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Researcher of Embrapa is persecuted for denouncing impacts in the Pantanal December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010

Researchers from around the country adopted a motion of support to Debora Calheiros during the First Brazilian Symposium on Environmental Health, held in Belém-PA.
Editor's comment
I know the researcher Debora Calheiros and his work in defending the Brazilian Pantanal since mid-1990.
Her performance has always been guided by scientific analysis and careful steps in order to protect the environment and human populations affected by the impacts of projects in the region.
In this regard, I also subscribe the motion of support to Debora, organized by Sinpaf (a reserchers Union), hoping to immediately cease the harassment she is suffering within her institution and also that the direction of the state company gives her support to face the external attacks.
Maurício Galinkin
See the news and read the motion:
The participants of the First Brazilian Symposium on Environmental Health, held in Belém-PA between 6 and 10 December, adopted a motion of solidarity with the researcher Debora Fernandes Calheiros, from Embrapa Pantanal (MS).

According to the National Union of Agricultural Research and Development (Sinpaf), Debora is a victim of a smear campaign in local media for reporting, in 2006, along with other researchers from other organizations, environmental impacts from the construction of the steel pole Corumbá (city in the middle of Pantanal, note from the Editor).

In addition to external attacks, the researcher havenot received any support from Embrapa and would still suffer harassment within the company, say the leaders of Sinpaf.

The symposium brought together researchers from around the country and was sponsored by the Thematic Group on Health and Environment of the Brazilian Association of Graduate Health (Abrasco), with support from the Ministry of Health and the Instituto Evandro Chagas (IEC). The President of Sinpaf, Vicente Almeida, attended the event at the invitation of Fiocruz.

Below is the motion of support to Debora Calheiros.

"We, participants of the First Brazilian Symposium on Environmental Health, held in Belém (PA), between 06 and 10 December 2010, in solidarity with the Embrapa researcher Dra. Debora Fernandes Calheiros, who has worked for over 20 years in the area environmental health (ecology and ecotoxicology of aquatic ecosystems) for its dedication to research work in the Pantanal, committed to the sustainable use of natural resources on a scientific basis and with respect to environmental legislation, aimed at guaranteeing the right to quality of life and human health.

Given the complex and multidimensional nature of the interrelationships between environment and health, mediated by the patterns of production and consumption, the fruits of socioeconomic and cultural relations experienced by the current development model, it becomes increasingly necessary to develop and extend theories and techniques that aid the understanding of environmental influences on health, provide assistance for the formulation of appropriate responses from the standpoint of public health and thus enable consistent and effective intervention through integrative approaches and globalizing.

Researcher Debora Calheiros contributes tirelessly to integrate theory and practice and result in adoption of effective public actions and policies that benefit the environmental and human health. Therefore, as we see the history of social conquers, the researcher has faced interests that seek to override the public interest, using strategies have long repudiated by Brazilian society.

Finally, we require public bodies and the ethical treatment of the case, distinguished by respect for the plurality of perspectives in conducting scientific research at Embrapa and its dialogue, direct and fair, with society and its representations."

Source: EcoAgência with Sinpaf information
Translation by Google Translator with copy-desk by Maurício Galinkin, editor of the AgribusinessWatch.

We can not remain silent! October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

By Edilberto Sena, Radio Rural de Santarém, Pará

Eletronorte continues its strategy of
fait accompli to build five dams in the Tapajós basin, at the rivers Xingu, Teles Pires, Madeira, beside others. Without respect for rights of those living along the riverbanks. What happened in the last days at the community Pimental, in the high Tapajos River and the use of scare tactics to execute his evil plan of criminal power plants in the Amazon.

Suddenly there came foreign workers, without speaking to anyone resident, measuring and setting cement milestones at points of the community. A group of residents were astonished at this attitude and ask at whose order they were invading the community. The workers replied that order came from the president. The residents were outraged by this order and went to the president's community home. When he explained that he knew nothing, now reaching more people, workers were pressed by the local inhabitants and they said they were in the order of the President of the Republic.

This enraged the residents who broke the cement markers and gave orders for the workers to leave the community immediately. As they arrived at Itaituba city the company’s workers pressed charges against the community at the Police Station, but they did not know the names of the community members and accused the entire community without names giving names.

