Sunday, April 23, 2017
According to 2014 data for Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation occurred on privately held lands, 27 percent in conservation units, 13 percent in agrarian reform settlements, and a mere 1 percent on indigenous lands — demonstrating that indigenous land stewards are the best at limiting deforestation. Indigenous groups control large reserves in the Amazon...
In the Brazilian Amazon, the paving of highways makes adjacent forests far more attractive to land thieves, resulting in major deforestation. The Sustainable BR-163 Plan of 2006 created vast swathes of protected land — eight new conservation units — to prevent land theft and deforestation from happening near the vulnerable BR-163 highway in Pará state. From the start, land speculators...
Land grabbing and illegal ranching (even on public lands) has long been, and still is, big business in the Brazilian Amazon. Last year the Brazilian government launched its most ambitious crackdown ever. And some of the criminals caught up in the federal police net were members of Brazil’s richest families. In June 2016, federal law enforcement pounced on...
In the early 2000s, public outrage over Amazon clear cutting for soy production caused transnational grain companies including Cargill, Bunge and Brazil’s Amaggi, to join with soy producers and environmental NGOs including Greenpeace to sign the voluntary Amazon Soy Moratorium, banning direct conversion of Amazon forests to soy after 2006. The agreement’s signatories have long proclaimed its phenomenal...
The development over the last 40 years of Mato Grosso state in Brazil’s interior as an industrial agribusiness powerhouse has, from the beginning, been hindered by a major economic problem: how to get the commodities to the coast for profitable export. The first route of export from Mato Grosso was a costly and time-consuming southern one, with commodities...
The meteoric rise in soy production in the state of Mato Grosso is eating up rainforest and savanna at a staggering rate, with 1.2 million hectares under production in 1991; 6.2 million hectares in 2010; and 9.4 million hectares by 2016. Much of that soy is being exported to China, and it is expected that Brazil will grow...
April 11th 2017. In Rio recently ex-military officer and ultra rightwing deputy Jair Bolsanaro was applauded for his racist remarks at the Hebrew club, of all places, while a new survey showed that 73% of cariocas think human rights get in the way of fighting crime.  So two new books are a timely reminder of what unlimited power in...
Bienvenido! Festival 2017 Bienvenido!  El Sueño Existe Festival of Latin American music and politics will take place in Machynlleth, 28, 29 and 30 July 2017. The spirit of Victor Jara in beautiful Mid Wales. To buy tickets click here For every festival we choose a different theme and this year we will be looking at Ecuador.  We seek to weave a tapestry...
In 1992 the United Nations-backed Chapultepec peace accords brought decades of civil war in El Salvador to an end. Now, 25 years after the peace accords, El Salvador still faces the challenges of social divisions, high crime rates, and controversial amnesty laws. A recent event in London examined the legacy of the conflict and the deep-seated problems still facing Salvadorean society. Peace...
Sinop, a city of 125,000 people in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon in Mato Grosso state, is a modern success story. Prosperous and booming, the small urban center services a region dominated today by industrial agriculture. Few remember how the city came to be. As recently as the 1970’s, the Sinop region was mostly rainforest and occupied by...

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