From the sky, the clear patches of land look like exposed wounds in the otherwise lush rainforests.
This photograph was clicked recently over the Colombian Amazon. Illegal roads reach ever deeper into the forest while fires clear the land making space for cattle raising, agriculture and Coca fields.
Environmentalists are sounding the alarm.
They say drugs Mafia, illegal loggers, and land borders or taking advantage of Colombia’s coronavirus locked down to burn the forest and develop the land unhindered. A new study shows the rate of deforestation in the first four months of the year could be higher than that of the whole of 2019.
There is clearly a relationship between the deforested areas, and big capitals interested in taking over these lands mostly forest reserves, indigenous land, and national parks.
The coronavirus pandemic is not only helping but also worsening the security in these areas as the immobility of armed forces is to blamed. The situation is even worse across the border in Brazil were huge fires destroyed large swaths of the Jungle last year.
Since coming to office president Jair Bolsonaro has promised to open the Amazon to business, enabling the rating of Public land and empowering loggers and land hoarders to exploit the forest as they please. In April environmental Minister Ricardo size shocked many by saying that the pandemic was an opportunity to further reduce deforestation restrictions while attention was focused elsewhere.
In recent clashed three seniors officials were attacked by illegal miners for carrying out operations against them. A truck carrying timber was stopped by the official who was doing his job. He was heckled and struck on the face with a glass bottle.
The government is aware of the huge loss that is caused by deforestation but isn’t taking appropriate actions, but in return making it easier to commercialize the forest. After repeated backlashes from indigenous people and environmentalists, the Brazilian government recently dispatched thousands of troops to the Amazon to address the problem of illegal mining and deforestation
But only for a month, critics fear will not be enough to stop vested interest from exploiting a health crisis to destroy one of the most important environments in the world.