Amazon Theater

Brazil: rancher guilty in slaying of Amazon activst

On May 15, wealthy landowner Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura was given the maximum sentence, 30 years, for being one of the masterminds of the February 2005 murder of US-born nun Dorothy Stang, a 73-year-old defender of the Amazon rainforest and landless people. It is the first conviction of a member of Pará state's landed elite in a wave of killings of peasant leaders and forest defenders in recent years.

Peru: Amazon indigenous warn Oxy over toxins

Members of the indigenous Achuar communities in the Amazon basin in the Peru-Ecuador border region have notified US Oil Company Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) that they will bring a lawsuit against the company in the US if it will not clean up toxic waste from drilling. [IPS, May 4]

Chávez hosts South America energy summit

Venezuela is advocating regional integration at a two-day, 12-nation energy summit of South American leaders that opens April 16 on the Caribbean island of Margarita. "Gradually, the US empire will end up a paper tiger and we, the peoples of Latin America, will become true tigers of steel," President Hugo Chávez said on the eve of the summit. Chávez is expected to use the summit to promote his plan to build a 8,000-kilometer gas pipeline linking Venezuela to Brazil and Argentina.

Brazil: Cargill's Amazon port shut down

On March 24, Brazilian federal police and environmental agents shut down a major deep-water port on the Amazon River owned by Cargill Inc., saying the US-based multinational agribusiness firm failed to provide an environmental impact statement required by law. Cargill's controversial soy export terminal port is located in the town of Santarem, in Para state. Judge Souza Prudente ordered the port shut down late on March 23. Federal police agent Cesar Dessimoni said Cargill had prepared an environmental assessment that did not meet federal standards. "They'll have to do it correctly, as the law demands," he said. "A big step forward has been taken in enforcing the responsible use of natural resources and bringing greater governance in the Amazon," Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator in Brazil, said in a statement.

Amazon's "uncontacted" peoples: more than thought, facing peril

From the New York Times, Jan. 18:

BRASÍLIA — Far more Indian groups than previously thought are surviving in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest isolated from the outside world, but they risk destruction at the hands of encroaching loggers and miners, experts said Wednesday.

Ecuador boots Oxy

From Upside Down World, May 24:

The nullification of Occidental Petroleum’s oil-drilling contract by the Ecuadorian government has generated mixed reactions in the Americas. Ecuador's oil minister revoked the California-based oil giant’s contract last week for allegedly not informing the government that the company sold off 40% of its Ecuadorian holdings to Canadian-based EnCana. However, it had long been known that Oxy’s presence in Block 15—a 464,000 acre chunk of Northeast Ecuador--invoked militarization, an environmental catastrophe and sparked off a social unrest in indigenous communities that the government could not contain.

Ethnic cleansing in Ecuador

From EFE, April 29 via ServIndi (our translation):

QUITO - The government will investigate an alleged massacre of indigenous people in the Amazon, at the hands of presumed armed madereros [pirate loggers], in a dispute over a forest zone, the local press reported today.

Brazil: landless mark massacre

On April 17, members of Brazil's Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) commemorated the 10th anniversary of the day in 1996 when Military Police (PM) agents fired at some 1,500 MST members who were marching on the PA-150 highway in Eldorado dos Carajas, Para state. The PM agents killed 19 campesinos and wounded 69 others, many of whom continue to suffer health effects from bullets lodged in their bodies and must seek frequent medical attention.

Syndicate content