Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.
For weeks, Brazilian environmentalists have accused President Jair Bolsonaro’s government of speeding its dismantlement of natural-resource protections in hopes the rollbacks will go unnoticed amid the dramatic advance of Covid-19. As evidence, they have cited two actions taken in April, after Brazil’s Covid-19 cases and deaths had begun their steep climb toward the 418,608 and 25,935 registered, respectively, as of May 28. One effectively grants amnesty to landowners who illegally cleared protected areas of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest prior to July 22, 2008. The other promises property titles for settlers who can prove they have occupied territory claimed by—and being demarcated for—indigenous communities. Now critics are pointing to a third development: the release of a video in which Environment Minister Ricardo Salles appears to confirm their worst suspicions. “We need to make an effort while we are in this moment of calm in terms of press... [Log in to read more]