Death Threat Will Not Deter Greenpeace Campaign to Protect the Amazon

July 6, 2010

A telephone call received last week at a house where Greenpeace campaigners live and work in Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, threatened death to Paulo Adario who coordinates Greenpeace's Amazon Campaign.

“This is not only a serious threat against my life but, of
greater importance, it is a threat to all people who campaign to
protect the Amazon,” said Paulo Adario. “It is clear that our
recent work exposing illegal logging of mahogany in the Amazon is
at the base of this threat. In Brazil it is well known that most of
the mahogany trade is controlled by criminals, who for too long
have been allowed to operate with impunity. “

Greenpeace believes this threat is direct response to fresh
evidence of extensive illegal logging deep in the heart of the
Amazon released by the organization on September 26th. Photographs
and video images from a recent aerial reconnaissance by Greenpeace
clearly showed sophisticated logging operations in lands belonging
to the Amazon’s Kayapó Indians, an area where logging is strictly
prohibited. Satellite images obtained by Greenpeace also revealed
details of these operations. This information was delivered to the
Federal Prosecutor in Brasilia, along with Greenpeace’s call for a
full investigation.

In a bid to stop the opening of the forest by mahogany loggers,
the Brazilian Government in 1996 enacted a moratorium on new
mahogany logging ventures. But, based on Greenpeace’s new
information, several companies appear to be using false papers to
cover up their illegal logging operations on adjacent Kayapó Indian

The Amazon region is known for violence against those who work
to defend it. One tragic example occurred on August 25th in
Altamira when the coordinator of the Movement for the Development
of the Transamazon and Xingu Region (MDTX), Ademir Alfeu Federicci
(Dema), was killed by a gunman in his home. Dema was an active
leader in the resistance to the construction of dams and an
opponent of illegal logging in the region. He unsuccessfully
defended himself and was shot in the head in front of his wife and

Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Jose Sarney Filho, expressed
deep concern. “I would like to say that I take the death threat
made to the Greenpeace member as if it was directed to me. That is
because Greenpeace does nothing less than what we do. That is why
they have all my support in assuring the physical safety of the
Greenpeace Campaigner. The partnership between the Ministry and
Greenpeace is long standing and has brought many results, reducing
the huge illegal operations in that region”.

On Monday, Jose Carlos Dias, former Minister of Justice of
Brazil and a prominent human rights activist, voluntarily stepped
forward to pledge his full support for Paulo Adario and

Amazonino Mendes, the Governor of Brazil’s Amazonas State, said
that he would give all possible guarantees for the safety of Mr.
Adario, so that the work of Greenpeace can continue in the

“We will do everything in our power to protect our people in the
Amazon, but we will not be intimidated into stopping our work. We
will not be silenced,” said John Passacantando, Executive Director
of Greenpeace in the U.S. “Greenpeace has been working to protect
the Amazon and those who depend on the forest.”

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