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Category Archives: South America

Leaked documents show Brazil’s Bolsonaro has grave plans for Amazon rainforest

DemocraciaAbierta had access to PowerPoints from a meeting that took place earlier this year in the state of Pará between members of the Bolsonaro government. The slides show that the current government intends to use the president’s hate speech to diminish the power of minorities living in the region and to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact for the Amazon.

The Bolsonaro government has as one of its priorities to strategically occupy the Amazon region to prevent the implementation of multilateral conservation projects for the rainforest, specifically the so-called “Triple A” project.

“Development projects must be implemented on the Amazon basin to integrate it into the rest of the national territory in order to fight off international pressure for the implementation of the so-called ‘Triple A’ project. To do this, it is necessary to build the Trombetas River hydroelectric plant, the Óbidos bridge over the Amazon River, and the implementation of the BR-163 highway to the border with Suriname,” one of slides read.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/leaked-documents-show-brazil-bolsonaro-has-grave-plans-for-amazon-rainforest/

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Posted by on August 22, 2019 in South America

 

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INTENTO ENTRAR, NO LO CONSIGO. Es mediodía, el sol reluce, y en Tlatelolco, un corazón de México, cientos de personas salen en estampida por las puertas de vidrio de la torre. La torre es imponente, sus cien metros de alto: fue el ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y ahora es un centro cultural de la Universidad Nacional; aquí, a veces, los centros culturales tienen ese porte. Trato de preguntar qué pasa pero nadie se para; les han pateado el hormiguero, corren.
–¡Sexto piso, aquí a mi izquierda, por favor!
Grita un hombre en un megáfono, y poco a poco le hacen caso.
–¡Consejo de Médicos de Urgencia, cuarto piso, de este lado!
Grita más y más corren, y por fin una mujer me explica que hubo un temblor y que por eso.
–¿Un temblor?
Digo, con ídem.
–Sí, pero nada, una cosa de nada. Lo que pasa es que la torre bailó un poco.
Dice, pero su cara no me tranquiliza. El del megáfono intenta calmarnos con información:
–No se preocupen, amigos, no fue nada. El epicentro del temblor estuvo lejos. No se preocupen, no va a pasar nada.
Es raro el miedo cuando llega tarde, demorado, cuando llega por algo que no fue: cuando es conciencia de lo que habría pasado.
–Hubiera visto como se movía. Yo rezaba, rezaba.
Me dice una mujer embarazada.
–¿Usted es extranjero, cierto? Usted no sabe lo que es vivir en una tierra que se mueve.

He estado veinte, treinta veces en la Ciudad de México; he trabajado aquí, he publicado aquí, he imaginado la posibilidad de vivir aquí, aquí viven algunos de mis mejores amigos; no conozco la Ciudad de México.
Conozco trocitos de México, algunos barrios, algunas sensaciones –y a veces me pregunto si hay otra forma de conocerlo. (¿O conocerla? ¿México es femenino o masculino? ¿Digo: México la ciudad es femenino o masculino?)
No la conozco ni lo conozco –ni creo que sea posible conocerlos. Pero lo intento, una y otra vez.

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/03/07/eps/1551957675_108084.html

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2019 in South America

 

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Rainforest on Fire

The river basin at the center of Latin America called the Amazon is roughly the size of Australia. Created at the beginning of the world by a smashing of tectonic plates, it was the cradle of inland seas and continental lakes. For the last several million years, it has been blanketed by a teeming tropical biome of 400 billion trees and vegetation so dense and heavy with water, it exhales a fifth of Earth’s oxygen, stores centuries of carbon, and deflects and consumes an unknown but significant amount of solar heat. Twenty percent of the world’s fresh water cycles through its rivers, plants, soils, and air. This moisture fuels and regulates multiple planet-scale systems, including the production of “rivers in the air” by evapotranspiration, a ceaseless churning flux in which the forest breathes its water into great hemispheric conveyer belts that carry it as far as the breadbaskets of Argentina and the American Midwest, where it is released as rain.

