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Meet the Ranchers Who Claim the Brazilian Amazon is Theirs to Burn | The Dispatch

Meet the Ranchers Who Claim the Brazilian Amazon is Theirs to Burn | The Dispatch


It’s moving fast. It’s not just a ground fire. It’s reaching up
into the canopy here, too, and just scorching everything. Is this the usual amount of fire that you see? Are you worried about
the illicit activity that happens here? Pará, Brazil. Parts of the rainforest
in this region have lost so much
tree cover it hardly looks like the Amazon. I’m on a highway called
the BR-163. In August, this corridor
for soy and beef exports lit up like an inferno. Many of the fires were
started on protected lands on a single day,
a so-called Day of Fire. So, I take the highway here to
a protected reserve that saw major burning on that day. It’s called the Jamanxim
National Forest. This year, the Jamanxim lost over 45 square miles
of tree cover. That’s an area twice
the size of Manhattan. It’s the worst deforestation
of all protected areas in Brazil. But many people who live here see this as progress. And it has a lot
to do with beef. Brazil is the world’s largest
exporter of beef. About half of the cattle
are raised on pasture that used to be rainforest. And demand is growing. I’m visiting an annual
barbecue and auction near the Jamanxim. But it’s not your typical
backyard get-together. Some landowners and
ranchers here brazenly defy environmental laws. Last year, a government
report linked this man, a union leader,
to land-grabbing schemes. This woman, head of a
national association, was fined for burning
350 acres of rainforest. This man, a local mayor, was caught destroying over 700 acres
of virgin rainforest inside the Jamanxim reserve. They all deny wrongdoing. What producers here want is to privatize the reserves,
and there’s hostility here towards anyone who
tries to stop them. The producers are petitioning an important government
official, Nabhan Garcia, appointed by
President Bolsonaro to open up the Amazon
for development. There’s no question
which side Mr. Garcia’s on. He’s a rancher and
farmer himself. According to your own
government studies, many of the people in some
of these protected areas came in after the
park was created. They’re in there
illegally according to your own government
standards right now. Part of the reason we’re here is because of all
the fires, right? To be clear, deforesting
land without authorization is illegal in Brazil. It’s seized land
that’s logged, burned and converted,
mostly for grazing. We’re talking millions of
acres, billions of dollars and a web of
criminal activity. But at the core
of the issue is what turns out to be a
pretty complicated question. Who does all this
land belong to? I catch up with
Luiz Helfenstein, who I’d met at the barbecue. His ranch is right at the edge
of the Jamanxim National Forest. He considers himself one of the pioneers here. When you started, is this the first
settlement that you built? Luiz came here
back in the ’80s. He was handed 4,000
acres of rainforest, part of a government plan
to develop the Amazon. That’s the BR-163. November 1994. Then the political winds
shifted and preservation became the priority. In 2006, the government
established the Jamanxim National Forest, taking back most of the land previously given to Luiz
and other producers. They felt cheated,
and some have responded by grabbing and
burning protected land. I take a ride with
Agamenon da Silva Menezes. Is this your car? He’s the head of a union
for ranchers out here. Was the Day of Fire an example of
that disobedience? But satellite data confirms there was an unusual spike in
the number of fires on Aug. 10. Local reporters wrote about
this so-called Day of Fire, exposing a coordinated plan
among ranchers and land-grabbers to burn newly
cleared forest. One of those reporters,
Adecio Piran, soon found his face
on a wanted poster. Did you ever receive
death threats or threats to your personal safety? That type of intimidation helps explain how so much criminal
activity can go unpunished. Last year, 30
environmental activists were murdered in Brazil. I follow a group of
firefighters with one of Brazil’s
environmental agencies into a biological reserve. The agency has been
attacked by locals and their authority undermined
by Bolsonaro’s government. None of the men will
speak on the record. So this is what the effort
to protect the forest here now looks like: a handful of men
carving control lines and putting out brush fires
with a leaf blower. It takes a bird’s-eye view
to capture the magnitude of what they’re up against. This fire is nearly
four miles long. According to
Brazilian satellites, more than a soccer field
worth of rainforest is cleared every minute. I’m back on the road, driving off federal land,
when I see these two trucks. They pull on to the
BR-163 highway with loads of fresh logs.

100 comments

You have the largest rainforest that is literally helping the earth survive and yet they wanna BURN IT DOWN!!! AAHHHHHHH THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING.

I imagine it’s very dangerous for this reporter to be there. Kudos to him for his courage and commitment. It’s amazing the gumption required to ask these questions and do these interviews. He went right into the hornet’s nest and started asking tough questions.

well there are no Brazil to save without the Amazon forest

they are so ignorant for supporting the wrong doings of their president and that's why we should go to #TeamTrees

The Amazon is too important to be left to these ranchers. Maybe sanctions on the Brazilian meat industry would help curve the problem.

