Brazil Experiencing Record-Setting Amazon Fires Under Socialist Lula

Officials overseeing the Brazilian Amazon registered almost 3,000 fires during February, marking a new record for the South American country, according to data released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

According to the institute, 2,924 fires were documented in February as of the Tuesday, February 26, cutoff date, up from 2,049 registered in January. February’s data marks a new record of rainforest fires registered since it began logging them in 1999.

February 2024’s record represents a staggering 298 percent increase. INPE recorded 734 fires in February 2023. According to local media, the Brazilian Environment Ministry is yet to publicly comment on the report at press time.

The dramatic increase in forest fires occurred outside of the rainforest’s dry season, which is expected to last between July and October, peaking in August. During those months, the forest’s vegetation is more susceptible to burning, and the lower humidity in the air potentially allows for the flames to spread much more easily, making firefighting efforts more difficult.

Experts stressed to local Brazilian media that the forest rarely catches fire on its own and most fires involve criminal human action. In most cases, the fires are used to open up new areas for grazing.

The state of Roraima is the area most affected by February’s record fires. The smoke has been reported to have covered parts of Roraima’s capital city, Boa Vista, and stretched over the RR-206 state highway.

Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, Justice Minister Ricardo Lewandowski, and Indigenous Peoples Minister Sonia Guajajara are expected to travel to Boa Vista soon to inaugurate a space to coordinate actions in the Yanomami Indigenous Land. The fires have severely affected the Yanomami community.

Brazilian radical leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose third term began in January 2023, made the preservation of the Amazon Rainforest one of his key promises in the 2022 presidential campaign, accusing the administration of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, of fostering the destruction of the rainforest.

Then-Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during a discussion about the Amazon Forest at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh on November 16, 2022 (JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images).

Lula received vocal support from international leftist celebrities as a result of his promises, among them actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. The actors dedicated significant time in 2021 to campaigning against Bolsonaro, urging U.S. President Joe Biden not to engage in environmental cooperation with the Bolsonaro administration.

In 2019, international personalities, including French President Emmanuel Macron, led a separate campaign against Bolsonaro, sharing old pictures of forest fires in the Amazon Rainforest and photos taken elsewhere to accuse Bolsonaro’s policies of causing a purported emergency in the forest. The campaign led to tensions between Bolsonaro and Macron. The former Brazilian president, during his speech at the 74th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in September 2019, asked U.N. member states to help Brazil fight the “colonialist” Macron and denounced pressure from European nations that violated the South American nation’s sovereignty.

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to reporters as he arrives at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 4, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

Mark Ruffalo, who in 2023 publicly lamented that his “hero” Lula was not doing enough to protect the Amazon Rainforest, as of press time, is yet to comment on the new record-breaking forest fire report published by INPE.

Although President Joe Biden made a pledge of $500 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, Lula chose not to invite him to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) summit held in August 2023.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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