In the last half-century, about one-fifth of this forest, or some 300,000 square miles, has been cut and burned in Brazil, whose borders contain almost two-thirds of the Amazon basin. This is an area larger than Texas, the U.S. state that Brazil’s denuded lands most resemble, with their post-forest landscapes of silent sunbaked pasture, bean fields, and evangelical churches. This epochal deforestation — matched by harder to quantify but similar levels of forest degradation and fragmentation — has caused measurable disruptions to regional climates and rainfall. It has set loose so much stored carbon that it has negated the forest’s benefit as a carbon sink, the world’s largest after the oceans. Scientists warn that losing another fifth of Brazil’s rainforest will trigger the feedback loop known as dieback, in which the forest begins to dry out and burn in a cascading system collapse, beyond the reach of any subsequent human intervention or regret. This would release a doomsday bomb of stored carbon, disappear the cloud vapor that consumes the sun’s radiation before it can be absorbed as heat, and shrivel the rivers in the basin and in the sky.

The catastrophic loss of another fifth of Brazil’s rainforest could happen within one generation. It’s happened before. It’s happening now.

https://theintercept.com/2019/07/06/brazil-amazon-rainforest-indigenous-conservation-agribusiness-ranching/

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2019 in Reportages, South America

 

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Poor tenants pay for landlords to live like kings. It doesn’t have to be this way

I have a friend who works almost every waking hour, mainly to pay the rent. Her landlord lives on a beach, 4,000 miles away. He seldom responds to her requests, and grudgingly pays for the minimum of maintenance. But every so often he writes to inform her that he is raising the rent. He does not have to work because she and other tenants work on his behalf. He is able to live the life of his choice because they give their time to him. As there is a shortage of accessible housing, they have no choice but to pay his exorbitant fees.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/17/housing-britain-landlord-tenants

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in South America

 

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Bolsonaro’s Attacks Show Why Our Reporting Is Vital

When news emerged this week that the Federal Police had arrested four people accused of hacking the Telegram accounts of various Brazilian officials and providing some of that content to The Intercept, many of our readers asked: What effect will this have on the reporting that we have done and are continuing to do on this secret archive?

The answer, in one word: None.

The public interest in reporting this material has been obvious from the start. These documents revealed serious, systematic, and sustained improprieties and possible illegality by Brazil’s current Minister of Justice and Public Security Sergio Moro while he was a judge, as well as by the chief prosecutor of the Car Wash investigation, Deltan Dallagnol, and other members of that investigative task force. It was the Car Wash task force, which Moro presided over as a judge, that was responsible for prosecuting ex-President Lula da Silva and removing him from the 2018 election, paving the way for the far-right Jair Bolsonaro to become president. The corruption exposed by our reporting was so serious, and so consequential, that even many of Moro’s most loyal supporters abandoned him and called for his resignation within a week of the publication of our initial stories.

https://theintercept.com/2019/07/28/bolsonaro-attacks-show-why-reporting-on-secret-brazil-archive-is-vital/

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in South America

 

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Venezuela’s Two Presidents Collide 

There are a few rules for how to topple a government. Make sure that you have

the military on your side, or at least enough of it to dissuade
unsympathetic soldiers from intervening. Spread money around, to inspire
loyalty. Determine which part of the populace will join your uprising,
which part will resist, and which part will stand aside and watch.
Neutralize the resistance quickly; take over the media so that you can
disseminate orders. Once the ruler is displaced, kill him or hustle him
out of the country as fast as you can.

When Juan Guaidó, the
leader of Venezuela’s uprising, announced the “final phase of Operation
Freedom,” on April 30th, he seemed to have done none of those things. He
arrived before dawn outside the La Carlota airbase, in Caracas, and
recorded a video declaring that the time had come to force out the
country’s increasingly tyrannical ruler, Nicolás Maduro.
Guaidó, thirty-five years old, had recently been named the speaker of
the National Assembly, and he looked a bit surprised to find himself
where he was. With a few dozen military sympathizers at his side, he
said, “There have been years of sacrifice. There have been years of
persecution. There have been years of fear, even. Today, that fear is
overcome.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/06/10/venezuelas-two-presidents-collide

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2019 in South America

 

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“Daaaaamn”

Brazilian prosecutors plotted to leak confidential information from the Car Wash corruption probe to Venezuelan opposition figures at the suggestion of Justice Minister Sergio Moro, then the presiding judge for the investigation. The private conversations revealing the plotting, which took place over the Telegram chat app beginning in August 2017, indicate that the prosecutors’ motivation was expressly political, not judicial: They discussed the release of compromising information about the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro, which had just taken steps to reduce the power of opposition politicians and removed the country’s prosecutor general, a Maduro critic and ally of the Car Wash prosecutors.

