Neoliberal Argentine regime sacrifices forests

More than a quarter-million acres of Argentinian forest, much of it protected land, has fallen to the chainsaws and axes of Big Agra players since the election of a neoliberal regime under Mauricio Macri, a corporate tycoon and one of Argentina’s wealthiest.

Unlike the administration of predecessor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Macri won’t let anything stand in the way of his fellow tycoons getting even richher, and the environment be damned.

From teleSUR English:

Over 110,000 hectares of forest were destroyed in Northern Argentina in 2016, including large areas protected because of their biodiversity and crucial role in mitigating the effects of global warming, according to a report Spanish-only] issued by Greenpeace on Thursday.

Greenpeace accused local state officials and agribusiness corporations of illegally collaborating to make systematic large-scale deforestation possible by issuing local decrees allowing deforestation on natural reserves protected by federal laws banning tree-harvesting.

The environment organization found that at least “one out of three deforestations” were illegal, with agribusiness companies paying “ridiculously low fines” which pale in comparison to the large profits they can make through large-scale soy and cattle farming, said Greenpeace’s coordinator in Argentina, Hernan Giardini.

The study only focused on deforestation in the northern provinces of Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Salta and Formosa, which are estimated to represent 80 percent of Argentina’s deforested areas, suggesting that the actual destruction is much greater.

The spike in deforestation in the region— where land is relatively cheaper— is likely driven by increasing meat consumption in recent years, Giardini told EFE.

Deforestation goes hand in hand with violent evictions of indigenous campesinos living in these areas, with agribusiness entrepreneurs occasionally hiring armed paramilitary groups to carry out the displacement.

The report noted that the phenomenon had decreased by half after the former administration of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner passed the Bill on Woods in 2007, but recommended that sanctions be better applied in order to end the destruction of key nature preserves.


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