sábado, 30 de setembro de 2017

Misgovernment deepens degradation in Brazil

Sergio U. Dani * and Paulo M. Serrano Neves § 

Amidst what may be the largest corruption case in modern history [1] coupled with huge public and private debts, chronic unemployment, violence and increasing socioenvironmental degradation, a fistful of Brazilian lobbyists and their hired politicians are doing more of what they know best: looting of public and natural resources. 

President Temer’s decree nº 9.142 of 22nd August 2017 and its modifications abolished a protected area known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (RENCA) covering 46,000 sq km of the Amazon rainforest between the northern states of Pará and Amapá.

This territory is larger than Denmark and it had been protected by the military since 1984 because of its natural richness including sizeable reserves of gold, copper, and other minerals. The area also contains nine nature conservation units including two indigenous land areas. According to a WWF report, the main area of interest for copper and gold exploitation is in one of the protected areas, the Biological Reserve of Maicuru. 

Months before the decree was announced to the astonished Brazilian people, members of the Brazilian government informed Canadian mining companies, in Canada, of the plan to issue the decree. The unofficial cooperation between some Brazilian officials and Canadian mining companies is not new [2], and a known issue is the hiring of former Minas Gerais state secretary Wilson Nelio Brumer by Canadian Kinross Gold corporation to facilitate its business [3]. Kinross open cut gold mining in the city of Paracatu is responsible for the perhaps largest environmental degradation and widespread chronic arsenic intoxication in Brazil [4,5].

The deceptive artifice of Temer’s decree consists in affirming that the mining activity will take care of the "application of specific legislation on protection of the native vegetation, units of conservation of the nature, indigenous lands and areas in the buffer zones".

The government believes that the Brazilian people - who were made illiterate by the educational system - have reached such a state of imbecility that they do not know the history of Brazil enough to know that nowhere in Brazil does any large mining company protect any minimum environmental or human interest, as demonstrated by the situation of the Iron Quadrangle in Minas Gerais that broke out in the giant catastrophe of Mariana and, in the same state, the city of Paracatu, seen from space having its urban area being swallowed by open pit mining with arsenic dust escape.

Environmental systems suffer from pressures coming from the externality, be they peripheral or border pressures, pressures from changing overlying climate, particulate or solute emissions, traffic of people and vehicles, or from other anthropic facilities and activities.

The scenario of interactions proper to an environmental system requires removal of any alien interaction and more so when interactions receive legal protection.

The Presidency of the Republic threatens to explode the Art. 225 of the Brazilian Constitution - "Everyone has the right to an ecologically balanced environment, a common use of the people and essential to a healthy quality of life, imposing itself on the Public Power And to the collective the duty to defend and preserve it for present and future generations " - and on the ruins to build the economic recovery with the same hands that ruined the economy.

Wanting to make people believe that an activity that loots the nature and degrades the environment, such as mining, has the vocation to become protective is to want to make believe that this act of misgovernment is an act of government.

Temerary Temer’s misgovernment decrees have elicited national and international outcry and it is hoped that they will be reversed by their opponents.

* MD, DSc, President of the MIMER-Medawar Institute for Medical and Environmental Research, Paracatu, MG, Brazil. Email: sergio.dani@hin.ch
§ Constitutional Lawyer and former Criminal Prosecutor of the State of Goiás, Brazil. Email: serrano@serrano.neves.nom.br


[1] Padgett T. 2017. Brazil’s Car Wash scandal reveals a country soaked in corruption. What may be the largest corruption case in modern history runs deep in Latin America’s largest country. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-25/brazil-s-car-wash-scandal-reveals-a-country-soaked-in-corruption [accessed 27 August 2017]

[2] Lukacs M, Groves T. 2013. Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal. Government agency that allegedly spied on Brazil had secret meetings with energy companies. The Guardian, Wednesday 9 October, 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/09/canadian-spies-met-energy-firms-documents [accessed 27 August 2017].

[3] Dani SU. 2009. Canadian Kinross Gold Corporation operates corruption plots and a true genocide in Brazil. http://sosarsenic.blogspot.ch/2009/11/canadian-kinross-gold-corporation.html [accessed 27 August 2017].

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