Other countries are beginning to notice that the US and Europe tend to invade (only for humanitarian reasons, of course) resource-rich nations, and that those “helped” in this way tend to lose not only the resources in question, but the right to determine who develops, uses and/or profits from these resources. To protect themselves, Brazil has just announced it will beef up military protection of the Amazon. Brazil’s Defense Minister, Celso Amorim, issued a statement a day ago which does not specifically name exactly which countries he feels are threats to the Amazon, but there can be little doubt to whom he is referring.
I think we will see more of this sort of self-protective maneuver from the countries able to so defend themselves as the US increases its drone wars, illegal invasions, and open threats to other sovereign nations, with the NATO countries aiding and abetting whenever possible. It has not escaped the world’s notice that in countries like Iraq and Libya, the oil resources were immediately divvied up amongst all the participating invaders, or that – despite whatever reasons given for invading – the US and NATO forces most heavily concentrate on protecting the oil derricks after the respective countries fell and have left the “newly freed” citizens to fend for themselves. We are on the down slope of peak oil, peak fish, and peak fresh water; any country with internal richness of any natural resources whatsoever is smart to take a preemptive protective stance. I also think it will only be a matter of milliseconds in historic time for the US Pentagon, White House, and State Dept. to respond to this move from Brazil by calling it a “rogue nation” or a “security threat”.
Brazil will boost its military presence in the Amazon region to protect its huge natural resources from any external threat, Defense Minister Celso Amorim told the Senate.
“The commitment to the defense of the Amazon is fundamental. Navy, Air Force, all services will boost their presence in the Amazon in the next few years,” he said without giving further details.
Amorim said Brazil did not feel threatened by any neighboring country but added: “We cannot rule out that some power from outside the region” may covet the natural resources of the Amazon, the planet’s largest rainforest and its main source of fresh water.
“We are working on a plan to deploy (security) forces and the Amazon plays a very important role. It’s the most vulnerable part of our country,” Amorim said.
“We have a wealth of resources which can make us the target of adventures,” he added.
Amorim said the country’s strategic planners were planning to boost “transparent cooperation” with other Amazon countries, referring to plans to set up a security commission with Peru and Colombia.
“We do not feel threatened by any South American countries and we do not want anyone to feel threatened by us. We always want full transparency to avoid suspicions,” the minister said.
Brazil, Latin America’s largest country and the world’s sixth largest economy, shares the sprawling Amazon with Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
Brasilia is also boosting its naval power in the South Atlantic with a ambitious submarine program to protect its huge deep-water oil reserves and project its growing influence.
Under the National Defense Strategy unveiled in 2008, [Teri’s note: this is Brazil’s Defense Strategy, which can be read about in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/world/americas/19brazil.html ] the navy was tasked with developing a blue-water force to protect Brazil’s huge sub-salt oil reserves, the Amazon river basin and its 7,491 km (4,655 miles) coastline.
The sub-salt oil fields, located off the country’s southeast Atlantic coast beneath kilometers of ocean, bedrock and hot sat-beds, could contain more than 100 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable oil, according to official estimates.
The centerpiece of the naval buildup is the ProSub program under which France is to supply four Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines and help develop the non-nuclear components of Brazil’s first nuclear-powered fast attack submarine.
Brazil has its own internal arguments and issues over the rain forest, which it will have to settle. After making moves to protect the Amazon from de-forestation by companies and entities within Brazil itself, the agribusiness and timber industries managed to get a bill passed through Brazil’s Congress that might renew the threat to the Amazon from internal sources. Having to deal with the need to protect themselves from themselves is enough of a challenge (as we in the US know all too well) – no wonder they want to make sure that the threats don’t multiply from external predators.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff came under enormous pressure Thursday from environmentalists to veto a new forestry bill they fear will speed up deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector scored a major victory with congressional approval Wednesday of the forestry code reforms, which Rousseff repeatedly promised to veto while on the campaign trail in 2010.
The current code, which dates back to 1965 and which farmers argue is not respected anyway, limits the use of land for farming and mandates that up to 80 percent of privately-owned land in the Amazon rainforest remains intact.
The new bill would allow landowners to cultivate riverbanks and hillsides that were previously exempt, and would provide an amnesty from fines for illegally clearing trees before July 2008.
Farmers, whose industry represent more than five percent of Brazil’s GDP, argue that the existing legislation is confused, putting economic development at risk and costing valuable investment.
They say the new code would promote sustainable food production and bring an end to severe environmental restrictions that have forced many smaller farmers off their land.
Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies approved the controversial legislation in a 247-184 vote on Wednesday night. The text now goes to Rousseff for ratification after having been approved by the Senate in December.
Paulo Moutinho of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) warned that if Rousseff did not use her veto, years of successful efforts to rein in the ruination of the Amazon would be jeopardized.
“Without a veto by President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil will lose the gains of the last few years which led the country to curb deforestation. We will lose leadership and credibility,” Moutinho said.
Opponents say the bill will mean more deforestation and warn it will embarrass the country ahead of hosting the Rio+20 in June, a UN gathering aimed at addressing global threats to the environment.
“It grants amnesty to loggers and raises the risk of environmental disasters in major cities,” opposition lawmaker Ricardo Tripoli said as he left Wednesday night’s vote. “Now it is important that the president veto it.”…
Carlos Rittl, a WWF climate expert, called it the “biggest environmental retreat in Brazil in decades,” while former environment minister Marina Silva urged the public to join a “VetoDilma” online campaign…
The proposed reform threatens 690,000 square kilometers (270,000 square miles) of land and would prevent Brazil from reaching its goal of reducing deforestation by 80 percent, according to the Climate Observatory, a network of 26 non-governmental organizations set up in 2002.
Authorities say key reasons for the deforestation of the world’s largest rainforest — a region of amazing biodiversity that is considered crucial to the fight against climate change — are fires, the advance of agriculture and stockbreeding, and illegal trafficking in timber and minerals.
Deforestation has slowed since Brazil declared war on the practice in 2004, vowing to cut it by 80 percent by 2020. Between 1996 and 2005, 19,500 square kilometers (7,530 square miles) of forest was cut down on average, peaking in 2004 when more than 27,000 square kilometers was lost.
Better law enforcement and the use of satellite imaging saw the lowest rate of deforestation in 2011 since records began three decades ago. Just over 6,200 square kilometers was cut, a 78 percent reduction on 2004.