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ActivismDeforestationForests

Rainforest Activist and Wife Murdered in Brazil

José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva speaking at TEDx Amazon in 2010. He and his wife were shot dead this week in Brazil.

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




9 comments
  1. Cecelia Marie Tidd

    I have been so devastated by the news and pictures of what is happening in the Brazilian Rainforest…all the precious animals being destroyed. It is so extremely sad, but, it will be brought to an end soon. Revelation 11:18: “…to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”

  2. Michael R.

    Thank you for covering this..journalism may be the only weapon we have to fight this form of corruption/oppression…but even the journalists are not safe…How strange that advocating for resource conservation has become a martyr’s cause…guess it always has been, we are just hearing about it more often these days.

    If the claim that the land owners or producers or rancers are respnsible for thee contract killing, then it seems relatively easy to identify the region that the activist was working to protect, identify the most heavily invested owners/ranchers, and compile a public list, asking ‘Who Killed Robeiro Da Silva?’

    The more sustained attention / exposure that can be brought against these greedy bastards, the harder it will be for them to hide their crimes.

    I think the Brazilian rain forest should be declared a global resource whose preservation is crucial to preventing rapid climate change, and thus falls under the protection of UN peace keepers, or some international humanitarian force….going to far?

  3. Michael R.

    Thank you for covering this..journalism may be the only weapon we have to fight this form of corruption/oppression…but even the journalists are not safe…How strange that advocating for resource conservation has become a martyr’s cause…guess it always has been, we are just hearing about it more often these days.

    If the claim that the land owners or producers or rancers are respnsible for thee contract killing, then it seems relatively easy to identify the region that the activist was working to protect, identify the most heavily invested owners/ranchers, and compile a public list, asking ‘Who Killed Robeiro Da Silva?’

    The more sustained attention / exposure that can be brought against these greedy bastards, the harder it will be for them to hide their crimes.

    I think the Brazilian rain forest should be declared a global resource whose preservation is crucial to preventing rapid climate change, and thus falls under the protection of UN peace keepers, or some international humanitarian force….going to far?

    1. Anonymous

      I completely agree.. hope Brazil and/or international bodies will take this
      seriously and crack down on such murders.

  4. BubblesMom

    I am so sorry for their loss.  I am so sorry for our loss.  He and his wife’s courage for the sake of the forest and all living creatures, and the cruelty and senselessness of whomever would kill them, rips my soul. When will humans ever stop our species-centric focus to be stewarts of every species?!

  5. BubblesMom

    I am so sorry for their loss.  I am so sorry for our loss.  He and his wife’s courage for the sake of the forest and all living creatures, and the cruelty and senselessness of whomever would kill them, rips my soul. When will humans ever stop our species-centric focus to be stewarts of every species?!

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