Amazonia: two disappearances and a disaster

QWhat happened to Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira? The two men have been missing for more than ten days in the Vale do Javari, on the edge of the Amazon, near the border which separates Brazil from Peru. Those close to this emeritus freelance journalist attached to the protection of the environment and this renowned researcher, committed defender of indigenous peoples, fear the worst. Well Named.

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As big as Austria, the Vale do Javari is a region that is difficult to access. There is the greatest concentration of isolated peoples, without any contact with the outside world. Their number is estimated between 300 to 500 people according to specialists, which means that they weigh little against the destructive machine that is ravaging the “lung” of the planet, whose fate is nevertheless essential in the fight against global warming.

By concentrating all the evils of the Amazon, the Vale do Javari has indeed become a front line. It is threatened, like all this immense region, by illegal hunters and fishermen, by gold miners and aggressive agriculture, even by evangelical missionaries determined to convert the last representatives of these isolated peoples by all means.

A zone of lawlessness

Added to this is the shadow cast by drug trafficking. Crisscrossed by heavily armed convoys, the area has become a hub for cocaine from Peru and Colombia, and bound for Brazil. This critical situation explains why Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, both particularly experienced, took the risk of going there: to testify tirelessly to the threat hanging over the last surveyors of this lost paradise, as well as over a unique biodiversity.

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Everything suggests that they could have been the victims of what the Amazon has become today: an area of ​​lawlessness where crime thrives in all its forms, environmental and social, with forced labor, prostitution, drug leprosy and blood crimes. This is the daily lot, on the spot, of journalists and defenders of the environment, as well as their families.

The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, initially reacted to these two disappearances with culpable detachment. “It’s an adventure that is not recommended. Everything can happen “he declared, before resigning himself, under pressure, to mobilizing the army.

Deforestation and gold panning

The president is indeed no stranger to what weighs on the Amazon. He has never denied his vision of a region that must be exploited without mercy whatever the cost for its natives or our climatic future. “The interest of the Amazon is not the Indians or the fucking trees, but the ore! »he said bluntly in 2019.

This “developmentalist” view is also paranoid. Indeed, the president constantly suspects foreign non-governmental organizations and indigenous people of being agents of great powers who would like to get their hands on Brazil’s wealth and prevent its development.

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Since his arrival in business, deforestation and gold panning have exploded, and the monoculture of soybeans, synonymous with dramatic impoverishment of the land, is eating away at the forest. Jair Bolsonaro has also slashed the budgets of the institutions responsible for ensuring the protection of nature and people, and allowed a climate of total impunity to take hold which may explain the disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. As his mandate comes to an end, he must be accountable for this disaster.

The world

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