Friday, May 16, 2008
Marina Silva's life and her fight to preserve the largest and most biologically diverse tropical rainforest on earth is not only inspirational but it would make for a great Hollywood film. Regrettfully, now that she has stepped down as Brazil's Environment Minister, the future of the Amazon and the final scene in this film could turn tragic.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
To the north, Environment Minister Marina Silva has resigned. She was an honest defender of the Amazon and insiders say the battle was too much for her and that she was against all odd. There is a perfect storm brewing over the Amazon these days. New laws which will place the forest at greater peril, a new law to limit the movement of the forest's greatest defenders and now the only real political support the forest had, is stepping down.
We live in interesting times here.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Environmentalists in the Amazon region have long been accused of working for foreign governments to usurp control of the Amazon from
It is just as absurd as what many in
I raise this not only because I attended Dorothy’s memorial in 2006, and I have worked in this region (under some of the most stressful conditions) for over 10 years, and that I’m sincerely
worried about those who I know that continue with great efforts in the Amazon; I bring this up because this idea of lying to demonize environmentalists to either protect the status quo or two win cheap political shots is not only incredibly stupid, but it can prove deadly. The debate in
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It’s welcome news here, and of course because it’s a positive story about
I’m happy that the nation is doing better economically, and really this is what is at the heart of the article. All international economic indexes point out that the fourth largest country in the world, blessed with the best natural resources on the planet, has finally managed and learn how to make some cash off of its mineral, biological and agricultural inheritance. There’s no innovation here, or very little of it, the money is coming in through resource extraction and farming. This is not necessarily a problem, unless you’re an Indian in the Amazon. However, the world has long surpassed the agrarian age, and although we need food to eat and farmers to plant and cultivate,
But again, even with an expanded portfolio all we’re really celebrating here is that there is a few in the country getting extremely rich while for the rest of us, relatively little has changed. I guess the fact that nothing has really gotten worse for people financially, especially after decades of hyperinflation should be seen as an achievement. There is talk of a burgeoning middle class but it is still horribly eclipsed by the endemic poverty that plagues this nation. The president triumphantly bellows that millions are being lifted from poverty, and to ignore a marginal improvement here would be suspect. That said, with 50% of the nation, approximately 80 million people, living on slightly 2 dollars a day, I’d not want to stick my neck out and say “we’re winning the war on poverty”. When you figure you have this level of poverty in a nation that has more personal helicopters than any other and then you get to see the problem a bit more clearly.
Education is still in dire straights and academically
Violence in the nation is on the rise (with the exception of
This may not last long. The government wishes to place greater restrictions on the media here as well as control the movement of foreigners in 61% of the Nation: the Amazon. International television, too, is in the government’s radar to reign in. As more and more celebrate the supposed new birth of a rich and prosperous land few are questioning the erosion of their personal rights and the rights of others. In fact in a recent poll about the restriction of foreigners in the Amazon, 97 percent of those responded actually agreed with the blatantly xenophobic and discriminatory move.
Arguably, with a better economy the rest of the problems I raised should solve themselves. So say “invisible hand” theorists. But this is
I don’t want this to come across as a blatantly bitter attack on the country in which I currently reside (although I am thinking about making a move). I do cheer for the nation and I do have hopes and aspirations like others that Brazil can overcome some of its greatest hurtles and emerge more equitable, less violent, less corrupt and just a little bit smarter but..but…but…
I am happy to see some good news in the papers about
I'll write again on some of the things I cherish in the nation, soonest. Many in North America, regardless of some of the problems that Brazil faces, could learn a lot from this culture.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
These are the moments I find interesting in
A Brazilian prostitute turned Madam named Andréia Schwartz was in the thick of the scandal and apparently following her cooperation with authorities was promptly escorted out of the
As with what usually happens when any young attractive women in