In an affable voice, “Joao” lists the advantages of the land he is selling, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. “These are huge estates, big farms”, says the one who introduces himself with this name in a WhatsApp voice message. We contacted him posing as potential interested customers after an ad posted on Facebook.
While he remains discreet about his identity, Joao is not stingy with details about the land he sells. They are not “not deforested”but proposes “to do the massacre a [ses] risks ». Their surface can reach 8,000 hectares (more than 11,000 football pitches) and their selling price is 1,200 reais per hectare (about 220 euros), he says. The sale of these lands claimed by the State of Parà is in principle illegal, but this curious offer is being made in front of everyone’s eyes, on the largest social network in the world. Like Joao, there are dozens selling Amazon land on Facebook.
A phenomenon noted by Dom Phillips in 2019. At the time, the British journalist noticed an advertisement for the sale of protected land posted by a certain Nair Rodrigues Petry, said “ Nair Brizola”. The continuation of Dom Phillips’ investigation into this landlady reveals the existence of an organized system of land grabbing from which she clearly benefited and which was allegedly orchestrated by a man already implicated in a series of fires which decimated the region in 2019.
In August of that year, the Amazon burned down. On a weekend, August 10 and 11, 2019, now known as Dia do Fogo (the “day of fire”), Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) lists 1,457 “hot spots” in the state, an increase of nearly 2,000 percent over the same period a year earlier. Federal prosecutors suspect criminal action and are opening an investigation, which is still ongoing.
In Cachoeira da Serra, a town in the state of Para where fires are raging, a landowner challenges journalists who report: the perpetrators of the fires are officials of the Chico Mendes Institute, the federal body responsible for the conservation of biodiversity in Brazil. However, the Brazilian media discover that the owner in question, Nair Brizola, received a fine of over one million reais (about 240,000 euros at the time) a few days after the “fire day”. of the Chico Mendes Institute for destroying “from fire” almost 71 hectares in a biological reserve. And that she has declared herself the owner of a gigantic plot of land entirely located in this reserve, which however is forbidden to private ownership.
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