If you haven’t seen this news, it’s pretty disturbing. A rainforest activist in Brazil (José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva) who had been working to protect rainforests from logging was shot and killed this week, as well as his wife. This, ironically, happened just a few hours before Brazil horrible new legislation that will increase deforestation in the area.
According to the Catholic Land Pastoral (CPT), “more than 1,150 activists, small farmers, judges, priests and other rural workers have been killed in disputes over preserving land since the 1988 murder of Brazil’s renowned rain forest protector Chico Mendes,” the AP reports.
Most of the killings go unpunished, especially in the Amazon region where there is little government presence and where local governments are easily swayed by powerful loggers, ranchers and farmers who illegally clear forest to make way for more crop and pasture lands.
Federal prosecutors say the violence usually is ordered by rich producers who contract gunmen to kill anyone standing in their way.
Of the killings since 1988, fewer than 100 cases have gone to court, according to the CPT. About 80 of the hired gunmen have been convicted. About 15 of the men who hired them were found guilty, but just one is serving a sentence today, a man found guilty of ordering the assassination of a U.S. nun.
Completely crazy. Hard to imagine. Those who are working to make the world a better place for all are murdered and no justice is served by the Brazilian government.
Of course, no arrests have been made in this case yet.
“The state will not tolerate this type of violence in our territory,” Para state Public Safety Secretary Luiz Fernandes Rocha said in a statement. “We’ve mobilized a team to investigate what happened and detain those responsible for the crime.”
If only that first line were true and the authorities could and would do what they are tasked with doing.
It is reported that the gunmen who killed Silva cut off is ear, presumably to prove they accomplished their task….
Photo via visionshare