Things That Matter

Seven South American Nations Sign An Environmental Pact To Protect The Amazon, Just Like Three Months Too Late

There is a wise old Mexican saying that goes: “Ahogado el niño se tapa el pozo“. It roughly translates as “Once the child drowns the well is shut off”. In other words, sometimes horrible things need to happen for people to react and come up with solutions or at least a bit of an effort to prevent further catastrophes. Well, that’s the feeling that we get with the recently signed pact to protect the Amazon after fires savaged los pulmones de la Madre Tierra for weeks. 

The meeting was initially called by the host and the Peruvian president, as the Sunday Star Times reports: “The host, Colombian President Ivan Duque, and his Peruvian counterpart Martin Vizcarra called for the meeting following global outrage over a surge in the number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon region this year, which triggered protests at Brazilian diplomatic missions worldwide over Bolsonaro’s alleged indifference to environmental concerns”. So what is the pact all about and what is the deal with Bolsonaro?

The pact was signed by seven South American nations.

Credit: default. Digital image. Euronews.

The signing countries are: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Surinam. The pact was signed in the Colombian town of Leticia, deep in the Amazon, last Friday September 6. The pact has 14 points and it focuses on improvements to disaster response coordination among the seven countries, and increased satellite monitoring of the world’s largest rainforest. Other notable points include education around environmental matters and an increased participation of indigenous communities on policies and projects. The document also looks to curb illegal species trafficking, illegal mineral extraction, deforestation and planting of illicit crops (so, drugs). 

The host, Colombian president Ivan Duque, called for unity.

Credit: Instagram. @ivanduquemarquez

The host said: “This meeting will live on as a co-ordination mechanism for the presidents that share this treasure – the Amazon”. But he also expressed a wider message: “We believe that this is a moral duty, our societies are increasingly aware of the need to protect our shared home, of our Mother Earth”. We certainly hope these are more that pretty words. As abuelitas say, del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho. It is worth noting that the original owners of the land were present, as CE Noticias Financieras reports: “Representatives of indigenous communities were also present at the meeting and the instance was concretized to a traditional ceremonial area in the Monilla Amena community”. 

Notably absent was Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who “attended” via video conference.

Credit: Instagram. @michellebolssonaro

The Brazilian leader, who has been widely criticized for his reluctance to accept foreign aid during the fires, was at hospital at the time. Bolsonaro, however, delivered a message that can only be read as support for continuing efforts to mine indigenous reserves and protected areas. He said:  “Our riches will be utilized in a sustainable way, in accordance to the resources that we have”. We don’t have to read too much between the lines to realize that this is a somewhat veiled way to say they will continue exploiting the Amazon for its natural resources… wildlife and indigenous rights be damned. 

Only two Amazon countries did not sign the pact: Venezuela and France, who owns the French Guiana.

Credit: Instagram. @picturesoftheamazon

Will they join in the efforts to protect the biggest single source of oxygen in the world? We certainly hope so. They also have to be held accountable!

And there were some discrepancies over the ways in which the Amazon can be saved.

Credit: Instagram. @TheForestInitiative

The participants in this meeting didn’t all see eye to eye. Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who was himself born in the Amazon, said: “We are killing the Earth, and all of us are responsible”. But Bolsonaro claimed that foreign countries were using the fires to conspire against the sovereignty of the regions’ nations.  So clearly out of the seven at least Brazil is looking after industry lobbyists, perhaps?

But at the end we are all responsible for our planet and the Amazon fires were yet another wake up call! 

Credit: Instagram. @climatesavemovement

Environmentalists and activists in pro of animal rights stressed out the fact that the Amazon fires were in part to blame on the meat industry. While we can disagree with a total ban on meat, fact is that climate-related emergencies will be the norm rather than the exception in the coming years, and we do have to thing about our consumption habits and the ways in which we harvest riches from the land. 

Truth is, politicians will always use catastrophes to increase their profile, so we have to ALL make an effort to protect the environment.

Credit: Instagram. @evomoralesayma

Perhaps we are being too cynical, but the Amazon disaster has conveniently brought out the best out of politicians. Evo Morales, for example, has had too many photo ops related to the rainforest relief efforts, right in the middle of an electoral campaign and when his long rule over Bolivia is being harshly questioned by the opposition. So it is up to us, as Latinos and as human beings, to hold those in power accountable for protecting our home. 

Trump Campaign Email Refers To Protecting Brazil’s Christ The Redeemer Statue

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Trump Campaign Email Refers To Protecting Brazil’s Christ The Redeemer Statue

Buda Mendes / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has recently made defending and protecting Confederate statues part of his campaign. However, someone on the Trump campaign didn’t realize that Christ the Redeemer is not an American statue, nor would it be one people could take down on their own. At least, that’s according to a recent campaign email.

A recent email from the Trump campaign is promising to protect Christ the Redeemer.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign sent subscribers an email calling for them to add their names to a list of supporters. The email promises that President Trump himself will receive the letter of ardent supporters and asks people to sign ASAP.

