The new president of Brazil, to the assault of the Amazon

Le nouveau président du Brésil à l’assaut de l’Amazonie

Photo: Raphael Alves Agence France-Presse
Over the past two years, more than 8000 km2 of the amazon forest were lost each year due to illegal logging and expansion of agriculture.

The new president of the brazilian Jair Bolsonaro has appointed an Agriculture minister known for his defence of the agricultural sector, industrial, in addition to entrusting him with the management of indigenous lands. A gesture that confirms the fears expressed by defenders of indigenous peoples and the amazon rainforest, who see it as the prelude to an acceleration of the destruction of the Amazon.

Sworn in Tuesday to the presidency of Brazil, the leader of the far-right has designated Tereza Cristina da Costa to lead the powerful ministry of Agriculture, a sector which constitutes an essential milestone of the country’s economy, the largest and most populous country in Latin America.

Mr. Bolsonaro, a former member who has received the support of the agricultural sector industrial during his campaign, at the same time chosen to have the new minister (supporter of the use of pesticides) the management of indigenous territories, which cover nearly 15 % of the land area of the country. These protected areas are, in many cases, the only real bulwark against deforestation or the exploitation of fossil energy and mineral resources.

However, the new president has repeated several times over the last few months that these territories are ” oversized “, promising to review the protection of these lands coveted by the companies who are eyeing the vast natural resources of the territory occupied by the amazon forest.

“More than 15 % of the national territory is designated as indigenous lands or quilombos [the land occupied by the descendants of slaves]. Less than a million people live in these places, isolated from the real Brazil, exploited, and manipulated by NGOS. Together, we are going to integrate these citizens “, was reaffirmed Wednesday, Jair Bolsonaro, on Twitter. “There will not be a centimeter extra of native land “, he also hammered in the election campaign.

Deforestation

“You’ve seen ? The dismantling began. The Foundation of the Indian is no longer responsible for the identification, delimitation and demarcation of indigenous lands. ” replied, on Twitter, the leading indian Sônia Guajajara, a former candidate left for the vice-presidency.

Another aboriginal leader, Dinaman Tuxá, has predicted the worst for the rest of the things. “There will be an increase in deforestation and violence against indigenous peoples”,-he said in interview to the british newspaper The Guardian. “Indigenous peoples are the defenders of the environment,” he added, saying fear the policies of the new government. “We are moving towards a different process of colonization. This is what they want. “

There will be an increase in deforestation and violence against indigenous peoples. The indigenous peoples are the stewards of the environment.

— Dinaman Tuxá

Jair Bolsonaro is not in cache of not : he intends to develop the economy of Brazil, focusing on the exploitation of natural resources of the country, including the huge areas of land, once cleared, could promote the expansion of the agricultural sector export-oriented. Brazil is already the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, according to data from the world trade Organization. And to facilitate the development of the industry, the president wanted to initially merge the ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, before changing your mind because of the outcry.

The influential pastor Silas Malafaia, a friend of Mr. Bolsonaro, summarizes well the intentions of the new government, which does not bend to the criticism of environmental groups and scientists, who warn against the destruction of the amazon rainforest, which is 60% is in brazilian territory. According to Mr. Malafaia, the developed countries should outright pay if they want to that Brazil preserves the vast amazon ecosystem. “We’re going to preserve because the gringos [in developed countries] have destroyed what they had ?” he launched at the Guardian.

Climate dogma

The destruction of this natural environment is unique and irreplaceable, therefore, could accelerate under the leadership of Jair Bolsonaro. Already, over the past two years, more than 8,000 km2 were lost each year (18 times the area of the island of Montreal), due to illegal logging and expansion of agriculture.

This deforestation to rise again a direct threat to the biodiversity of the region, including more than 40 000 plant species, over 400 species of mammals, 1300 species of birds and 3000 species of fish.

In addition to the disappearance of the biodiversity of this vast ecosystem, the destruction of the “lungs of the planet” is likely to exacerbate the impacts of climate change, prevent environmental groups. The problem is that some members of the new government have expressed their scepticism concerning the reality of the climate crisis.

This is the case of the new minister of foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, who has already denounced the “cultural marxism” that has ” influenced the scientific dogma of global warming “. And the minister of the Environment designated, Ricardo de Aquino Salles, has not wanted to confirm that Brazil will remain alive and well in the Paris Agreement, while underlining that the “national sovereignty” of the country is ” non negotiable “.

Sign of the change of course that has to operate in the country, with the president, admires his american counterpart, Donald Trump, Brazil has renounced to host the next UN conference on climate, COP25.

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