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Story Publication logo November 13, 2020

Politicians up for Election Have Land and Fines in Regions Responsible for Deforestation (Portuguese)

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Amazon rainforest burning under smoke in sunny day in Acre, Brazil near the border with Bolivia. Image by Shutterstock. Brazil, date unknown.
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In January 2020, The Agribusiness Watch (De Olho nos Ruralistas) released its major journalistic...

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Deforestation on the livestock farm in the municipality of São Félix do Xingu, in Pará. Image by Marcio Isensee/Shutterstock. Brazil, date unknown.
Deforestation on the livestock farm in the municipality of São Félix do Xingu, in Pará. Image by Marcio Isensee/Shutterstock. Brazil, date unknown.

Fábio Henrique Gardingo (Citizenship Party), a candidate for the city government, is part of a family that has been fined millions by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) for deforestation in Boca do Acre and Lábrea (AM), two of the main frontiers of deforestation in the Amazon. His uncle Tãozinho Gardingo and his aunt Esperança were fined 2.08 million reais in 2004 (equivalent to 6.32 million reais today) and 1.15 million reais last year for crimes against the flora in the two municipalities among the 267 that today make up the Arc of Deforestation. Popularized at the end of the 1990s, the term defines a strip of 256 municipalities that concentrate the highest deforestation rates in the Amazon, starting at the border between Pará and Maranhão, on the outskirts of the Belém-Brasília highway, and descending to Mato Grosso, where it makes an arc movement that extends as far as the border of Acre with Amazonas.

Fabinho Gardingo is not a politician from the Amazon or from any of the other eight states — Mato Grosso, Maranhão and the rest of the Northern region — that make up the Legal Amazon. He is a candidate in Matipó, a small coffee town in the Zona da Mata, in Minas Gerais. He has already been mayor twice; Sebastião Gardingo (Tãozinho) once. Fabinho's uncle and his father, Antônio Fábio, have already been on the dirty list of slave labor for illegal exploitation of labor in the Amazon: in July 2011, 42 workers were freed from their farms. The Gardingo have paid part of the environmental fines, but there are others that are awaiting payment, including the active debt, and in the degree of appeal within Ibama's administrative process.

Read this story in full in Portuguese on the El País website.