Greenpeace activists occupy an area in 1,645 hectares of the Amazon that has been illegally deforested and unfurled a huge 2,500 square meter banner. The President of the Agricultural Producers Association in Santarem, – José Donizetti – is held directly responsible by the Brazilian Environmental Agency IBAMA for this illegal deforestation.
The green wall of forest on either side of the dusty road gives
way to a denuded clearing. The naked brown soil contrasts starkly
with the jumbled growth of the rainforest surrounding it. From the
air, it looks like a fresh wound, the forest cut open by chainsaws
In the clearing, our activists and members of the local
community get ready to send a message to those that destroy the
Amazon. In the middle of the 1645-hectare illegal clearing they
deploy a huge banner: '100% Crime
A week and a half after our protest at the site of the forest
destruction, we receive the good news, the man held responsible for
the destruction is being brought to justice.
José Donizetti was arrested on 17 March in Santarem, a city in
Pará state, Brazil. He is accused of illegally deforesting 1,645
hectares, destroying Brazil nut trees - protected under Brazilian
Law - and is also accused of interfering in the work of the
Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA), as well as disrespecting
This isn't the first time Donizetti has faced justice in Brazil;
he has been fined twice before for illegal land clearance. Our
protest at the site of his latest crime 11 days before his arrest
didn't go unchallenged. During the peaceful protest he arrived at
the scene in a truck with a number of other men. He threatened the
activists and the local community members who were symbolically
planting native trees. In a rage, he drove his truck over the '100%
Crime' banner the activists had unfurled in the middle of the
illegal clearing and, in the words of one who was there, '100%
Greenpeace is a watchdog, not a police dog. When we expose
environmental crimes, we rely on the forces of law to do something
about it. Jose Donizetti isn't the only one currently under the
spotlight of Brazilian justice.
The enormous Swiss company Syngenta was fined nearly 400,000
euros after they were caught illegally growing genetically modified
crops next to a national park. Greenpeace is demanding the
immediate destruction of the crop.
The fine is yet another blow to Syngenta after the company's
home country rejected the growing of GMOs in the alpine nation in a
referendum late last year and comes a year to the day that it was
revealed to the European Commission that Syngenta had released
unauthorised and untested GMO maize (BT10) in the US and in exports
to EU countries.
Martin Luther King said that, "the arc of the moral universe is
long, but it bends toward justice." In at least these two cases in
Brazil, the universe is bending the right way.
Help us fight the destruction of the Amazon and the spread of GMO's.