Brazil: Destruction Masterclass

From Rio de Janeiro

Paul Guedes has a degree in economics from the University of Chicago. No minimally relevant scholarly work of his authorship is known.
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He was, and that fills him with pride, an official of Augusto Pinochet, and believes with irreducible firmness in the economic model imposed by the bloodiest dictator of Chile. And he is also known as an active speculator in the Brazilian financial market.

He has, therefore, all the credentials to occupy the position he occupies: he is the Minister of Economy of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

A phrase fired last Friday at a meeting with businessmen is his authorship: “Brazil is a small transgressor” in the preservation of the environment.

lying minister

Just like his boss, he blatantly lies and remains undaunted.

And, once again, the data indicates exactly the opposite of what the government of the worst president in the history of the Republic says.

The Brazilian Constitution guarantees everyone “the right to an ecologically balanced environment”. And, in response to that demand, in 2004 the country finally adopted a Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon.

Result: between 2004 and 2012, there was an 83 percent reduction in deforestation in the regionrunning over the interests of land invaders and illegal miners and loggers.

Without having enough strength to alter the Constitution and environmental protection laws to attend to those who support him in the agricultural sector, Bolsonaro and his government acted in another direction: to overwhelm the Brazilian system of the sector, putting into practice a withering strategy.

First, it radically stifled the budgets destined to protect and control the environment. Then appointed absolutely inept people to key positions in the industry.

With that, he began to impede the work of environmental protection agencies and the same FUNAI, the National Foundation of the Indian.

promote deforestation

Thus, since the arrival of Bolsonaro to the presidential chair there has been a drop of almost 83 percent in seizures of deforestation activities. There was also a drastic reduction of 81 percent in apprehensions made by IBAMA, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment. At least five thousand convictions for environmental infractions were deliberately forgotten, and thanks to that government omission they are on the verge of prescription.

It is, obviously, an action as macabre as it is unconstitutional, the result of which is not only the increase in the destruction of the environment but also a clear incentive to impunity.

In this way, a dilacerous scenario was reached: last year, and Compared to 2018, that is, before Bolsonaro took office, there was a 76 percent increase in the destruction of the jungle in the Amazon region.

When looking at deforestation on indigenous lands, the increase was 138 percent in the same period. And in the conservation units determined by specific legislation, 130 percent.

It is worth reiterating: that, in the first three years of the current government.

Already the rate of emissions that cause climate emergency exceeded three times the established goal.

That is the country that Minister Guedes claims to be a “small transgressor” in environmental protection.

Now who can save us?

Faced with such a picture, as desperate as it is threatening, the last hope is that the Federal Supreme Court fulfill its duty to enforce the Constitution and put a definitive stop to Bolsonaro’s obsession with destroying everything, absolutely everything that was built over decades.

I hope I act in time, and the time we have left is tiny.

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