New York Times’s dispatch from the Amazon blames beef for fires

An on-the-ground look at what is going on in the Amazon

Brent McDonald/The New York Times
Brent McDonald/The New York Times

The New York Times has published a video dispatch from the Amazon, where the fire rages on. “Welcome to the lawless heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Here, cattle ranchers and loggers — emboldened by President Jair Bolsonaro — are clearing huge swaths of rainforest every minute. All in the name of progress,” it announces.

The new right-wing president has been a vocal supporter of gold-miners, loggers and cattle ranchers. His public discourse signals to those groups that the new government is on their side. Considering how quick his government has been to dismantle environmental agencies and to release new pesticides (some of which kill bees), he is living up to his promise to those keen to take over the forest with their unsustainable activities.

The unprecedented fires that have been burning huge swaths of the forest, killing millions of animals, including 500 jaguars, have been linked to criminal activity. Brazilian prosecutors are investigating why the government ignored a warning about an event called Day of Fire, a day bandits said they would set fire to the forest and show the new president they have taken heed of his inflammatory words. The environmental agency says it couldn’t act because police support for field agents had been withdrawn.

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