Many people think of Brazil as a land full of resources and promise. However, environmentalists face a terrifying reality. While they are only trying to preserve and protect the beauty and nature of the nation’s land, they are frequently subject to blatant threats and attacks.
Since May 24, 2011, the described menace turned not into one, but four cold-blooded killings in the northern states of Pará and Rondônia. Although the killings were anything but unannounced, the authorities shamefully failed to protect these brave citizens.
Environmental activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva were ambushed and shot dead at a bridge in Nova Ipixuna, Pará. According to reports from local NGOs, one of the gunmen cut off José Cláudio’s ear to keep as proof of the killing. The killings took place at a reserve where three hundred families earn their living from harvesting Brazilian nuts and cultivating tropical fruits. As a respected community leader, José Cláudio had denounced incursions into the reserve by illegal loggers and cattle ranchers. His bravery was soon met by threats and right before his death, he said he was living with the threat of “a bullet in the head at any moment”.