You have to remember that this video not reflect the reality of amazon, is just a little slice cut in the reality to denigrate the image of Brazil. Amazon is huge and unhabited, is not easy to be monitorated but the brazilian authorities are doing a very good work. The indians themselves sell wood, destroy the forest, do mining, they don't live in the stone age like everyone thinks.

That lady is wromg if she were in America stealing and breaking the law, she would not be a brave hero, just a thief that will be fined and imprisoned …

I'm Brazilian and I speak Brazilian Portuguese.

The quotes taken from the president were incorrectly translated and taken out of context.

Good luck on taking down our president with lies.

If you’re not Brazilian, you’re opinion doesn’t matter. You wouldn’t want someone from another country telling you what to do with your land. The best way for Brazil to improve and get to a point where it can be more environmentally friendly is to grow its economy. How many of you commenting actually do anything to help anyone? It’s easy to complain when you’re living in the first world, stop trying to be on some moral high ground.

No offence but Brazil is a horrible country. It's like a Battle Royale with all of the crime and chaos.

When there's no air and the climate change extincts people….what products are they selling to who and for what🤷🏾‍♀️ This is crazy AF. Why doesn't America just buy the Amazon in the name of Protection.. can we do that? Efff a wall let's cop some air in this Earth!

Yes the rainforest is yours and you may do as you will. But I also know by experience, deforestation and burning down forests bring drought. You may profit from it now but just shows how greedy you are. "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in"

I live in São Paulo in Brasil and on the day of fire the sky was completely black, as a Brazilian, I think that these farmers should be arrested

This is non sense. Brasil does everything that is possible to protect OUR own stuff. Brasil now is in good hands. I didn't see Bolsonaro go there and set the forest on fire. This whole thing is media sensationalism.

Eu penso que esta matéria tenta conduzir quem assiste a culpar o governo!!!! Triste ver pessoas de fora do Brasil fazerem uma reportagem destas!!!! Sejam mais sinceros e coloquem somente a verdade e não o interesse ideológico por traz da matéria! Questionem ambos os lados e coloquem na ordem de exibição que um possa ter o mesmo peso do outro!!!!

I think this story tries to drive anyone who blames the government !!!! Sad to see people from outside Brazil make such a report !!!! Be more honest and put only the truth and not the ideological interest behind the matter! Question both sides and put in the display order that one can have the same weight as the other !!!!

We see ppl like them all around the world. It's sad the country in charge of the Amazon Rainforest protection isnt doing anything about it. I understand its rural and hard to access, well better start investing in Wildlife police, roads to remote areas, fencing and surveillance that can detect ppl trespassing or cutting the fences. Or soon we'll all suffocate.

The jungles of the Amazon and Africa are being burned to destroy the healing plants and the cattle. It is MURDER AND SLAUGHTER AND INDIGENOUS PLANT DESTRUCTION. By paid IDIOTS. The Father will destroy those who destroy the Earth. It's almost over. Protect yourselves and survive!

This is murder,. I think there is someone who were planning to put down amazon.and make this place a city of people's demand.and that's not good at all, this was not natural at all. Let's save this land and put it back into life again…

That was given 4000 acres of land by the Brazilian government in the 1980s. how come that the Afro Brazilian never gets the same opportunities?

Same bs in the United States nothing has changed.

And to be honest the Amazon is not debatable they’re need to be locked up for arson even clipped.

These people are so incredibly stupid..Christians should remember what Jesus Christ said about Earth destruction in Revelations 11: 18. Keep Brasilians EcoNAZIS outs of your country. They will burn all of your forests. Who knows they will burn the grass of famous footballstadiums ? They are so stupid ??? Jesus said that He will destroy these satanists

Cant all the nations just come together and pay them?
I mean we like breathing, and they got us by the balls like a bond villain, so lets just pay them. Even if it takes a trillion dollars a year, that's not that much divided among the worlds powers, but I bet it could be done for much cheaper. Its either that or we let a bunch of greedy morons slowly suffocate us.

Environmentalist: Boohoo, forest burning.
Ranchers: We own this forest, we have our papers.
Everyone: Welp, there's nothing we can do about it. They have legal papers. Moving on…

All because of supply and demand. If each human had their own live stock chickens gardens fruit trees ECT This would not be. I stead we are dependent of all things

The Brazilian government should be ashamed of what they are overseeing. It's an absolute disgrace!! What about the impact on the biodiversity and wildlife who depend on the existence of these rainforests for their very survival.Its disgusting and its time the Brazilian people rose up against this happening and stop it before it's all too late. Brazil has lost 10,000 square kilometres of forest just this year alone. Unsustainable….

I am young farmer from europe and this is only sad. In western countries mainly farmers follow strict regulations and understand the full consept about enviroment.

