Colleagues, during the summer recess I spent 12 days in Brazillian Amazonia. During that time I met with politicians, lawyers, academics, students, rural educators, government workers, indigenous people, environmentalists, young people, cultural activists and the media.
I visited vast mines which are despoiling the land and polluting the river systems. I flew deep into the forest and saw the burning of trees to make way for the cattle. I visited the 400 year old town that will be destroyed by mega hydroelectric dams, built not for public benefit but to accelerate industrial processing of minerals to line the pockets of the rich. Whilst I was in Maraba, the mayor of a neighbouring municipality was assassinated, the third such murder in a few weeks. I attended vigils for landless peasants, massacred by hired guns. It is quite clear that Brazil is descending into chaos, with a corrupt authoritarian government totally in-hoc to the agricultural lobby and the extractive industries. President Temer and his business cronies are frankly a danger to the whole of society.