BY ELIANE BRUM AND JONATHAN WATTS
OCTOBER 29, 2022 9:00 AM EDT
Brum has reported from the Amazon for more than ten years; Watts is a Guardian environment writer. They recently launched the rainforest-based, trilingual news site Sumauma
For Amazonian land activist Erasmo Theofilo, this year’s Brazilian presidential election is the most important in the country’s history. But he could not vote during the first round on October 2 because he and his family were in hiding from assassins.
Since Jair Bolsonaro came to power in 2019, this is the fourth time that Theofilo, his wife Nathalha, and their four small children have had to go into protection programs to avoid assassination. Two of their colleagues have been murdered, bullets have been fired at their home, their children have been threatened, and local businessmen who want to use the land for cattle ranching have reportedly put a price on their heads.