The next day came a group of Pimental residents went to the Police Station of Itaituba in order to press achages agains Eletronorte and associates companies, but were advised not to register it. That's when some members of Tapajós Vivo NGO were supporting the Pimental community actions.
We can not stay quiet in face of this strategy to criminalize social movements and residents who are victims of criminals. The Eletronorte is determined to build its hydroelectric power dams by force in the Amazon, including in the Tapajós basin. We must support and encourage all communities of the Tapajós to resist the challenge they ares facing, and we must be on their side. Only the strength of popular organization and conscious support of the institutions that defend life and the people of the Amazon can stop this criminal viciousness of the Brazilian government, which continues to see the Amazon as a COLONY to be exploited and its people a obstacle to the government plans (as the PAC).

Edilberto Sena, of the Front in Defense of the Amazon, FDA.

Floodplain without water? It seems ironic, but it is not October 14, 2010

October 14, 2010

By Edilberto Sena, Radio Rural de Santarém, Pará.

Almost is not enough to believe that residents in the floodplain, this summer have to walk 12 km to fetch water for drinking and cooking. How to explain that six months ago and they they were upon the waters and now they have not, nor to drink? What is going on the sea turned Dulce desert? Asked about a solution of artesian wells, one resident explained that the floodplain is not possible, because in full wraps and lose well.
This is not the first major drought in the lowland and nature is warning that the way in which humanity is violating the natural rate, the consequences are harsh. Mother Nature has her tolerance limit. Destroy forests, pollute rivers and streams and manipulate actions are destructive and lack of potable water in the valley is just a symptom. As the saying goes - is made here and here you pay.

Just yesterday came as a great news about the deforestation occurred in just two months, from July to August in the past, in the Amazon - 220 km ² and the State of Pará was responsible for 52% of this disaster. From January to August this year the total Amazon deforestation was 1,540 sq km. Moreover, large hydro are being built in Rondônia, Mato Grosso and Pará Each dam causes great disturbance in the dynamics of nature. So they can not be attributed to natural phenomena major droughts and major floods that are occurring with increasing more often.

Nature does not run as many crimes repeatedly. Is there a solution to restore the specific pace of Amazonian nature? Until there is, from business, governments and justice to pass the Amazon without regard to the nature rape her. We can not continue to look at the region only as a source of personal enrichment, business and the nation's coffers. The Amazon is not just an Eldorado rich in biodiversity, forests and minerals. Here live 25 million human beings who are entitled to a dignified life, to have abundant clean water close to home.

Unfortunately, while governments and big companies prey on the nature, who paid the high price are the varzeiros, riparian, native, etc.. In other words, the least disturbing nature. Can one expect positive changes for people with any of the Amazon is elected in a runoff election?

Translation by Google Translator with copy-desk by Maurício Galinkin, editor of the AgribusinessWatch.

LEGAL LAND: When alms is great... September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010

By Edilberto Sena, Radio Rural de Santarém, Pará

Well, the saint is very suspicious when the devotee reaches too generous. And when is the State of Pará, land rights, so ... Beard sauce, holy. The state is distributing land titles to urban bulk in the Amazon, more precisely in Pará. As the saying goes, "there has something wrong..."

Just reflect about the following: why suddenly, in mid September, the Programme Legal Earth appears so generous and distributes 15,000 urban land legalized residents of the district of Castelo dos Sonhos, municipality of Altamira? And not only there: also in another district called Cachoeira da Serra, in Novo Progresso and more urban land in over 22 municipalities in Pará, where the people live on land without legalization.

The coordinator of the Program Legal Land Pará said many donations are the result of partnership between governments, federal, state and counties. This impressive line-chain management, just in the state of Pará, in the month of September 2010. These municipalities have been around for over 10 years, where its residents living in illegal land. Why these benefits did not come before there is no explanation. Now then, all those thousands of former illegal residents may enter another generous gift, the programme "My Home, My Life", from the federal government.

