Mato Grosso’s governor, Blairo Maggi, has won Greenpeace’s Golden Chainsaw award for the Brazilian person who most contributed to Amazon destruction.
Rather than accept the award from his celebrity presenters, however, the ‘Soya King’ slunk out through the back door of the school he was visiting, to the taunting shouts of hundreds of children.
Greenpeace’s Internet-based Golden Chainsaw award, for the Brazilian most responsible for Amazon destruction, ended with 27,849 votes of which Maggi, the world’s largest individual soya producer, received 10,348 votes (37%). He was followed by Brazilian President Lula da Silva, with 7,314 votes (26%).
Greenpeace’s Amazon Campaigner Paulo Adario assured that Maggi was a deserving winner. “Maggi deserved the award. After two years as the State Governor, he has turned Mato Grosso into the State champion of deforestation, responsible for 48% of the total forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon,” he said.
Three comedians from a popular TV show in Brazil, Pânico na TV (Panic on TV) tried to deliver the Golden Chainsaw statuette to Blairo Maggi on Wednesday at a school in Cuiabá, capital of Mato Grosso.
However, the State Governor refused to accept the award, and the presenters were removed from the school by security. More than 1,000 people, including hundreds of children, responded to this eviction by calling on Maggi to show up and accept the statuette, shouting:
“Maggi, Maggi… Accept it, accept it” and “Protect nature.”
But to their disappointment, Maggi had left through a back door.
“We are extremely happy to have both the artists (from Pânico na TV) and their fans’ support for our campaign,” said Adario.
“This is yet another way to take such an important issue as the protection of the Amazon into people’s daily lives.”
The Awards certainly captured peoples’ imaginations – the local newspaper sold a record number of copies on the day of the presentation, and Pânico na TV has an audience of about 40 million people!
The other nominees for the person who most contributed to record levels of Amazon destruction were the Federal Ministers José Dirceu (Chief of Staff), who just resigned his post, Antonio Palocci (Finance) and Roberto Rodrigues (Agriculture) and the Governor of the Pará State Simão Jatene.
Blairo Maggi – 10.348 votes (37,21%)
The Governor of Mato Grosso state, the absolute champion of Amazon deforestation, responsible for 48% of the total destruction in the region between 2003-2004. Considered the King of Soy, Maggi wants to be President of Brazil. He is the author of the celebrated phrase, “This business of forests does not have a future”. And, if it depends on him, it certainly won’t.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – 7.314 votes (26,3%)
The very busy President of Brazil, he is ultimately responsible for Governmental actions and inertia. Although Lula had promised a sustainable development model for the Amazon, his administration still considers environmental protection a mere obstacle to economic development.
Simão Jatene – 6.018 votes (21,64%)
Governor of Pará state, which is historically the runner up (second place) on deforestation, but winner in the categories of violence and murders in the field, slave labor, illegal occupation of land and activities of inherent mismanagement in the process of deforestation.
José Dirceu – 1.528 votes (5,50%)
Until last week, “Prime-minister” in the line of command of Lula’s Government and, as the Chief of the Civil House, the man pulling the strings. Coordinator of the uncoordinated “Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon” and greatly responsible for the lack of its implementation.
Roberto Rodrigues – 1.506 votes (5,42%)
The Minister of Agriculture, who is also a soy farmer in Maranhão state. He is absolutely convinced that agribusiness will save Brazilian economy. He hesitates to recognize the relationship between deforestation and the advance of agribusiness in the Amazon.
Antônio Palocci – 1.093 votes (3,93%)
The Finance Minister and owner of the treasury’s key. He flatters agribusiness and applauds Brazil’s positive trade balance while Governmental institutions and agencies concerned with environmental protection lack federal resources.
Greenpeace – www.greenpeace.org