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Wed May 6, 2020, 07:59 AM

Bolsonaro Fires 2 Environmental Managers For Doing Their Jobs - Blocking Illegal Logging, Land Theft

Last Thursday, April 30, Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles fired two IBAMA, environmental agency coordinators responsible for successfully combating Amazon illegal deforestation and land grabbing — Renê Luiz de Oliveira and Hugo Ferreira Loss.

Both had been leading up inspections within Indigenous Territories (TIs) in the Xingu River basin in southern Pará state, including the Apyterewa, Trincheira Bacajá, Kayapó and Ituna Itatá reserves, TIs that saw extremely high levels of illegal Amazon deforestation in 2019.

The firings occurred despite a letter opposing the dismissal published by 16 IBAMA environmental inspectors on April 21. In the letter, the inspectors said that “this process, in addition to being characterized as retaliation, is moving in the direction of hindering the regular progress of ongoing investigations.” The environmental inspectors assert that the work led by Oliveira and Loss resulted in “a significant reduction of deforestation, especially in the Ituna Itatá TI,” which saw the greatest deforestation of any Brazilian indigenous reserve last year — and went from 7,467 hectares (18,451 acres) of forest loss in 2019, reduced to zero by March 2020.

The firings were allegedly triggered by TV coverage of an IBAMA operation conducted by Oliveira and Loss, shutting down illegal mining activities in Xingu basin TIs and protecting indigenous villages there from possible Covid-19 contamination. Beginning on April 4, the operation led by the duo of IBAMA coordinators had uncovered major illegal mining activities, illicit sawmills, plus a large quantity of illegal weapons, along with trafficked animals trapped in bags found within the Apyterewa, Araweté and Trincheira Bacajá TIs.



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