Brazil’s president is sending troops back to the Amazon to bolster policing against logging and other illegal land clearance, acting amid international criticism of a surge in deforestation and just two months after withdrawing a similar military mission, reported by AP.
President Jair Bolsonaro’s decree calls for soldiers to go to the states of Para, Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Rondonia through the end of August. The order, which was published Monday in Brazil’s official gazette, didn’t provide details about the number of troops to be deployed nor the cost of the operation. Vice President Hamilton Mourão told reporters earlier this month that the deployment could be extended beyond two months with the arrival of the dry season, when people burn forest to clear land for farming and ranching. Amazon deforestation had edged upward for several years, then it surged after the 2018 election of Bolsonaro, who repeatedly called for development of the rainforest. The destruction has elicited an international outcry and, more recently, an effort by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to urge Bolsonaro to get tough on illegal logging.
On June 23, Environment Minister Ricardo Salles announced his resignation, giving up his post amid sharp criticism of his tenure and two investigations into his actions involving allegedly illegal timber operations. In 2020, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon reached a level unseen since 2008, according to official data.