The head of Brazil's environmental protection agency has resigned following criticism from the country's newly inaugurated far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
A spokesperson for the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) confirmed on Monday that Suely de Araujo stepped down after Bolsonaro suggested there were irregularities in Ibama's budget. Araujo had led the agency since 2016.
The Environment Ministry, which oversees Ibama, admitted it that it had been planning to replace Araujo and that a new head of the agency would be named within days.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who swept to power in a tumultuous October election, has routinely attacked Ibama, which is tasked with policing the Amazon rainforest to stop deforestation and illegal mining.
On Sunday, Bolsonaro re-tweeted a Tweet published by Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, highlighting an alleged 28.7 million reais (US$ 7.73m) budget allocation by the agency for rental vehicles.
We've had a system created mainly to financially violate Brazilians without the slightest care, Bolsonaro said.
Araujo released a written statement on Sunday saying Bolsonaro and Salles, who has previously called climate change a secondary issue and alleged many environmental fines are ideological, had made baseless accusations.
She said the cost was for the rental of 393 four-wheel drive trucks used by Ibama's armed agents across Brazil, and that the contract's amount also included all fuel costs and maintenance.
Analysts, meanwhile, said Bolsonaro's actions demonstrated his presidency could pose a genuine threat to the Amazon.
The protection of the Amazon always relies on strong laws and rules, Thiago de Aragao, a director at the Brasilia-based political consultancy Arko Advice underlined.
So definitely he [Bolsonaro] could be a threat in the sense that he could create a trend that the mindset of protecting the Amazon might not be the number one priority among certain individuals within the government, de Aragao added.
About 13% of Brazil's national territory is demarcated as indigenous land - defined as an area inhabited and exclusively possessed by indigenous people. Approximately 98% of such areas are located in the Amazon, an ecosystem considered by environmental scientists as a crucial buffer against the impacts of climate change.
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Brazil needs to use aggressive methods to counter the uncontrolled high level of violent crime.Jan 09th, 2019 - 01:20 pm 0
Rental fees of US$ 7,73 million / month for 393 pickups.....boils down to US$ 655,00 /day / vehicle - kind of expensive, considering that daily hire of a Nissan Frontier pick-up is US$ 50.00/day (393 would cost far less), one full tank of fuel /day costs less than US$ 100,00, with very little, if any, maintenance for 'new' vehicles - so, how does one explain the extra cost of US$ 505,00/day/vehicle ?Jan 14th, 2019 - 03:01 pm 0
Of course, the left insists that Suely de Araujo's replacement was politically motivated...that there were NO irregularities in the contract, or in IBAMA's budget, and that this only happened because Bolsonaro wants to turn the Amazon into the Sahara desert.
Just an update of the damage, up to this morning : now, over 200 attacks in 40 towns in Ceará : damage to 2 bridges, 1 overpass ; 1 prison attacked; 1 gas station torched, blown up ; 1 dealership and many cars destroyed; power transmission tower destroyed ; several public buildings torched, including a Court House; buses and vehicles burned ; destruction of bank buildings; attempt to destroy trains/ tracks.....because organized crime is against the toughening up of the laws. Hope the death penalty is implemented to deal with these SOBs....both the actual perpetrators as well as those who are giving the orders from inside the prisons.
While a few politicians who support Bolsonaro were against sending federal help to Ceará (which was recommended by Moro), the governor (a petista) is very glad of the help, despite the fact that some radical petistas wanted more - such as federal intervention in the State as occurred in Rio last year...IF this happened, the federal government would be unable to pass the essential reforms, which require Constitutional amendments approved by Congress - which would not happen if federal intervention were declared....as usual, the PT working behind the scenes to sabotage the new government, at the expense of Ceará 'n its people....despite most of them being petistas.
@JBJan 15th, 2019 - 10:13 am 0
How do you mean at the expense of Ceará 'n its people? I can see the PT might have an ulterior motive for proposing federal intervention, if that prevents Congress changing the constitution. But how is it bad for Ceará if that happens? Seems like federal intervention ought to help, if anything.
PS. Last week one of my colleagues was saying she hoped they'd send her to Brazil on a business trip, so I linked her to an article about the trouble in Fortaleza. Turns out our main guy in Brazil (who she works with a lot) just moved up there! I hope he'll be okay.