In an interview two years ago with BrazilMax.com, a travel Web site, Mr. Possuelo said he once believed that contact and assimilation benefited these people. “But as I went about my work, I saw that it was really bad for them,” he said. “They get diseases. They lose their autonomy. They become dependent on our world.”
This attitude is a far cry from previous experience. Almost ever since the rubber boom in the 19th century, indigenous people have been forced off their lands to make way for rubber extraction, logging, mining and ranching. Lately, cocaine trafficking in some parts of South America has contributed to the problem. As a result, the uncounted numbers of those surviving on their original land are now few.
For more on the subject, see Those Evil Europeans.