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  • Areas devastated by fire in the Guariba region, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, 2019.

    Areas devastated by fire in the Guariba region, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @veglobo

Published 26 October 2020 (8 hours 50 minutes ago)
Opinion

Bolsonaro is preparing an overflight of the Amazon so that foreign diplomats can see "nothing is burning, nor is there a hectare of the devastated jungle."

Brazil's Vice-President Hamilton Mourao on Monday announced that his country will extend the operation of the Armed Forces in the Amazon until April 2021.

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Since May, Brazilian soldiers have been deployed in the Amazon basin in an attempt by President Jair Bolsonaro's administration to allegedly contain deforestation and fires in the largest tropical forest on the planet. Initially, their activities inside this region was scheduled to end in November.

Despite the presence of nearly 10,000 soldiers, the deforestation rates in the Amazon have not decreased but have increased since Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.

During the first year in the Presidency, deforestation in the Amazon grew by 85 percent and fires increased by 30 percent, according to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

In the first ten months of 2020, Brazilian ecosystems have already registered 90,571 fire outbreaks, a figure higher than the 89,176 fires reported in 2019.

Environmental organizations and some European governments have attributed the increase in Amazonian destruction to the policies of Bolsonaro, who defends the exploitation of the natural resources and opposes the demarcation of new Indigenous reserves.

This year the concern of Brazilians has also extended to the Pantanal, the largest wetland on the planet that Brazil shares with Bolivia and Paraguay. These were the worst fires over the last two decades.

Last week, however, Bolsonaro said that his administration is preparing an overflight of the Amazon so that foreign diplomats can see "nothing is burning, nor is there a hectare of the devastated jungle."

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