The International League of People’s Struggle and its Commission on the Environment and Climate Justice (ILPS Commission XIX), expresses its solidarity with the Brazilian people amid the  environmental crisis that is happening in Amazon forest. Massive and widespread forest fires are consuming tens of thousands of hectares of forests and obliterating flora and fauna in the Amazonian region. The fires have already affected the people’s livelihood and health in urban centers such as the city of São Paulo.

The Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, produces 20% of the world’s oxygen supply. It is also one of the world’s major carbon sinks and has one of the highest species biodiversity in the world. The Amazon forest is not only important to the people of Brazil but to the world as well as its condition affects the Earth’s ecosystems and climate. It is our heritage, the heart of our Pachamama in the American continent. 

ILPS Commission XIX is one with the Brazilians in their stand that the current environmental crisis has been triggered and aggravated by the pro-corporate and pro-landgrabber position of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. His pronouncements about opening the Amazon for ‘economic development’ is a conscious effort of his administration to grant giant agricultural companies and big landlords in Brazil license to clear the Amazon forest for vast cattle ranching businesses, establishments of agricultural plantations, commercial logging and the extraction of fossil fuels and mineral resources. After his anti-environment pronouncements, he weakens the Brazilian government’s control and regulation on the expansion and operation of cattle ranching, mining, and logging. He also weakens the protection of forest parks, natural conservation areas and indigenous territories from big business encroachment. 

As expected, massive forest clearings and  commercial extraction of natural resources in the Amazon is rapidly intensifying under Balsonaro’s term. President Jair Bolsonaro assumed office in January 2019.

Brazil’s internationally renowned  National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported an 88% rise in deforestation in the 1st half of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018. The institute also said it had detected more than 74,000 fires between January and August this year and it was the highest recorded since 2013. Since July 2018  to June 2019, deforestation in Brazil has reached a total of 4,565 square kilometers, more than the same period recorded in the previous year.

The so-called ‘development of the Amazon’ follows the globalization dictates of big imperialist countries and giant corporations, particularly from the United States and China to open up Brazil’s natural resources for plunder. This is akin to what the imperialist institution World Bank did in 1981 when they financed ruling military generals on their US$1.6-billion road construction and forest clearing projects in the conflict-ridden Rondonia to expand the cattle industry. Five years later, there was a 3,000% increase in cattle population and massive deforestation in Rondonia.  Add to that the numerous massacres and human rights violations committed by government military forces against the indigenous people of Rondonia who were protecting their ancestral lands, forests, and communities.

President Bolsonaro’s pronouncements give free rein to land grabbers and big businesses to trample the rights of the indigenous peoples and peasants in the Amazon. The President and his ilk have the least priority and concern for the health of the ecological systems, biodiversity, and people’s communities in the forest. To please his capitalists masters, opening up the Amazon is his declaration of war against the indigenous people of Brazil.

ILPS Commission XIX condemns the Bolsonaro administration for worsening the ecological devastation of the Amazon and Brazil as a whole. We support the Brazilian people in protecting the Amazon and defending Pachamama against an environmental criminal, pro-landlord, pro-capitalist President Bolsonaro. 

Defend our forests and its people, Bolsonaro hands off Amazon!
Stop imperialist plunder! 
Long live international solidarity!

ILPS Commission on the Environment and Climate Justice
August 24, 2019