Is to bad that the programme "My Home, My Life" does not come so easily in Santarém. In this city, as in hundreds of other municipalities in Pará, inhabitants live in peripheral neighborhoods, without secure tenure and thus not eligible for this programme "My Home My Life". The Caixa Econômica Federal (a federal owned savings bank) has enough money to inexpensive financing, since the land is legalized and there, deny their applications because they only have proof of purchase and sale, when it is land of disorderly occupation.

It is strange that this sympathetic programme of the legal land distribution has not arrived in Santarém, Itaituba Monte Alegre and dozens of other cities, where are thousands of other Brazilians living in illegal lots. These lots inhabitants represents more than 100,000 voters. The generosity of the Legal Urban Land Programme will further serve the donors but there are doubts if after the 3rd of October elections there will still exist this opportunity for those who did not win this gift? Legal ground, my house my life, all for the social, the government says ...

Translation by Google Translator with copy-desk by Maurício Galinkin, editor of the AgribusinessWatch.

Multinational Cargill in the spotlight July 23, 2010

July 23, 2010
By Edilberto Sena, Radio Rural de Santarém, Pará
The environmental impact report, EIA, on the grain port of Cargill, has not convinced some analysts. The public hearing yesterday in Santarém, quite busy, with a strong police and security apparatus, created new facts that can lead to paralysis and even withdrawal of Cargill's port in Santarém.
The District Attorney, after detect symptoms of errors in the EIA/Rima, ensures the following: "We will determine the opening of a police inquiry to investigate the truthfulness of the EIA/Rima of the Cargill grain terminal in Santarém. Attorneys of the two ministries (federal and state) have strong suspicions that the information contained in the studies (impacts) are not true. "
The company's situation is complicated because the technical explanations of the MPE given in open court, created a climate quite embarrassing for the company that produced the EIA/Rima, and also to Cargill. After all, the multinational, which stated that large enterprises in 45 countries and several Brazilian states, and that works in accordance with the principles of Brazilian law, and worry about the environment and bring development to the region, now failed to convince the plenary hearing that everything is correct in its procedures.
The MEP raises suspicion of fraud in reporting of environmental impacts. Now, besides the police investigation to be determined by the ministry is awaiting the placement of the State Secretariat of Environment, responsible for final evaluation of the EIA RIMA. If indeed there was manipulation of data in the study of impacts, should not be granted any license to the functioning of Cargill's port in Santarem.

If this were to happen, affect all benefited the company, but protects the city's population of social impacts even higher today and the near future when, according to Cargill's own information, hundreds of trucks will be coming to town trucks loaded with soybeans, that, besides causing serious inconvenience to the city's traffic, will cause an increase in prostitution, venereal diseases, drugs and other social problems.

Translation by Google Translator with copy-desk by Maurício Galinkin, editor of the AgribusinessWatch.

Port of Santarém will turn in prostitution zone July, 7, 2010

July, 7, 2010

By Edilberto Sena, Radio Rural de Santarém, Pará
If people of Santarém (Pará State) stand still, or clapping hands over a new project along the grain port of Pará Docks, their sons and daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren will pay a price more expensive than the already paid by local inhabitants today by the presence of two ports large scale within the city, invading the beautiful Tapajós river. The news is frightening, the responsible for port in Santarém (company Pará Docks) says to a Southern newspaper that the project of a new port, larger than the existing illegal of the multinational Cargill, is already designed and negotiated with Maggi company.

As the old saying a child's play - "an elephant upsets many people, three elephants bore much more ..." - translating it to the current reality of Santarém - a multinational affect many people, five multinationals undermine much more. So, although the head of the docks in Santarém not confirm to the local press, but said to the Southern press, firms Maggi, Bunge and ADM, major carriers of soybeans to foreign countries, are decided to lease more parcels of land in the docklands Santarém to build a port - greater than the current Cargill - to export corn and soybeans.

It will be built somewhere in the ownership of the docks, leaning to its port, between the perimeters of the Federal University-UFOP and the fuel tanks of the distributor. Everything indicates that the paving of the Cuiabá-Santarém highway will be completed within two years, according to the latest promise of the president of the Republic. So, will finally progress arrive? Unemployment will end?

