By BO Staff Writer
Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has since taking office in January 2019 systematically surrendered the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness and development. Aided by policies he put in place that go against the interests of the indigenous tribes and the environment, he has increased deforestation manyfold. He has frequently targeted the indigenous reserves by driving them out of their places of abode via fires and other types of deforestation so as to make way for big business interests. Scientists say that mining, farming and drilling are worsening the situation of deforestation.They also say that the current raging fires are unnatural.
Having campaigned on a pro-business ticket Bolsonaro promised to strengthen the economy by altering the way the Amazon forest was used. He also promised that upon taking office he would not give any more land to the Indigenous reserves.
This year, about 73,000 fires have been recorded in the rainforest in Brazil. Reportedly 9,500 new fires have been spotted since. Over 20 per cent of the oxygen in the world is produced in the Amazon. Brazil on its part has 60 per cent of the rainforest which in turn has the most species on earth.
It is estimated by the World Wildlife Fund that should deforestation continues at the current rate, more than 25% of the Amazon will be treeless by 2030. Furthermore, the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) reported an increase of 88 per cent in deforestation in June 2019 when compared to June 2018.
Recently indigenous leaders convened in Atalaia do Norte to discuss what must be done to defend their lands against the vicious onslaught. Bolsonaro is hellbent on intensifying deforestation which has created an enclave for cattle ranchers, wildcat hunters, goldminers, oil companies, loggers and fishing companies. Hence the raging fires, that has gripped the Amazon, is not out of kilter with Bolson‘s deforestation agenda.
The future of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon under Bolsonaro seems bleak and his hostility to their rights is well-documented. Hence the fear that he will bombard the indigenous reserves into extinction is justifiable.
The Javari Valley which is home to 6,000 inhabitants and Brazil’s largest number of uncontacted tribes is bracing itself for an era of ruination. Moreover the uncontacted tribes generally lack immunity to common illnesses like influenza and contact with any outsider can be deadly.
Like so many other territories in the Amazon, the Javari Valley has suffered sustained incursions from invaders who loot its natural resources with impunity. Bolsonaro is on record for comparing the indigenous tribes to zoo animals. This is the worst threat to them since military rulers constructed highways through the region causing death and destruction, half a century ago.
It must be stated that the pro imperialist media is not reporting on Bolsonaro’s role in these fires. Moreover there’s no regional and international pressure being applied on him to bring an end to these fires. Bolsonaro’s pro commercial enviomental policies are killing the Amazon and its indigenous people. In the circumstances, internationalist solidarity towards defeating the enemies of the life of the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous peoples is indispensable. The “Lungs of the Earth” cannot be left to die.
In the meanwhile since the exit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Colombian Amazon has been the biggest victim. The rainforest had been a liberated zone under the control of FARC during its time, but since its departure in 2016, deforestation has risen insanely.
FARC’s demobilization has resulted in the destruction of vast tracts of the rainforest through deforestation that the FARC guerrillas had historically nursed to environmental heath under their authority. To this end deforestation had risen by 60% between 2015 and 2018, in the Colombian Amazon. It’s encouraging that former Farc fighters have regrouped as eco-warriors to stop deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.