Brazil forest campaigner killed – is it connected to law debate?

So remember how yesterday morning Quasecarioca told us about Brazil’s new forestry law, and how people are cutting trees like mad in hopes that the law will contain an amnesty provision? Well now, someone has killed a couple in Brazil and removed an ear from each corpse. It happens to be that one of the members of the couple was a prominent forest activist. Could this relate to the debate? It’s hard to rule it out.

Al Jazeerah English has the story:

Anti-logging activist murdered in Amazon
Brazilian police say Jose Ribeiro was likely killed in retaliation for speaking out against illegal forest loggers.

An Amazon environmental activist and his wife were killed late on Monday and the crime is being investigated as a possible assassination to silence the outspoken forest defender, according to police.

José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva, also known by his nickname of “Ze Claudio,” was shot and killed along with his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva, in Nova Ipixuna, a rural town of 15,000 people in the northeast Brazilian Amazon state of Para, about 40km from the nearest city, Maraba.

Exact details and circumstances of the death are not yet clear. However, Felicio Pontes a federal prosecutor in Para state, as well as Marcos Augusto Cruz, the local civil police investigator, told Al Jazeera by phone late on Tuesday that the killings have all the signs of a cold-blooded murder for hire.

“We are working on a hypothesis that this was an execution because the shooters cut off one ear of each of the victims,” Cruz told Al Jazeera.

“Usually this is done as proof to give back to whoever ordered the killings,” Cruz told Al Jazeera, before adding that is was likely he was killed in retaliation for speaking out against illegal loggers.

Ribeiro was a community leader of a rural Amazon sustainable reserve that produces nuts and natural oils native to the forest.


4 thoughts on “Brazil forest campaigner killed – is it connected to law debate?

  1. Kepler

    This is really so sad and it was so predictable!
    Thanks for posting about it.
    The Brazilian government does nothing, nothing. I was not surprised when Marina Silva stepped down from Lula’s government three years ago. I was surprised she even accepted to get in in the first place. Brazilians haven’t got it at all.
    Latin America really needs to decide what it is going to do with that 98% of its land that is outside cadastre and law, for good, for good.
    Whether it is property rights in the Llanos or Valles del Tuy, tierras ancestrales or national parks in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela or Chile: it’s a complete mess.

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