Does anyone know by chance how many jobs generates the current Cargill in the city, with its port which annually exports one million tons of soybeans? With the paved road and two major ports and bulk in front of the city, imagine 200-300 trucks coming daily and stopping along the avenue Cuiabá, or the archaeological site of yards of docks, which are the consequences? Increase in drugs, prostitution, venereal diseases and more. Is this development dreaming?
Will allow the Santareno society such misfortunes threaten their sons and daughters? Does the local Legislative Board and the Mayor of the city will allow more socio-environmental crime? Even with a Master Plan of the Municipality, establishing urban planning and knowing what ports built upstream are so disastrous as in the front of the city? No one reacts to such nefarious design of bulk carriers more ports within the city? If so, it really is launching the Pearl of the Tapajos to the pigs.

Translation by Google Translator with copy-desk by Maurício Galinkin, editor of the AgribusinessWatch.


June 25, 2010

By Edilberto Sena, Rural Radio of Santarém, Pará State

The older people liked to say, not everything that glitters is gold, and not everything that rocks fall. Brazil is a country touted as the most finished and environmental laws on the planet. The serious problem is the lack of ethics in law enforcement. In Amazonia, this situation becomes even more serious because it is a highly sensitive area in environmental and social issues. Open a road, pipeline, building a hydroelectric, permit monocultures as soybean cultivation, cause irreversible impacts on the ecosystem of the region. Take a textbook example of this.

When the multinational Cargill began to destroy the beach in Vera Paz, opposite the city of Santarem, in early 2000, was based on an illegal license released by the State Secretary of Science, Technology and Environment, formerly Sectam today Sema. It was soon denounced the illegality to the federal prosecutor, MPF, which filed a lawsuit in federal court. It was unlawful for lack of a prior environmental impact study and its report, the EIA/RIMA.

The Multinational did not care about the process and went ahead with the destruction of the beach, the archaeological site and built the port. Was ordered by federal courts, appealed to so many injunctions as many as possible and continue using, but sub judice. In 2006 was condemned by a group of three judges in Brasilia, but in a freak. Should have carried out an EIA/RIMA, but could continue working with the port, which makes today.

In 2009 the multinational company conducted a study and environmental impact report, but was rejected by the State Secretary of Environment, SEMA, as no further information required by reference. Cargill was required to commission new environmental impact study, which will be brought to debate of civil society and government ministries, federal and state MPE MPF on the 14th of July.

These days, the MPE invited groups interested in participating in a seminar examining the new EIA/RIMA. The reason is that we will know the report and its irregularities to be presented on the day of the hearing of the day 14.07. Even with a second EIA/RIMA, everything indicates that the impacts of the presence of the multinational in front of the town of Santarém is irreversible. The question is whether the law will be enforced, that is, if case analysis confirmed the social and environmental disaster of this port implanted in front of the city, where it will be forced to withdraw its port to another region less striking.

The Master Plan provides for the city's that the harbour must be setlled on the Tapajos river outside the city. The question is, will that justice will have the strength to respect the dignity of the population of Santarem? Have the courage to order the company to withdraw the city's harbor front, where the socio-environmental impacts are irreversible proven? An interesting question to wait.

Translation by Google Translator with copy-desk by Maurício Galinkin, editor of the AgribusinessWatch

