BRAZIL: Murder, Death Threats Amid Environmental Protests
By Fabiana Frayssinet IPSNews.net
Environmentalists and human rights activists in Brazil are demanding clarification of the murder of Paulo Santos Souza, a fisherman and trade unionist who was fighting irregularities in the construction of a gas pipeline for Petrobras.
The Associação dos Homens do Mar (AHOMAR – the fishermen’s union) for which Santos Souza was the treasurer, and other unions and civil society groups have called for a demonstration Wednesday in front of the headquarters of the state oil firm Petrobras, in Rio de Janeiro.
They are also demanding the interruption of work on a natural gas pipeline being laid some 60 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro, following reports of environmental permit irregularities and damages caused to flora and fauna in the mangrove swamps of Guanabara Bay.
The gas pipeline is part of the Liquefied Gas and Oil Project (GLP) carried out in the framework of the Accelerated Growth Programme (PAC) embarked on by the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Construction of the future Petrobras Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ) is in the hands of a consortium, GLP Submarino, made up of the Oceânica Engenharia and GDK S.A. companies.
The head of AHOMAR, Alexandre Anderson, said that the engineering works, which began in late March, have particularly harmed fishing, which has declined by 70 percent since that time.
Although the union will not say outright that the two are connected, it says it is a remarkable coincidence that its treasurer was killed on May 22, the same day that the Environment Secretary of the municipality of Magé blocked the work on the gas pipeline because it lacks the necessary environmental permit.
"Last week we complained to the head of Petrobras that armed men present at the work site were making threats, and that lives were at risk, and just hours later our companion was killed," Ronaldo Moreno of the Oil Industry Workers' Union (SINDIPETRO) told IPS.
Santos Souza, 44, was murdered on the night of May 22 by three men who burst into his house in Magé, beat him up in front of his family, dragged him out into the street and shot him five times in the head.
The unidentified men fled the scene in a car with no licence plate. According to Santos Souza's family, before they killed him they interrogated him, asking him about documents belonging to the fishermen's union.
The murder was committed after several members of AHOMAR, including the treasurer himself, had received death threats, Anderson told IPS. Anderson himself escaped unharmed from an attempt on his life on May 1, when two men fired at him four times from the area near the gas pipeline works.
IPS contacted the Petrobras press office, asking for a comment on what the trade unionists had said, and was told that the fisherman's death was a police matter.
As for the alleged irregularities in the pipeline works, the Petrobras spokesperson said IPS should consult the consortium made up of Oceânica Engenheria and GDK S.A., which is in charge of the project.
In an official communiqué sent to IPS, the GLP Submarino consortium said it "sees no reason to comment" on Santos Souza's death, "except to deeply regret what has happened and express its condolences to his family."
It added that AHOMAR had previously held protests against the gas pipeline works at Mauá beach, in Magé. "On that occasion the consortium's position was strictly within the law, resorting to judicial means to guarantee the works in progress and the safety of its workers and its assets," it said.
Finally, the consortium said it "repudiates in the strongest possible terms the attempts - frequently sheltered behind a comfortable anonymity - to link it with such a vile act."
Moreno, of the oil workers' union, reiterated that Petrobras had been told "that the situation was serious, and that it had to take urgent measures."
Anderson said the fishermen's union preferred "not to speculate, but we are very worried because we've been threatened ever since we started to protest against the damages to the fauna and flora of Guanabara Bay because of the work on the petrochemical complex.
"We have always been threatened whenever we exert pressure and fight for our rights," the president of the fishermen's association told IPS over the phone. He and his family are in hiding to avoid further reprisals.
Moreno said "there is a great deal of uneasiness, and we think there may be more killings." He added that SINDIPETRO has also complained about the outsourcing of the gas pipeline work by Petrobras, and the lack of guarantees and safety conditions for workers that this entails.
SINDIPETRO and AHOMAR took part in a May 16 demonstration against the gas pipeline that was violently put down by the police, Moreno said.
The authorities confiscated fishing nets and four fishing boats from fisherfolk who participated in the protest, in an "unusual and exaggerated" display of strength that included the use of helicopters, Moreno said.
The fishermen say that since Petrobras started work on the gas pipeline, right where they used to cast their nets, they have not been able to fish.
Anderson estimated that the catch is down by 70 percent for the fisherfolk of the region, whose small-scale activity carried out in rowboats supports some 3,000 families.
"Now it's practically impossible to fish in this area. Many fisherfolk are experiencing financial hardship and have had to take up other occupations," Anderson said.
The fisherfolk make their living mainly by catching bass and shrimp.
After the death threats were made, the situation was being closely monitored by the Human Rights Commission of the Rio de Janeiro state parliament, and the Magé police were carrying out an investigation.
The chairman of the Commission, lawmaker Marcelo Freixó of the Socialism and Freedom Party, told the local press that it is unlikely that the murder is unrelated to the protests.
Article from: IPSnews.net
BRAZIL: The Complications of Coming into Sudden (Oil) Wealth
LATIN AMERICA: Reconciling Oil and the Environment
Oil, Gas and Minerals: Mixed Blessings
Latest News from our Front Page
The Pilgrims Were Definitely Not Like Modern-Day Refugees
This upcoming Thanksgiving Day is sure to offer you and your family plenty of opportunities to argue over whether America should be welcoming Syrian refugees.
If you have any liberal relatives or friends coming over for your Thursday feast, theyâ€™re going to relish the chance to tell everyone that the Pilgrims were refugees too â€” and hope that statement decimates all ...
ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.
A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today.
It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men
A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15.
The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material:
No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed!
Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.
Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
|More News » |