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  • Evo Morales speaking to media after having helped frontline staff combat the fires in the Chiquitania.

    Evo Morales speaking to media after having helped frontline staff combat the fires in the Chiquitania. | Photo: Twitter: @telesurenglish

Published 28 August 2019

“I want to tell you that I have decided to declare an ‘ecological pause’, which means that in areas affected by the fires, land sales are prohibited"

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has announced that the sale of land will be banned in regions affected by the Amazon fires, in order to stop ranchers and agro-capitalists from profiting off the fires once they recede, and so that those areas can be reforested rather than exploited. Morales also announced that fires in one forest area of Bolivia’s Amazon region have been entirely extinguished thanks to the work of the ‘Supertanker’. 

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On Tuesday night, after meeting with the country’s ‘Emergency Cabinet’ based in Robore, and with those coordinating firefighting efforts. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales declared that any sale or purchase of lands affected by the fires is now banned, and that those areas will become part of an integrated ecological plan to recover what was lost. 

Morales said “I want to tell you that I have decided to declare an ‘ecological pause’, which means that in areas affected by the fires, land sales are prohibited; on top of that, we’re planning how to prepare for the post-fire era, because we are going to overcome this”

There are hopes that the measure will mean that there will be fewer incentives for those who burn areas of the Amazon to clear forests for ranching and other activities. A practice that is extremely common in Brazil, and responsible for huge deforestation across the Amazon region. The move will also mean that reforestation efforts can begin once the fire is extinguished, as the land will not be exploited by agro-capitalist interests. 

Fires in One Forest Now Extinguished 

As Morales announced the ‘ecological pause’, the President also confirmed that fires in the large Otuquis forest zone in the Amazonian ‘German Busch’ province have been extinguished due to operations led by the ‘Supertanker’, contracted by the Bolivian government to combat the fires. 

The extinguishing of fires in Otuquis will be seen as an important victory against the fires. It follows news that the ‘Supertanker’ had managed to halt the advance of the fire spreading to the “Tucavaca” ecological reserve, which consists of 262.305 hectares and which the fire in the Chiquitania area was expected to reach.

During operations in the past few days, 1,892,330 liters of water have been dropped on affected areas, of which the ‘Supertanker’ discharged 979,000 liters. In addition, five helicopters dropped 873,720 liters, and contracted aircraft, 39,610 liters.  

The UN has praised the efforts of Bolivia’s leftist government in combating the fires, due to the large forces mobilized and Morales’ calls for a region wide response. Whereas Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has done little, rejecting an offer from the G7 to help fund firefighting efforts, and sharing a fake image of what his government is supposedly doing to combat the fires.  

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