The "development" of the Amazon - cattle raising

After the military coup in 1964 a policy took place in Brazil to stimulate big Brazilian and foreign companies to explore the natural resources of Brazil. Various governmental organizations for the development of the Amazon were founded. The first big development plan was realized between 1972 and 1974. Its aim was to implement huge cattle farms. queimadaIn the course of this policy the state credits to support the rubber companies were canceled without advance notice. Suddenly enormous areas of rain forest that previously belonged to the rubber companies were for sale for very low prices. The buyers were usually cattle-raisers from the richer south of Brazil who became owners of huge ranches that way. In Acre it was mainly between 1971 and 1974 that the governor Francisco Vanderlei Dantas executed the economical policy of the military regime. Many areas didn’t even have a legal owner and the resident Seringueiros and Indians who were the legal possessors of the land often did not know about their rights or didn’t have the means to make them good. An important role within these appropriations had the so called "Grileiros": speculators who usurped land through corruption, falsification and violent expulsion of the inhabitants of the forest and then sold that land to the cattle raisers. The Seringueiros tried to defend themselves.They organized the so called "empates"forming chains of people holding hands to inhibit the clearings or circling the group of workers who were in charge of the clearing and making their leader sign a document that would guarantee the suspension of the clearings. At that time the seringueiro’s union wasn’t yet strong enough, neither had they other possibilities to assert their rights. Many times the new landowners achieved with the help of their lawyers the title deeds. Between 1978 and 1991 more than 2.000.000 acres of forest have been destroyed in Acre. Every year more and more rain forest becomes pasture and seringueiros become dwellers of the poor districts in the cities...


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