Saturday, April 29, 2017
Sâo Paulo. April 19. The sheer scale and volume of the gigantic bribery operation that has been bankrolling the entire infrastructure of Brazilian politics over the last 30 years is breathtaking. The details, revealed by the declarations of over 70 executives of Brazil’s top construction company, Odebrecht, to teams of public prosecutors investigating the Lava Jato corruption scandal, would...
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 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...
São Paulo, March 22nd. With their usual fine sense of irony, the Federal Police named their latest operation, launched on Friday 17th,   “Carne Fraca” – the Flesh is Weak. The targets were Brazil’s biggest meat companies, all household names, exporters of billions of dollars worth of beef, chicken and meat products to over 150 countries. The two-year investigation, involving over...
The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and also at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build more than 40 large dams, a railway, roads, canals and port complexes, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and...
Main image: police family members protest in Vitória. Their placard reads: We've had no wage increase since 2013 - 40% inflation. The coffin is for Paulo Hartung, the state governor. São Paulo. February 12. A series of moves by President Michel Temer, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies are being interpreted as attempts to block the investigations into Brazil’s...
At the end of 2016, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the conflict with the FARC guerrillas that has torn apart his country for more than 50 years. In his acceptance speech, Santos said the award “came like a gift from heaven, because it gave us a tremendous push” and “a...

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