Boycott Brazil: The only way to save the Amazon
The Brazilian beef you see on your table very probably comes directly from a farm carved out of the Amazon rainforest at the expense of this unique ecosystem and its inhabitants.
The international media has not picked up on this story which I have been pushing for months. And here it is. Gangs working for big business interests in Brazil, many with connections to lobbyists from (who else?) the United States of America, are systematically destroying vast swathes of the Amazon rainforest. Why? To privatize its enormous resources. This comes at the expense of the inhabitants.
Sloths fall burnt to their deaths, tapirs become living barbecues, baby marmosets cling to their mothers, terrified, as both plunge to the Gates of Hell, an inferno burning below. Indigenous people are being massacred by gangs of savages wielding rifles and machetes, they are mown down with impunity, including children "so that they won't grow up". They are being burnt out of their homes because big business interests want to grab the mineral wealth of the Amazon and to create space for massive soybean farms and cattle ranches.
President Jair Bolsonaro (pronounced Ja-IR, not "jare" as many western outlets call him) said his government is the one that fights crime and nepotism. Interesting, practically the first thing he did was nominate his son as Ambassador in Washington and as for the arsonists lighting all these fires, why did he only react three weeks later when the international community woke up to what was happening (something I pointed out before the fires started)?
And why are there almost double the amount of fires this year compared to last? Why are the arsonists getting away with impunity? Maybe we can find the answers in some of the declarations from Jair Bolsonaro himself over the years, analyze his attitude towards the indigenous peoples and draw some conclusions.
"It's a pity that the Brazilian cavalry was not as efficient as the American cavalry, which exterminated the Indians" (1998)
"The Indians do not speak our language, they don't have money, they don't have culture. They are native peoples. How do they get 13% of the national territory?" (2015)
"There is no indigenous land where there are no minerals. Gold, tin and magnesium are in these lands, especially in Amazonia, the richest area in the world. I don't enter this thing of defending land for Indians" (2015)
"[Indigenous reservations] suffocate agrobusiness. In Brazil you cannot decrease one square metre of indigenous land" (2015)
"In 2019 we are going to cancel the (indigenous reservation) Raposa Serra do Sol. We are going to give rifles and weapons to all the farmers" (2016)
"There is not going to be one centimetre marked out for indigenous reservations or for quilombolas" (2017)
"You can be sure that if I get there (to the Presidency) there will be no money for NGOs. If it's up to me, every citizen will have a firearm at home. There will not be one centimetre adjudicated for indigenous reservations or quilombolas" (2017). Remember Bolsonaro blamed the NGOs for the fires (probably one of the most ridiculous things to have dropped out of his mouth).
"If I get to assume (the Presidency) there will be not one more centimetre for indigenous lands" (2018)
"If I am elected I am going to cut FUNAI (National Foundation of the Indians) with a scythe. A scythe to its neck. There is no other way. It is not useful any more" (2018)
If we can add to these snippets into the mindset of Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the champion of Brazil's Three Bs lobbies (Bói - bull; bíblia - bible; bala - bullet) some other declarations from this oracle of utter wisdom we can draw some more conclusions. Let us see:
"The error of the dictatorship was to torture and not to kill" (2006 and 2018)
"I am in favor of torture" (1999)
"I am in favor, yes, of a dictatorship" (1999)
"[The police officer] enters, solves the problem and if he kills 10, 15 or 20, with 10 or 30 shots for each one, he has to receive an award, and not be sued" (2018)
"I would never rape you because you don't deserve it" (to women, 2003 and 2014)
Gays: "For me it's death. I say more: I prefer that he dies in an accident than coming here with a guy with a moustache. For me he will have died anyway" (2011)
And so on and so forth. I finish with the words of Amazonwatch (link below) in February of this year and let my readers form their own conclusion.
"Emboldened by the institutional assault upon indigenous rights being waged by the regime of Jair Bolsonaro, rural mafias are organizing an unprecedented wave of land invasions and attacks on native territories and communities. As Brazil's indigenous agency FUNAI is systematically dismantled, with its mandate to title and monitor indigenous lands handed to agribusiness interests and religious zealots, vast Amazonian forests are becoming increasingly vulnerable to exploitation."
The first step towards the selling off and destruction of the Amazon to big business interests in Brazil and its bedmaster in Washington was the illegal coup against President Dilma Rousseff, followed by throwing ex-President Lula into jail without a proper due legal process, paving the way for a clique of self-interested political sharks to stop the social programs, cut medical aid, cut social assistance and see Brazil once again slide back into a species of country without definition. A bluff. Under Lula Brazil had gained a middle class, it had gained respect on the world stage. Under Bolsonaro, it has gone back three decades to some ridiculous banana republic crawling with injustice and seeing millions of people living in misery, demoralized, depressed and demotivated.
This time round they are attacking the Amazon and its peoples to get their hands on its resources. The Brazilian beef on your table is on your table at the expense of countless trees, animals and indigenous people's livelihoods.
Boycott Brazil, do not buy Brazilian goods. 789-790 is the Brazilian barcode identification number.
Photo 1: Por Palácio do Planalto from Brasilia, Brasil - 28/06/2019 Reunião Paralela dos Líderes do G20, sobre Economia Digital, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80020508
Photo 2: The author in 2018
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.
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