In February, ministers Gustavo Bebianno (Secretary-General of the Presidency), Ricardo Salles (Environment) and Damares Alves (Women, Family and Human Rights) had planned travel to Tiriós (Pará) to speak with local leaders about the construction of a bridge over the Amazon River in the city of Óbidos, a hydroelectric plant in Oriximiná, and the expansion of the BR-163 highway to the Suriname border. But this meeting was canceled.
A second meeting among government officials, also in February, used a PowerPoint presentation that details the projects announced by the Bolsonaro government for the region. The presentation, which was leaked to democraciaAbierta, argues that a strong government presence in the Amazon region is important to prevent any conservation projects from taking roots.
The slides are clear. Before any predatory plan is implemented, the strategy begins with rhetoric. Bolsonaro's hate speech already shows that the plan is working. The Amazon is on fire. It's been burning for weeks and not even those who live in Brazil were fully aware. Thanks to the efforts of local communities with the help of social networks, the reality is finally going viral.
The online reaction is far from being sensationalist. This year alone, Brazil had 72,000 fire outbreaks, half of which are in the Amazon. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) reported that its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018.
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