Brazil’s Amazon Megaprojects Threaten Lula’s Green Ambitions

RIO DE JANEIRO — After his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 1, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva walked up the ramp to the presidential palace arm in arm with Indigenous leader Raoni Metuktire, instantly recognizable by his yellow headdress and wooden lip plate.

But a major railway that would accelerate deforestation in Metuktire’s ancestral land risks souring relations between the leftist leader and the chief of the Kayapó people. And it’s just one of several mega-projects that activists and experts say would devastate the natural world — and seriously dent Lula’s newfound image as a defender of the environment — if they proceed.

Others include an oil drilling project near the mouth of the Amazon River; a highway that would slice through some of the Amazon rainforest’s most protected areas; and renewal of a giant hydroelectric dam’s license.


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Peter Peterkin Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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