the 71-year-old clergyman, the rights of the indigenous people are exemplarily guaranteed in the treaty; however, they are not implemented in reality. This is also reflected in the fact that only half of the Indian territories have been demarcated so far. In the other areas, there is always a "bloody intrusion" by large landowners, loggers and companies that are after mineral resources, says Krautler.

Referring to his opposition to the Belo Monte hydroelectric project, the bishop said: "I am not against hydroelectric power." He rejects however the concrete project decidedly. Around 30.000 people are directly affected by the resettlement of the power plant project. Contrary to the catch, the indigenous population was not consulted, although they are cut off from water and fishing as a livelihood. The project would have moreover incalculable climatic effects.

Under police protection for four years
Krautler confirmed that he has been under police protection for the past four years. He said there are always threats from big landowners, power plant operators or even those affected by his crackdown on sexual abusers.

Krautler comes from the diocese of Feldkirch. In 1981, he became bishop of the Xingu Prelature in the state of Para. The prelature has about 365.000 square kilometers and 500.000 inhabitants, the largest diocese in Brazil in terms of area. Krautler is to be the 6. The Alternative Nobel Prize will be awarded in December.

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