Oakland, CA – On Friday, the United States and Brazil announced plans to move forward with a $100M plan for “development” in the Amazon, originally announced in March. At today’s press conference, Brazil’s foreign minister Ernesto Araújo said opening the rainforest to economic development was “the only way to really protect the forest,” and U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo did not reference the current fires raging in the Amazon that have drawn worldwide outrage.
Christian Poirier, Program Director at Amazon Watch, issued the following statement:
“It is absolutely preposterous to assert that private-sector ‘development’ in the Amazon is the way to protect the rainforest. To the contrary, private-sector ‘development’ is the cause of Amazon destruction. Further industrial expansion in the rainforest will undoubtedly drive further deforestation, pushing the Amazon closer to the ecological tipping point that scientists warn will totally destroy it.
“Araújo repeated Bolsonaro’s rhetoric that international calls to defend the Amazon are a violation of Brazil’s sovereignty – a sick reversal of the truth, which is that Brazil actively violates the self-determination of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, most of whom have repeatedly called for an end to the expansion of industrial activities into their ancestral territories.
“Furthermore, putting the private sector in charge of conserving the Amazon totally ignores the historic role of indigenous peoples as the best protectors of the rainforest. And it puts them – especially those living in voluntary isolation – at even greater risk.
“The Bolsonaro administration rejected funding from the G7 to protect the rainforest, instead opting to pursue plans with the Trump administration. This U.S.-Brazil plan could pour gasoline on the fires burning in the Amazon and fuel the ongoing violations of indigenous rights.”
Amazon Watch released a report in April on the supply chains and financial flows between the Brazilian Amazon and U.S. and European companies and financial firms.