SOCIAL VOX

My thoughts on the world around me

Hundreds of Brazil’s Eco-Warriors At Risk Of Assassination

Hundreds of Brazil’s Eco-Warriors At Risk Of Assassination, Says New Report.

According to a report compiled by Brazil’s Catholic Land Commission (CPT), at least 260 people live under the threat of murder due to their fight with a coalition of loggers, farmers, and cattle ranchers.

Is this really going on in the 21st century?

The individual cases are absolutely startling. Brazilian police are investigating claims that there’s a £14,000 price on the head of a French priest because of his fight against slave labor. An Austrian bishop has been under 24-hour surveillance for two years because of his clash with developers and child prostitution in his Amazonian diocese. Also, a leader of the landless movement was assassinated earlier this year with a single shot to the head.

According to the article, in the 1980’s there were over 1,000 murders in the Amazon.

In the last 12 months, deforestation in the Amazon has risen by 64%. Inside a reserve, nearly 7,500 acres have been deforested, mostly illegally.

This story reminds me of a book I read a few years ago: Killing Pablo. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Pablo Escobar was the king of the Colombian drug trade. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were killed during the reign of the Medellin cartel. Those murdered included politicians, judges, policemen, and anyone else who tried standing in Escobar’s way.

Here, the case is eerily similar. Law enforcement in Brazil seems to have little or no impact on the rampant lawlessness and threat to human life. In the case of Pablo Escobar, a special task force was sent from the US to help in the hunt. A similar maneuver may be called for in this circumstance – a special group of law enforcement focused on this, and only this, matter.

Knowing how the political landscape works, though, both in the US and abroad, such proactive measures seem unlikely. In spite of recent efforts, such as the production of “An Inconvenient Truth,” the issue of preserving the environment has yet to elevate to the sort of global awareness that the war on drugs and terror have.

Hopefully, articles like this one will slowly awaken people to the unacceptable practices that are compromising both people’s lives and our environment.

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January 4, 2009 - Posted by | Economics, Politics | , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. This is Brazil’s onw Somalia’s pirate version: as a result of a fast economic growth, a disfranchised group gets either empowered or reduced to extinction. Regardless of what side of the equation they are, they act to satisfy their economic needs, without respect for the law, the human condition, or the environment. Follow the money, and you will be surprised to find out that nothing of this is new, unexpected, or unavoidable.

    Comment by GR | January 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. You said “Law enforcement in Brazil seems to have little or no impact on the rampant lawlessness and threat to human life.” Actually, the corruption is so deep that is part of the system. Again, follow the money and you will how high this goes. The coming Obama administration has many issues to worry about. Do not expect this sad story to be crucial. It will be interesting to see an extension of the treatment US gives Colombia –for human right abuses– to Brazil. With the green giant positioned to be a regional leader in a global economy driven by energy, commodities and raw materials, don’t hold your breath.

    Comment by GR | January 4, 2009 | Reply


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