Environmental Agency Instituto Chico Mendes Suffers Attacks In Rondônia

For government employees, Bolsonaro's criticisms of the agency are feeding hostilities

Fabiano Maisonnave

Brazil's Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (known as ICMBio) has suffered two attacks in Guajará-Mirim, Rondônia, 205 miles from capital Porto Velho. The attacks, thought to be ordered by wood loggers, partially damaged a car and stole a motorcycle away.

The incidents happened during operations against illegal logging in Ouro Preto River extractive reserve. The criminals stole mainly itauba, a highly-valued and durable wood.

Caminhonete do Ibama alvo de ataque em Buritis (RO)
Ibama truck attacked in Buritis (RO) - Divulgação

The agency filed a police complaint about each incident.

With Guajará-Mirim, there now have been three attacks on environmental agencies in the last weeks. On Saturday (20th), three Ibama cars were torched in Buritis (RO). The day before, residents of Bela Vista do Caracol (PA), along the BR-163 interstate road, besieged another ICMBio team.

The ill will against ICMBio and Ibama is nothing new in the Amazon, but officials from both agencies see a sharp increase of late, in the midst of the public criticism from presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro (PSL).
That's is the first time this year that Ibama had its cars burned. In July 2017, an attack burned eight Ibama trucks in Southwestern Pará. An auto carrier was transporting the vehicles.

For Bolsonaro, Ibama and ICMBio are responsible for a "fine industry," and their agents promote "radical environmentalism." In a visit to Rondônia during the campaign, he also said the state had too many conservation units and indigenous reservations.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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