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Interview with Flávia Bellieni Zimmermann

22 Oct 2019
Interview with Flavia Bellieni Zimmermann

Flávia Bellieni Zimmermann discusses the Amazon Rainforest fires.

President Jair Bolsonaro has been deemed by many to be the “Trump of the Tropics”. Since his election last October, there have been significant changes in Brazil’s environmental policies and an increase in international posturing regarding the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Brazil, however, is not the United States. It is a state with deep roots in political authoritarianism with a history that includes 21 years of military dictatorship. Far-right populism and the resurgence of political authoritarianism are again a growing threat to Brazilian democracy and freedom. The incumbent administration is unashamedly rolling back Brazil’s environmental laws and indigenous protections and has discredited emerging data from Brazil’s Space Agency (INPE) on the deforestation of the Amazon rainforests.

Satellite imagery from the INPE show wildfires sweeping through the Amazon, and confirm fears of illegal logging, encroaching crop and livestock farming, gold mining, and illegal occupations of indigenous reserves. Many questions have arisen regarding the administration’s handling of the Amazon fires. Foremost: Could they have been prevented?

Interview by Ms Gráinne O’Connell, Program Director, AIIA WA.