5 May 2017
THE TAPAJÓS UNDER ATTACK
OUTSTANDING LAB ARTICLE SERIES
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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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.