LAB Newsletter May 2017: The Tapajos Under Attack

LAB has just published an important 14-part series of articles about the Tapajós and Teles Pires tributaries of the Amazon, under threat from massive expansion of soya farming. Meanwhile, LAB's Voices of Latin America urgently needs your donations to meet its funding target.

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5 May 2017

THE TAPAJÓS UNDER ATTACK
OUTSTANDING LAB ARTICLE SERIES

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The Tapajós River runs through the heart of the Amazon. The government of Dilma Rousseff planned to dam it and its tributaries with more than 40 dams. Recently, the Congress tried but failed to approve the building of an industrial waterway that would utilize the dams and their reservoirs to transport soy. Photo courtesy of International Rivers
The Tapajós River runs through the heart of the Amazon. The government of Dilma Rousseff planned to dam it and its tributaries with more than 40 dams. Recently, the Congress tried but failed to approve the building of an industrial waterway that would utilize the dams and their reservoirs to transport soy. Photo courtesy of International Rivers

The Tapajós Under Attack

In October/November 2016, LAB editor Sue Branford travelled to Mato Grosso and Pará, Brazil, to examine the human and environmental impact of development and, in particular, the vast expansion of soya monoculture, on the Teles Pires and Tapajós tributaries of the Amazon. Accompanied by Brazilian anthropologist Mauricio Torres and photographer/film-maker Thais Borges, they chronicled an astonishing series of interviews and eye-witness experience. They met farmers, large and small, representatives of government and companies, land thieves (grileiros), local officials, fisherfolk, indigenous communities and some of the human rights and environmental activists who are campaigning alongside local people to save the Amazon.

Sue comments: “What I found most amazing, apart from the courage of community activists prepared to speak out despite the obvious risks, was the huge increase in violence you observe, as you travel further north and west, until you are on the very edge of the agricultural frontier. Loggers, land and thieves and ranchers are engaged in a vicious struggle to expropriate indigenous communities, traditional populations and peasant families. With the blessing of the Temer government, they are openly sending in illegal militias to evict the communities. It is, of course, an unequal struggle but not one that is yet lost, as the families are fighting back so fiercely. It feels like stepping back into the era of the military dictatorship. What is at stake is not just the survival of the communities but our future too, as the land thieves are hell-bent on cutting down the forest and selling the land to ranchers and soya farmers, just at a time when scientists are discovering more amazing ways in which the Amazon forest helps stabilise the global climate”

The results of their trip, almost a book in length, has been published as a series of 14 articles under the series-title The Tapajós Under Attack. The articles can be found in English on the site of Mongabay, which commissioned them, and LAB. All have been published simultaneously in Portuguese on The Intercept. The complete list of articles and links is shown in the table below:

The Tapajós Under Attack

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Title

Intercept

1 Temer Government set to overthrow Brazil’s environmental agenda In Portuguese
2 Battle for the Amazon: the Tapajós basin threatened by massive development In Portuguese
3 The end of a People –Mundurukú people fear annihilation In Portuguese
4 Day of Terror in Tapajós river basin In Portuguese
5 Greenwash in the Tapajós In Portuguese
6 As Sinop grew, the Amazon rainforest faded away In Portuguese
7 Soy invasion poses imminent threat to Amazon In Portuguese
8 The rush to turn the Amazon into a soy transport corridor In Portuguese
9 Amazon Soy Moratorium: defeating deforestation or greenwash diversion? In Portuguese
10 All crime and no punishment: Amazon thieves keep stolen public land In Portuguese
11 Amazon land speculators poised to gain control of vast public lands In Portuguese
12 Indigenous groups, the Amazon’s best land stewards, under federal attack In Portuguese
13 Deforestation has become big business in the Brazilian Amazon In Portuguese

Voices of Latin America

Voices of Latin America is LAB’s most ambitious book project for many years, and once the book is published the project will expand and remain up-to-date as a web-site. We already have over 60 interviews from 13 countries.

There are so many powerful progressive voices emerging from the grassroots in Latin America. Please help us to get their message out. You can find out more about the project on the Crowdfunder project page, or e-mail us at editorial@lab.org.

Best wishes,
The LAB Team

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