“If Bolsonaro is elected again, nothing will change in the Amazon”

Since the election of Jair Bolsonaro in 2019, deforestation has reached worrying records: 10,000 km2 on average each year compared to 6,500 km2 the previous decade. For the first time in its history, the forest releases more CO2 than it absorbs. Discover our report in number 3799 of Paris Match, on sale at newsstands.

Paris Match. President Bolsonaro had promised to legalize gold panning, what about this commitment?
Manon Querouil-Bruneel.Jair Bolsonaro wants to open the natural and indigenous reserves to gold panning, but also to agriculture and loggers. There are still some legal locks, with several bills pending. But with Congress tipped in favor of agribusiness, he may succeed in changing the constitution and the law. Since coming to power, the President of Brazil has been working to dismantle the institutions in charge of nature protection, such as the environmental police. The only law enforcement officers venturing into the heart of the jungle so far are the corrupt cops. Another important fact is that this request also comes from certain indigenous tribes.

Who can be blamed for the destruction of the Amazon?
Deforestation had already started under Lula and continued under Dilma Rousseff. Since the election of Jair Bolsonaro, it has reached speed records. His attitude towards forest protection organizations contributes to this record rate of deforestation. The population is now totally uninhibited.

Brazil does not want to delegate the management of the Amazon

What is the role of the international community to prevent the largest tropical forest in the world from dying?
Brazil does not wish to delegate the management of the Amazon. We could therefore be more demanding on the origin of imported products. The fact remains that China, with little regard, remains the biggest buyer in this market. The cultivation of soya, partly responsible for deforestation, then ends up in the troughs of our animals. In fact, 90% of this production would serve the meat and dairy industries. The other solution would therefore be to stop our consumption of meat.

Are we close to the threshold of irreversible destruction?
The pace is galloping, however, it’s not too late to reverse the course of things. Some areas are completely destroyed. But overall, if we took action, it would be possible to get out of this downward spiral. The next presidential elections will take place in October. For the time being, the fate of the Amazon is not at the heart of the debates. The country has been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. Part of the population has to face growing food insecurity. If Bolsonaro is elected again, nothing will change.

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