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BRAZIL
Colonizing the Amazon
6/18/2009
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Senate bill to transfer Amazon lands to settlers awaits Lula’s decision.

Environmental organizations are demanding that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva veto a bill to transfer lands in Brazil´s Amazon Basin to settlers who had occupied them without land titles.

The bill, approved by the Senate on June 3, calls for the sale or transfer of lands up to 1,500 hectares in what is known as “Amazonia Legal” — the Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Para, Roraima, Tocantins and Maranhão states — to settlers who have lived there before Dec. 1, 2004. The total area affected could total up to 67.4 million hectares.

The bill does not prohibit one individual or one company from holding various land titles, or from selling them after they are awarded.

Sen. Marina Silva, Lula´s former environment minister wrote to the president, seeking that he veto the law because it would mean the illegal appropriation of lands.

According to Raúl do Valle, a lawyer with the Social-Environmental Institute, “what they´re doing illegally today in the Amazon is going to be legalized by the provisional measure. The disorderly occupation of lands in the Amazon is going to cause more deforestation, concentration of lands and an increase in violence.”

Environmental groups used June 5, World Environmental Day to present the Friends and Enemies of the Amazon prizes to the lawmakers who support and neglect the Amazon.
—Latinamerica Press.


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