Murder in the Amazon
A double slaying reminds Brazilians how much their President scorns greens.
Fly from Europe to Peru and you make landfall over Guyana.
For almost five hours you then fly over a dark green carpet festooned with serpentine rivers, some a muddy brown, others inky black.
Such, still, is the vastness of the Amazon rainforest.
Yet this aerial view is deceptive.
At ground level large swathes of the forest have been eaten away.
It is an assault that began centuries ago, as colonists pushed up the rivers.
Since the 1960s it has gathered pace, accelerated by the chainsaw, the bulldozer and the building of highways.
At issue are two opposing visions for the region, of economic development or of environmental protection, and two groups of people: most indigenous tribes on the one hand, and ranchers, farmers, loggers and garimpeiros (wildcat miners) on the other.
Now this conflict has reached even the most hidden areas of the Amazon, as the murders earlier this month of Bruno Pereira, an adviser to indigenous tribes, and Dom Phillips, a British journalist, make clear.
本月早些时候，当地部落顾问布鲁诺·佩雷拉(Bruno Pereira)和英国记者多姆·菲利普斯(Dom Phillips)被谋杀，这表明这场冲突甚至波及到了亚马逊最隐秘的地区。
According to Brazil’s federal police they were shot dead as they were returning by boat from a research trip in the valley of the Javari, a territory the size of Austria close to the border with Peru that is home to 16 tribes living in isolation.
The police say their killers were illegal fishermen, three of whom have been arrested.
The pair are far from the first defenders of the forest to die violently.
In 1988 the murder of Chico Mendes, the leader of a rubber-tappers’ union in Acre, to the south of the Javari, caused international outrage.
His killers were the sons of a rancher who wanted the union’s land.
Mendes’s death contributed to far-reaching changes of policy in Brazil, coinciding with the country’s democratic constitution of 1988.
Governments banned wildcat mining, set aside large chunks of the forest as indigenous reserves or national parks, and stepped up enforcement of laws against deforestation.
This change peaked under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his environment minister of 2003-08, Marina Silva, who had worked with Mendes.