The iconic 89-year-old leader, whose wife died a month ago, was flown in because the medical center where he was being treated did not have an intensive care unit.

The cacique Raoni Metuktire , 89 and a historical defender of the rights of indigenous peoples of the Brazilian Amazon, is hospitalized for health problems in the state of Mato Grosso.

Raoni, leader of the Kayapó ethnic group and the most representative of the indigenous leaders of the Amazon , was transferred this Saturday in a plane to the city of Sinop , 480 kilometers from Cuiabá, capital of the central-western state of Mato Grosso, family members said. and the institute that bears his name.

The leader of the Kayapó town presented on Saturday a “deterioration in his health, with an increase in anemia and worsening of renal function, probably due to a picture of digestive bleeding,” the Santa Inés hospital in the small town of Colider, where the indigenous chief had been interned Thursday.

As that hospital does not have an intensive care unit, the doctors recommended to transfer him “with some urgency” to another center “in case his clinical condition worsens,” according to the bulletin.

In addition, the chief’s nephew-grandson, Patxon Metuktire, told the G1 news portal that his uncle suffered from a delicate picture of depression after the death of his wife nearly a month ago . Bekwyjkà Metuktire, matron of the Kayapó and with whom Raoni had eight children, died on June 23 after suffering a stroke as a result of diabetes in recent years.

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The almost nonagenarian cacique lives in his village in the Xingú National Park, in Sao José do Xingú, 931 kilometers from Cuiabá, but due to his health, which could not be improved with the traditional medicine of his people, he had to be transferred to Colíder, where he remained hospitalized until this Saturday.

Before being taken to the city of Sinop, spokesmen for the Raoni Institute had stated that their leader was already self-feeding and that they expected him to be discharged within five days .

However, without knowing more details of his clinical condition, the doctors in Colíder decided to send him this Saturday to a city with a better health infrastructure.

According to the nephew, Raoni underwent several tests to detect COVID-19, but all the results came out negative .

The indigenous leader has championed the fight for the defense of the natural resources of the Amazon and his work has been recognized by different international authorities, mainly from Europe.

In a recent interview with AFP , Raoni stated that Bolsonaro wants to “take advantage” of the pandemic to promote projects that threaten indigenous peoples, who have a history of vulnerability to external diseases.

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More than 16,000 indigenous people have been infected in Brazil and 535 have died from the new coronavirus, according to the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB). This has caused fear among the 900,000 indigenous people who live in the different regions of Brazil.

Another iconic indigenous leader in the country, chief Paulinho Paiakan, died in June after catching the virus.

Across Brazil, more than 78,000 people have died and more than two million have contracted the virus.

Last year, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused Raoni before the United Nations General Assembly of being “used by foreign powers” that would seek to seize that region, considered as the “green lung” of the planet.

(With information from EFE and AFP)