In the email, the Trump campaign promise that they will protect this accompanied with a photo of the Christ the Redeemer statue. The thing is, however, Christ the Redeemer is a statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and there is no concerted effort to tear down the 98-foot tall statue.

People are really trying to figure out the strategy behind this email.

People are trying to figure out what the Trump campaign might have up their sleeves. Recently, Trump has sided with Confederate sympathizers, even saying that waving the Confederate flag is “freedom of speech.” Saving Confederate monuments and statues as more and more cities and states dismantle their Confederate monuments.

President Donald Trump has placed himself squarely against the majority of Americans on the issue.

The Black Lives Matter movement is shining a spotlight on all of the inequalities our country faces on a daily basis. One of those injustices being corrected is targeting and dismantling things that exalt the Confederacy and racism.

States have taken down statues to Confederate leader Robert E. Lee and other Confederate soldiers. Confederate symbolism is representative of a rebellious uprising against the United States of America. Much like the Third Reich in Germany, the Confederacy fought to preserve slavery and keep a legacy of the dehumanization of a group of people. Slaves were subjected to horrible treatment that stripped them of their humanity, destroyed families, and led to the deaths of millions of people.

A lot of people have a lot of questions about who would believe the email.

Mainly, people on social media want to know why the Trump campaign used this image to represent the movement to save statues. There are so many statues in the U.S. that the Trump campaign could have used. The campaign’s embrace of preserving Confederate monuments is telling of the base the Trump campaign has decided are most crucial to his reelection.

Some people are giving the campaign the benefit of the doubt in that they just picked the wrong statue.

The Christ of the Ozarks does resemble Christ the Redeemer from Brazil. However, there are no current calls to take down that statue. In fact, there hasn’t been a concerted effort to go after religious iconography in general. The statues and monuments people are targeting have racist histories and backstories that people are tired of seeing.

As these statues fall, the public is calling for people who fought for the U.S. to replace them. Some have pointed to Black heroes during the Civil War that freed slaves or pushed Civil Rights forward. There is no shortage of Black American heroes who have pushed our nation forward in the constant search for freedom and equality.

READ: The Difference Between The Confederate And Pride Flag? One Represents Hate The Other Represents Love And Inclusion

Brazilian Media Group Files Lawsuit Against Bolsonaro For Exposing Journalists To COVID-19

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Brazilian Media Group Files Lawsuit Against Bolsonaro For Exposing Journalists To COVID-19

Andressa Anholete / Getty Images

Update: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recently told the press that he has tested positive for COVID-19. During the press conference, President Bolosnaro removed his face mask and he’s being sued for exposing the journalists.

President Jair Bolsonaro is being sued for exposing journalists to COVID-19.

The Brazilian Press Association is filing a lawsuit against President Bolsonaro for removing his mask while telling the press that he has tested positive for COVID-19. The group, known as ABI, argues that the president blatantly ignored health standards and put the press at risk when he took off his mask. By his actions argues the lawsuit, President Bolsonaro knowingly risked the health of the journalists who were present despite the known dangers.

The lawsuit argues that it is a continuous behavior that must end.

“The country cannot watch continued behavior that is beyond irresponsible and constitutes clear crimes against public health, without reacting,” ABI President Paulo Jeronimo de Souza told the press, according to CNN.

Original: After months of downplaying the severity of COVID-19, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for the virus. Bolsonaro drew ire from the international community as he campaigned against stay-at-home orders and joined anti-lockdown protesters.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19.

Brazil has become the epicenter for the COVID-19 outbreak in South America. The country, the largest democracy in Latin America, has the second-highest infections and deaths in the world. More than 1.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Brazil. More than 65,000 people in Brazil have died from the virus.

Bolsonaro’s positive test comes after a 4th of July celebration he attended with the U.S. ambassador.

Health experts have warned against in-person gatherings for prolonged amounts of time. That includes family and social gatherings at houses or any other indoor venue. In LA County, spikes in hospitalization rates, a number that experts monitor closely, have been traced back to these kinds of high-risk exposure settings.

And, yes. There is a photo to prove the lack of masks and social distancing.

Bolsonaro spent months downplaying the true severity of the pandemic. The far-right leader spent some of his time actively riling up his base to protest against lockdown orders in the country. The president’s actions sparked anger throughout the international community and Brazil’s scientific community. Critics blame Bolsonaro’s lack of action to combat the virus to the country’s growing infection and death numbers.

Bolsonaro announced his positive result quickly to the press.

“On Sunday, I wasn’t feeling very well. On Monday, it got worse when I started feeling tired and some muscle pain,” Bolsonaro told reporters. “I also had a 38-degree [Celsius] fever. Given those symptoms, the presidential doctor said there was suspicion of Covid-19.”

The virus is not gone and the rapid spread is still setting off alarms for health officials around the world, especially in the Americas.

Stay safe and healthy. Follow health recommended guidelines. Safeguard your health first. The best advocate for you will forever be you. This virus is still spreading and numbers in the U.S. continue to climb.

READ: Gay Man Dubbed Karen For Saying He Wants Everyone To Catch COVID In IG Video