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Brazzil - Amazon - August 2004

Brazil's Plan to Sell Out the Amazon

The Brazilian government is getting ready to put the Amazon
for sale. Foreign companies will be able to bid. Multinationals
and even governments of rich countries will buy almost the
totality of the soon to be privatized territory, thus anticipating
in decades their domination and internationalization.

Carlos Chagas


Picture Professor Hélio Fernandes is right when he says that in Brazil the next day is always a little worse than the previous one.

We have already written a lot about the strategy of multinationals and rich countries governments, which are determined to maintain the Amazon untouched, so that they can internationalize it and attack it as vampires raiding a blood bank.

Mind you that the administration, which is allegedly a workers' government, has found a faster way to give away the region to foreigners.

There is a bill now getting its finishing touches that would privatize Amazon's public lands, which represent more than half of the Amazon territory, opening them to development programs.

Detail: foreign companies will be able to participate as buyers. What's the consequence of this crime, which is a coup against the nation? Multinationals and even governments of rich countries will buy almost the totality of the soon to be privatized territory, thus anticipating in decades their domination and the Amazon's internationalization.

No one disputes the fact that the Amazon needs to be developed. This is a fundamental premise for the defense of Brazil's sovereignty. But to be developed through those who wish to transform the Amazon into an autonomous and independent nation, is reason enough to send people to jail.

The project envisions, initially, privatization of 50 million hectares, representing a production of 30 million cubic meters of wood a year and earnings amounting to US$ 70 million in the first 12 months.

Add to this the exploration of medicinal and ornamental plants besides fruits and resins and certainly minerals. All of this might represent the key to the development of the Amazon weren't for a trap in the text, and probably its fundamental raison d'être: the indiscriminate overture to foreign capital.

It would have been easy to understand if such a proposal had appeared during the sociologist's (former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso) administration. After all, he and his government were countryless. During the government of workers, however, this might be called foolishness if it weren't utter treason. Wake up, Environment Minister Marina Silva!

Enough Scandal

From Waldomiro Diniz to the Health Ministry's vampires; from the Ágora company to the show financed by Bank of Brazil for the construction of the Workers' Party (PT) headquarters; from fiscal omissions and remittance of money overseas by the Central Bank and Bank of Brazil presidents to the dismissal of the Central Bank's Monetary Policy director, Candiota, many people contribute to the seven fundamental scandals consummated during the PT's watch.

Others say the number of scandals should be doubled. According to them, there were 14 and not seven verified irregularities.

Something is certain: the quota is complete. Done. There is no room for another misdeed carried out by key figures of the federal administration.

Anything else and we will start to witness the demoralization of an honest lathe-operator's government. Let's hope Lula will soon start to react following on the steps of former President Itamar Franco .

Any other sign of denunciation, even if not proved, requires the prompt dismissal of those involved. They'd better defend themselves outside the protective cocoon of their functions. In case they are proved innocent they should be returned to their posts with all pomp and circumstance.

What we cannot put up with is that everyone is kept in their posts, innocent and guilty, guaranteed by feelings of friendship, loyalty, pity, commiseration or fear.

The exercise of power is or at least should be cruel in order to preserve whoever symbolizes it. After all, traitor is anyone responsible for cons and swindles not who trusted them and was stabbed in the back.

Who Are the Spies?

Times and administrations ago, there was a unified indisputable terror inside public administrations. Confidential and almost always embarrassing information would be leaked to the press mortifying those in power.

In every ministry, department or office there were PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers' Party) soldiers, specialized in keeping an eye on the res publica, exposing corruption cases, photocopying documents and handing them over to the press.

It was a time filled of terror for those in management positions. People were always worried about the colleague seating at the next desk. The PT's shadow made many people lose their sleep.

Now the situation is reversed. Information about corruption actions in the government machine is not coming from PT members or sympathizers.

Has a new spy network been put together? Are they liberals or from the PSD (Partido da Social Democracia—Social Democracy Party), the party of former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso?

Certainly the network was already in place. The moles were only waiting for their time. When the stone becomes window the consequences are shattering.

Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio's daily Tribuna da Imprensa and is a representative of the Brazilian Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your comments at carloschagas@hotmail.com.
Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.

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