Amazon tragedy repeats itself as Brazil’s rainforest goes up in smoke | World news


Jair Bolsonaro smiles at a propaganda billboard at the entrance to this scruffy Amazon outpost, welcoming travelers to its “development road.”But 20 months after Bolsonaro’s presidency began – and a year after a devastating blaze of fires in the Amazon sparked global outrage – the fires are back, and many fear the Brazilian leader is instead leading his country towards environmental ruin.

The entrance to Novo Progresso. Photography: Lucas Landau / The Guardian

During a two-hour surveillance flight in the skies around Novo Progresso, the Guardian saw giant columns of white and gray smoke rise from the supposedly protected forests below.

Elsewhere, illegal gold mines could be seen in indigenous Baú territory – a chaotic tapestry of muddy puddles and makeshift settlements where virgin forest once stood. Newly cleared areas of fallen and charred trees were visible in the Iriri Forest Reserve.

“The Amazon is doomed to destruction,” despaired a former senior official with the weakened Brazilian environmental agency Ibama, accusing the far-right populist of overseeing a comprehensive “demolition” of protection efforts.

“Under this government, there will be no fight [of rainforest destruction]“Said the ex-official. “The future looks bleak. “

Fires in Brazil

Under pressure from foreign investors, governments and Brazilian business leaders to avoid a repeat of last year’s scandal – when celebrities and world leaders such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Emmanuel Macron condemned Bolsonaro’s treatment to the ‘regard to the Amazon – the Brazilian government has gone on the offensive.

“This story that the Amazon is igniting is a lie,” Bolsonaro insisted earlier this month, despite growing evidence to the contrary.


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