Brazil: No to President Temer’s Decree Eliminating the RENCA Amazon Reserve!

Statement of the CCR, Brazilian section of the RCIT, September, 09, 2017,




On August 23, President Michel Temer eliminated an environmental reserve of 46,450 sq km (17,800 square miles) ‒ an area equivalent in size to Denmark ‒ in the border area between the Brazilian states of Pará and Amapá, known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (RENCA).


The region holds mineral reserves including gold, iron and copper. Disingenuously, the government is attempting to hide the significance of its decree by asserting that the elimination "does not rule out the application of specific legislation regarding protection of native vegetation, nature conservation units, and indigenous lands."


The day following the government decree, the BBC website reported that in March 2017, five months before the official announcement by the government, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Fernando Coelho Filho, told the country's businessmen that this Amazonian reservation area would be eliminated, and that its exploration and exploitation would come up for auction among private companies.


Announced during a public event which took place in Toronto, The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), the end of RENCA comes in conjunction with a package of measures to reformulate the Brazilian mineral sector, which includes the creation of a National Mining and Initiatives authority to stimulate this branch of the economy.


One week after the elimination of the reserve, President Temer and his entourage flew to China to discuss improving Brazil’s foreign trade with the East Asian giant. China is a huge buyer of mineral and other commodities throughout the world, and Temer clearly intended to utilize his visit in Beijing to announce the “good news” in person.


The Negative Impacts


In contrast to the government’s enthusiasm, environmental experts strongly oppose Temer’s decree. Luiz J. Wanderley, a researcher from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and a member of the National Committee for the Defense of Territory against Mining, declared that the elimination of RENCA will, first and foremost, have a political impact, and will place more pressure on those indigenous lands and UCs (Conservation Units). By opening up another area to mining, the Temer government is signaling that it intends to relax restrictions in additional environmental reserves.


Mariana Napolitano, coordinator of the science nucleus of WWF Brazil, has stated that the growing interest in mining in the area would lead to a reduction in protected areas and a wave of gold rushes, and these in turn would result in a demographic explosion in the region, more deforestation and the contamination of water resources with heavy metals, in addition to threatening the lives and livelihoods of traditional indigenous populations.


Social Movement Resistance


Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to the environment protested on August, 30, in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies against the decree which eliminated RENCA. NGOs such as Greenpeace, WWF-Brazil and SOS Mata Atlântica were present and participated in the protest. A number of organizations, feminist, black and environmental, from the state of Amapá, prepared a manifesto on the potentially devastating impact of the elimination of the national reserve, with the aim of denouncing such a move in the national and international media.


The position of CCR


Brazil is a semi-colony and is therefore subject to the dictates of the imperialist countries. Our bourgeoisie is directly dependent on the great capitalist powers. Capitalism is not driven by love for the environment. The implacable search for profit not only causes misery, hunger and wars, but also the destruction of the planet's natural resources, threatening future generations and even possibly leading to the extinction of the human species.


Only in a socialist system, where there are no exploiters and exploited, where there is no need to destroy natural resources, with a planned economy, with an end to social inequality, will humanity be able to survive. The 2016 coup d'état that put the Temer government in power in Brazil clearly demonstrates that not only are social rights and democratic rights being thrown out in the trash. The government is eager and ready to implement a land policy that will devastate the environment for the benefit of large landowners and transnational corporations.


Therefore, we from the CCR strongly reject the government decree that eliminates RENCA reserve in the Amazon. We call upon all workers and oppressed, all social movements and progressive parties, to join this struggle. The fight for the environment must be linked with the struggle for society.


* For the annulling of the decree which eliminates RENCA


* For the protection of all forest reserves in Brazil


* For the sustainable, socialist management of the forests in Amazon region and throughout the entire world