In Brazil, behind the Lula / Bolsonaro duel, the fate of the Amazon is at stake

In the first round of presidential elections held in Brazil on October 2, Lula faced Bolsonaro. Two very different views of the Amazon.

It is an expected duel that awaits Brazil in the second round of the presidential elections. Former president Lula came first, but closely followed by the current president, Jair Bolsonaro : the two candidates received 48 and 43% of the vote respectively. The run-off on October 30 will determine Brazil’s fate for the next four years and decide between two radically different visions of the world.

Lula works against Bolsonaro, left against right

Luiz Inacio da Silva says Lula, comes a long way: a metal worker, former union leader, he led the country from 2003 to 2011. He was later accused of corruption, which landed him in prison in 2019. Then he was acquitted of these charges and released. While in power under the red flag of the Workers’ Party a progressive politicsin favor of the rights of the poorest and minorities.

Jair Bolsonaro is a military man, from a wealthy family. He came to power in 2018. It is marked by his mandate growing inequalityRisky handling of the Covid-19 crisis and accusations of conspiracy and lack of respect for the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.

Lula-Bolsonaro duel © Lucasmello / shutterstock

Deforestation in the Amazon and indigenous peoples: what prospects?

The Brazilian elections are of particular interest to Europeans because they could decide the fate of the Amazons. Jair Bolsonaro has indeed pursued a very soft policy on this issue Deforestation in the Amazon. ” Deforestation records were broken one after another as his government relaxed environmental laws. shows New Scientist.

Gold panders and arsonists act this way with complete impunity. During the first two years of Jair Bolsonaro’s mandate, the numberFines distributed for non-respect of protected areas in the Amazon 93% decrease, says a study in the journal Nature.

in 2021 deforestation It reached the highest level since 2008: 13,000 km² of forest was destroyed. The start of 2022 will also be dire, with looters taking advantage of the impunity that still prevails under Bolsonaro. burned hundreds of hectares of forest. ” More than 33,000 fires were reported in August 2022, the highest number since 2010. “, for example, shows the NGO Greenpeace.

Impunity prevails responsible for deforestationbut also for those responsible massacres of indigenous peoples and minorities. Jair Bolsonaro is threatened with five charges at the International Criminal Court for not respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

in 2019 113 locals were killed, The Committee on Human Rights in Latin America says. Violence against this population has more than doubled in this first year of Bolsonaro’s mandate. illegal occupation of local lands. The Murder of Amazon defenders more than ever during the last four years of their mandates; Among those killed most recently in 2022 were British journalist Don Philips and Brazilian indigenous defender Bruno Pereira.

More generally, environmental organizations and indigenous peoples saw their budgets plummet. ” In 2021, the budget allocated to state bodies for environmental protection has indeed been divided into three compared to 2014. “, points to the research of the NGO Socio-Environmental Institute.

Amazon rainforest seen by former president and candidate Lula

Lula doesn’t have a flawless record when it comes to Amazon. He was particularly criticized for being at the head of the country when he came out Destruction of the Amazon rainforest were the most important (but they steadily decreased between 2003 and 2010). He also made controversial decisions, such as cBelo Monte hydroelectric plantan environmentally destructive project still supported by the president.

Brazilian amazon

Parrot in Brazilian colors © ESB Professional

But the 2022 candidate is committed to ambitious measures for Lula fight against deforestationI’processing of illegal gold and fires. If he is president, he will have to apply to rebuild the network of controls and sanctions against those responsible for deforestation that he introduced in the 2000s and has justified.

Whether these measures will be sufficient remains to be seen save the amazon. Indeed, tropical forests have been so damaged in recent years that they may not recover. On September 6, a group of environmental and indigenous NGOs issued a press release indicating that the Amazon may be “reaching its limit.” point of no return » where is the ecosystem tropical forest it would turn into a savannah.

Banner image: Elections in Brazil © Bernardo Emmanuelle

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