“It may be the case to make the Odebrecht deposition about bribes in Venezuela public. Is it here or with the PGR [Public Prosecutor]?” Moro wrote to Deltan Dallagnol, the coordinator of the Car Wash investigation, on the afternoon of August 5. Odebrecht is a Brazil-based construction company whose multinational, multibillion-dollar corruption scheme had been cracked open by the investigation.

Dallagnol replied hours later, outlining their options: “It can’t be made public simply because it would violate the agreement, but we can send spontaneous information [to Venezuela] and this would make it likely that somewhere along the way someone would make it public.” Dallagnol continued: “There will be criticism and a price, but it’s worth paying to expose this and contribute to the Venezuelans.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/07/09/brazil-car-wash-sergio-moro-venezuela-maduro/

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in South America

 

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“Their Little Show”

Brazil’s Justice Minister Sergio Moro, while serving as a judge in a corruption case that upended Brazilian politics, took to private chats to mock the defense of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and direct prosecutors’ media strategy, according to newly unearthed chats from an archive obtained by The Intercept Brasil.

The new revelations, which were published in Portuguese by The Intercept Brasil on Friday, have added fuel to a weeklong political firestorm in Brazil. The country’s largest circulation newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, said the reporting suggests that officials “ignored the limits of the law,” while UOL, a news website, said jurists view the revelations as “grave.” The site quoted the head of a national criminal law association saying, “This is unthinkable in any democracy. It’s scary.”

In the newly revealed chats with a senior prosecutor — a member of the team working on the Operation Car Wash corruption case — Moro said, “Maybe, tomorrow, you should prepare a press release” to point out inconsistencies in Lula’s arguments, adding, “The defense already put on their little show.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/06/17/brazil-sergio-moro-lula-operation-car-wash/

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in South America

 

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Breach of Ethics

A large trove of documents furnished exclusively to The Intercept Brasil reveals serious ethical violations and legally prohibited collaboration between the judge and prosecutors who last year convicted and imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges — a conviction that resulted in Lula being barred from the 2018 presidential election. These materials also contain evidence that the prosecution had serious doubts about whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula’s guilt.

The archive, provided to The Intercept by an anonymous source, includes years of internal files and private conversations from the prosecutorial team behind Brazil’s sprawling Operation Car Wash, an ongoing corruption investigation that has yielded dozens of major convictions, including those of top corporate executives and powerful politicians.

In the files, conversations between lead prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol and then-presiding Judge Sergio Moro reveal that Moro offered strategic advice to prosecutors and passed on tips for new avenues of investigation. With these actions, Moro grossly overstepped the ethical lines that define the role of a judge. In Brazil, as in the United States, judges are required to be impartial and neutral, and are barred from secretly collaborating with one side in a case.

https://theintercept.com/2019/06/09/brazil-lula-operation-car-wash-sergio-moro/

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in South America

 

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Hidden Plot

An enormous trove of secret documents reveals that Brazil’s most powerful prosecutors, who have spent years insisting they are apolitical, instead plotted to prevent the Workers’ Party, or PT, from winning the 2018 presidential election by blocking or weakening a pre-election interview with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with the explicit purpose of affecting the outcome of the election.

The massive archive, provided exclusively to The Intercept, shows multiple examples of politicized abuse of prosecutorial powers by those who led the country’s sweeping Operation Car Wash corruption probe since 2014. It also reveals a long-denied political and ideological agenda. One glaring example occurred 10 days before the first round of presidential voting last year, when a Supreme Court justice granted a petition from the country’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, to interview Lula, who was in prison on corruption charges brought by the Car Wash task force.

Immediately upon learning of that decision on September 28, 2018, the team of prosecutors who handled Lula’s corruption case — who spent years vehemently denying that they were driven by political motives of any kind — began discussing in a private Telegram chat group how to block, subvert, or undermine the Supreme Court decision. This was based on their expressed fear that the decision would help the PT — Lula’s party — win the election. Based on their stated desire to prevent the PT’s return to power, they spent hours debating strategies to prevent or dilute the political impact of Lula’s interview.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2019 in South America

 

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