This is only stupid.

Jair Bolsonaro,is a threat to the integrity of Brazil. He must be stopped. Please peoples of the forest contact Leigh Day & Co.

It is disgraceful the level of passive aggressive comments on this page. Instead of linguistically consenting to this planetary crime. Do something now, collectively boycott, take out social justice case against the leaders & the is list on line of all the people to write & hold accountable, as well as all the names of corporate banks & logging firms involved. The rainforests are more than lungs, they're a complex net work of intelligent grids with vital receptive healing communicators to life. The time has come for the corporate beasts to held accountable & restore this planet to good health. All of the hidden wealth in offshore accounts must be used to reintegrate a self sustaining planetary collective healing process. Everyone find your voice, speak up for life's right to live.

These people deserve to be violently and mercilessly murdered and tortured. Their pathetic lives are insignificant to the beautiful rainforest. The US military should bomb these rural monsters

I’m growing some trees on an open land somewhere around my place, I stole the seeds just to plant them. I hope they’re doing well in the harsh winters of Canada

As much as I disagree it is theirs to burn. Why should we deny their progress. The jungles have been there forever and these people are still poor, something needs to change to allow these people to progress. The US and other countries for decades have thrown smog in the air and polluted the environment for progress.

Every year natural fire start in amazon in dry season. some years more and other less. This year haved fire higher than average ! but the left mídia used this to try destabilize new govern. This is the true !!!

It isn't for some,its for everybody in this world that nature provides air to breathe. One day these fella's or their grandchildren are gonna buy an oxygen cylinder. Its high time they should rethink

Tell them God has posioned his ranch .. an i will go to his livestock next.. An inform the Tribe there if they don't start bombing an blowing up their sites an trackters i will curse their Family Tribe..

An anyone that's from Brazil an feels as if they're aloud to burn down the Amazon, Goverment or not i will posion you, than your family..

Para empezar el amazonas no solo abarca brazil y lo que estos idiotas empezaron a teñido repercusiones en varios paises de sudamerica sin contar para el mundo. Cada arbol del amazonas almacena una tonelada de dioxido de carbono al año, multiplicalo con cuantos años ha vivido dicho arbol. Una vez cortado o quemado todo lo que acumulo lo libera al aire, el cual respiramos todos. Tremendos hdp

IMPEACH BOLSONARO STOP THE MASSIVE EXTERMINATION AND BURNING OF THE AMAZON KILLING MILLIONS O ANIMALES AND PLANTS TO GROW SOY BEANS AN BEEF. BOYCOT BRASIL B4OTCOT BRASIL SAFE THE AMAZONE THANKS

you know while it is sad whats happening, and it should stop, literally everyone here isn't viewing it from there point of view.

Imagine you being a middle class person being told by some random group you have never meet before, who have gained unimaginable wealth by similar methods as your attempting, telling you that "nope sorry, you cant do this because some other group long after your dead will be effected, plus its not your forest but ours. so just stop.".

This farming method is there whole livelihood and there ticket into the middle class, and without it a lot of them would be bellow the poverty line. Sure they shouldn't be destroying the rain forests, but what else will they do? In addition its kinda argoent that we in the west are becrying a nation for using its own rescorces to better itself and become wealthy, when we did more or less the exact same thing just a hundred years ago.

Just saying, before you go yelling or calling for the deaths of these people, think for a second about what there going through. Its not your rain forests, but theres to do with as they please.

E muito bom ver um homen falar que vai preservar, todos juntos para a volta da Amazônia!

Fora comunistas!!!

The governments of the world should refuse beef from Brazil and put trade sanctions on the country until this is remediated.

Pidtyuban ba mga taw e minggula sanan nyanin bo kyug nyabo igkamayaman mabinasa kano sa magan sa magan tupo na mga kafir yahodi tupo ni piraon mga saytan mabinasa kano mga taw makalat sa nanam so mga taw a kigwan sa inged nyako pangini nginin na magan kano mabinasa apya tayn pagunot kano presidente nin abpig so simugo do minggula mga malbot kano a mga taw mabinasa kano langona tupo no mangasi mangasi barAkat rabanna atina fid dunya hasana wafil akhirati hasana wakina adzabanar antamawlana fansurna alal kawmil kafireeen ameen mabinasa kano langoooooonnnn ameeeen ya rabalamin

Human beings are the worse of the worse, I'm ashamed at all this I'm seeing, this people don't care about anything but money, this will accelerate global warming, thanks for speeding it up, well done guys.

I could see why they burn it's either they expand outward into the forest to develope land and earn a living off of this land destroying it in the process or live a meager existence in the middle of a rainforest…i see this as progress.

Why would we Americans call you guys “trailblazers, warriors, brave people” like tf we would call stupid and mentally ill like🤦🏻‍♂️

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