A small group of us had been working in Manaus, deep in the Amazon, for two years. We were exposing illegal logging operations and making some enemies in the process.
The Amazon was isolated and violent. Assassinations of local politicians and activists were an almost weekly event and corruption was rampant.
As Paulo Adario, our lead campaigner said "we always knew the Amazon was a risky campaign. To campaign in a wild-west frontier is totally different from campaigning in Sao Paulo or Canada. In those places our adversaries would never call for a pistolero to solve the ‘problem’. In the Amazon, impunity is law and the people we target don’t give a damn for international repercussions. The more we succeed, the more we face risks."
We’d received threats in the past but, in October 2001, we got a serious call. A woman said, "Greenpeace… tell the guy with the beard that he must die, and he will die."
The only guy with a beard was Paulo.