Prize recognizes largest contributor to Amazon rainforest destruction
May 27, 2005

The environmental group Greenpeace nominated President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and five others for its first "Golden Chainsaw" prize -- to be awarded to the Brazilian deemed to have contributed most to the Amazon's destruction.


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Figures released last week from the Brazilian government showed that 10,088 square miles of rain forest were destroyed in the 12 months ending in August 2004. Deforestation in the Amazon in 2004 was the second worst ever as rain forest was cleared for cattle ranches and soy farms

Greenpeace nominated Lula, his chief of staff Jose Dirceu, Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, Agriculture Minister Roberto Rodrigues, Mato Grosso state Governor Blairo Maggi and Para state Governor Simao Jatene.

The prize will be given to "the Brazilian personality whose action or inaction were decisive in the incredible levels of deforestation in the Amazon," according to a Greenpeace release.

    Blairo Maggi
    Governor of the State of Mato Grosso, absolute champion of deforestation. (The state was responsible for 48 percent of the total Amazon destruction during 2003-04). Considered the "King of Soya", he longs for the presidency of Brazil.  Author of the celebrated phrase, "This business of forests does not have a future".  And, if it depends on him, it certainly won't.

    Roberto Rodrigues
    Minister of Agriculture in Brasilia and soy farmer in Maranhão, he is absolutely convinced that agribusiness is the salvation of farming. Refuses to recognise the relation between deforestation and the advance of agribusiness.

    José Dirceu
    First minister in line of command in the Lula Government and Chief of the Civil House. Co-ordinator of the "Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazônia" and greatly responsible for the lack of  its implementation.

    Luís Inácio Lula da Silva
    President of the Republic of Brazil and ultimately responsible for its actions and inactions. Although he promotes a sustainable model for the Amazon, the protection of the environment in his government until now is considered a mere obstacle to economic development.

    Antônio Palocci
    Secretary of the Treasury and holder of the key to the safe. He compliments  agribusiness and he applauds increases in exports while the government institutions and agencies who protect the environment receive less and less  federal resources.

    Simão Jatene
    Governor of the State of Pará which has been historically the vice-leader in deforestation, but the winner of the prizes in the categories: violence and murders in the field, slave labour, illegal occupation of land and activities of inherent mismanagement in the process of deforestation.

Paulo Adario, Greenpeace's Amazon coordinator, warns "It's a very difficult choice. All six are strong candidates."

The award has two prizes: public - to be decided by direct vote on the internet - and environmental activists and journalists will make a "critics' choice". The winner, to be announced on June 6, will be awarded a statue made from illegally logged wood.

The article used information from Greenpeace and Reuters News Service

    Last week the government of Brazil released figures showing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest reached the 10,088 square miles (26,129 square kilometers) for the year ending August 2004. Deforestation in the Amazon in 2004 was the second worst ever as rain forest was cleared for cattle ranches and soy farms.

    The background image shows deforestation associated with the Tierras Bajas project in eastern Bolivia where people have been resettled from the Altiplano to cultivate soybeans. The photo is from NASA's Earth Observatory.

CITATION: (May 27, 2005).

Prize recognizes largest contributor to Amazon rainforest destruction.