Brics, between sustainability and climate change

April 22, 2010

By Greenpeace Brasília, April 15th, 2010 – Dressed as wind tubines, barrels of oil, trees, solar panels and chimneys, Greenpeace activists staged a protest, during the meeting of the Bric countries in the Brazilian capital, against the lack of a clear commitment on the part of their governments with a plan for a clean development. The activists opened a banner that said “No forests, no climate, no future”. Security moved quickly and arrested for activists. They were taken to a police station and then released. The acitivity served to point out that the meeting of the Bric countries in Brasília, centered on economic and financial questions, left outside the debate the climate crisis. “This meeting could have been an opportunity for the leaders of the Bric countries which, according to the IMF, were responsible for 46, 3% of world growth in the last two years, to discuss ways of generating development while, at the same time, avoiding, climate catastrophe”, said João Talocchi, Greenpeace climate campaigner in Brazil. “The commitment of these countries with a green economy that takes into account the protection of trees and the building of a clean matrix of energy generation, is crucial to keep the rise in temperatures below the 2º degree centigrades over the nest decades”, continued Talocchi. Unfortunately, the behaviour of the Bric countries and South Africa, which came to Brasília to hold parallel discussions with the leaders of Brazil and India, has been erratic at best. The Brazilian case is a good example. The destruction of forests, primarily in the Amazon, is the main source o Brazil’s CO2 emissions. Lula says he wants to reduce deforestation. His government, however, does not take any action to stop the blitzkrieg rural interests are leading in Congress, against Brazilian laws of environmental protection. Lula also insists upon building the Belo Monte dam, which will cause one of the largest forest clearings in the Amazon – 50. 00 hectars – this year. “The protection of forests is vital for biodiversity and for the creation of a sustainable development model”, said Rafael Cruz, from Greenpeace’s Amazon Campaign. The Brazilian government also seems to be uncapable of solving its dilemas in energy generation. It supports the new Renewables Bill that is moving in Congress, but at the same time invests in dirty energy generation and markets the notion that the future of the country lies in its newly found oil reserves. The growing dependency of the emerging economies on oil and coal to generate energy will create a sort of ephemeral development because of its lack of sustainability. “Given the global weight of their economies today, which gives them the ability to lead and influence the rest of the world, their commitment to clean energy sources such as solar and wind, could provoke a virtuous revolution worldwide”, insists Talocchi. “More than reducing emissions, these technologies will stimulate the creation of jobs and energy distribution, contributing to improve the quality of life around the planet”.

Cows on Drugs April 22, 2010

Stanford, Calif.
New York Times Op-Ed Contributor

NOW that Congress has pushed through its complicated legislation to reform the health insurance system, it could take one more simple step to protect the health of all Americans. This one wouldn’t raise any taxes or make any further changes to our health insurance system, so it could be quickly passed by Congress with an outpouring of bipartisan support. Or could it?

More than 30 years ago, when I was commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, we proposed eliminating the use of penicillin and two other antibiotics to promote growth in animals raised for food. When agribusiness interests persuaded Congress not to approve that regulation, we saw firsthand how strong politics can trump wise policy and good science.

Even back then, this nontherapeutic use of antibiotics was being linked to the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect humans. To the leading microbiologists on the F.D.A.’s advisory committee, it was clearly a very bad idea to fatten animals with the same antibiotics used to treat people. But the American Meat Institute and its lobbyists in Washington blocked the F.D.A. proposal.

... the total number of antibiotics used in agriculture is continuing to grow. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70 percent of this use is in animals that are healthy but are vulnerable to transmissible diseases because they live in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

In testimony to Congress last summer, Joshua Sharfstein, the principal deputy commissioner of the F.D.A., estimated that 90,000 Americans die each year from bacterial infections they acquire in hospitals. ...

That’s why the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pharmacists Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of County and City Health Officials are urging Congress to phase out the nontherapeutic use in livestock of antibiotics that are important to humans.

Antibiotic resistance is an expensive problem. ...The extra costs to the American health care system are as much as $26 billion a year, according to estimates by Cook County Hospital in Chicago and the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, a health policy advocacy group.

Agribusiness argues — as it has for 30 years — that livestock need to be given antibiotics to help them grow properly and keep them free of disease. But consider what has happened in Denmark since the late 1990s, when that country banned the use of antibiotics in farm animals except for therapeutic purposes. The reservoir of resistant bacteria in Danish livestock shrank considerably, a World Health Organization report found. And ... the benefits of the rule exceeded those costs.

It’s 30 years late, but Congress should now pass the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which would ban industrial farms from using seven classes of antibiotics that are important to human health unless animals or herds are ill, or pharmaceutical companies can prove the drugs’ use in livestock does not harm human health.

The pharmaceutical industry and agribusiness face the difficult challenge of developing antimicrobials that work specifically against animal infections ... But we don’t have the luxury of waiting any longer to protect those at risk of increasing antibiotic resistance.

Donald Kennedy, a former commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, is a professor emeritus of environmental science at Stanford.

To read the entire article, go to
A version of this article appeared in print on April 18, 2010, on page WK11 of the New York Times, New York edition.