Fires continue to engulf the Amazon rainforest at record-breaking rates. As Rosana Villar of Greenpeace, who toured the damage with reporters, told CNN, “This is not just a forest that is burning. This is almost a cemetery. Because all you can see is death.” When the Group of Seven countries pledged to send tens of millions of dollars to help fight the fires during their meeting Monday, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro scoffed at the $20 million from G-7, plus $11 million from Canada, and according to the Associated Press, accused the wealthy countries of treating his own like a “colony.”

But as leaked documents recently published by reveal, Bolsonaro may not be as angry about the damage to the region as he appears. Reporter Manuella Libardi wrote last week that a PowerPoint presentation, leaked by an unnamed source to Open Democracy’s Latin American arm democraciaAbierta, indicated Bolsonaro planned to use his hate speech to isolate minorities living in the region and “[revealed] plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.”

The administration, according to the document, wanted to use the developments to “occupy” the land and prevent planned conservation projects. As one slide reads:

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.

Before the hydroelectric plant, the highway or the bridge are built, however, “the strategy begins with rhetoric,” according to another slide. Libardi adds that “Bolsonaro’s hate speech already shows that the plan is working. The Amazon is on fire. It’s been burning for weeks and not even those who live in Brazil were fully aware.”

The document also shows that Brazil’s plan to isolate the Amazon also included attacking nonprofit organizations, such as conservation groups. One slide references a globalist strategy that “relativizes the National Sovereignty in the Amazon Basin,” that uses both pressure from foreign governments and what the document calls “psychological oppression” by people within Brazil. As Libardi explains:

“The conspiracy also encourages minorities – mainly indigenous and quilombola (residents of settlements founded by people of African origin who escaped slavery) – to act with the support of public institutions at the federal, state and municipal levels. The result of this movement, they say in the presentation, restricts ‘the government’s freedom of action.’”

Libardi points out that given the tone of the PowerPoint, it’s not surprising that Bolsonaro has accused international non-governmental nonprofit organizations of starting the fires “to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil.”

Read the presentation here.


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