Written by Jeferson Choma – PSTU
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 16:18
Historic leader of the rubber tappers in Amazonas exposes the candidate Marina Silva and declares his support to Zé Maria.
How did you meet Marina Silva?
I met Marina in the Ecclesiastical Communities. She worked as a catechist, I also started as a catechist and we worked together. The Communities were linked to the liberation theology. Then she stood as a candidate for the House of Representatives, was elected and I was her deputy. But then, in 1993, I left the PT (Workers’ Party) because I disagreed the way they were selling out all their political principles. At that time, the PT expelled some trends, as theConvergência Socialista. I left the PT in solidarity with the expulsion of these comrades.
Marina took part in the Empates [mobilization of rubber tappers against deforestation]. She was a fighter, but later she adapted to the bourgeois legality, being a senator and Minister of the Environment during Lula’s government. Then, she betrayed the movement of the rubber tappers against deforestation.
What do you think about the candidacy of Marina Silva for the presidency?
I think it’s a total throwback to both the peasant question and the Amazon forest. She never had a concern with the issue of education. She was a senator and never had this concern to strengthen this sector. As a minister she managed to guarantee all the logistics to settle the agribusiness and multinationals in Amazonia, so that they could destroy all the potential of the region.
I think we’re in a situation where the top candidates [in the polls] don’t differ much. Dilma [Rousseff – PT] doesn’t defend the land reform, the PSDB candidate and Marina (PSB) neither. On environmental issues, the three have the same agenda which is the green economy. How will they sustain it? Offering alms to the working class. They will propose the Bolsa Família [a state subsidy for poor families]. Here in Amazon they will propose the “Green Subsidy”, the “Forest Subsidy”. So, they will deliver alms to workers and the banks will be big beneficiaries of the policies proposed by these candidates.
They are not the real rulers. They just obey an economic policy of the big business in this country. Marina even hasn’t an ideology. She is presented as someone who is neither a leftist, nor a rightist. She did not fulfill her commitment to the Amazon people when she was a minister. She privatized the Amazon forest by passing the Public Forests Concession Act, strengthened the agribusiness releasing transgenic organisms in agriculture and allowed the importation of used tires from Europe and China, increasing pollution here.
What do you think of Marina’s proposals on sustainable development for Amazon?
It’s the full commodification of natural resources she wants to implement here. Nowadays everything is turned into market. The forest wood is intended to be sold as raw material. And then the carbon market, which guarantees to entrepreneurs in Las Vegas to pollute there and “offset” here in Amazon. This is the proposal of the green economy. It’s sustainable only for the multinationals and the big business.
This affects the rubber tappers and the indigenous peoples. The purpose of green economy is to expel these peoples from their areas. They will not even be able to grow their crops. The Public Forests Act will deliver their areas of the forest to private exploration.
What do you think of the choice of a vice president candidate linked to the agribusiness?
It was something expected. Marina hasn’t a proposal for land reform, she never had this concern. The choice of her vice [Beto Albuquerque] combines her image as a fighter in the past with this sector that has always been the great enemy of those who advocate for land reform and fight against land concentration. The rubber tappers and indigenous peoples will suffer the consequences in Amazon.
Marina has always used Chico Mendes’ prestige in her political career. What do you think?
They try to make Chico looks like an environmentalist. Chico has never been an environmentalist. He was a libertarian, a socialist trade unionist. Chico worked with the environmentalists in specific targets. But Chico fought most of all for a proper agrarian reform for the region. Shortly before he died he was already diverging from Marina because of the proposal presented by her in the Congress of the National Council of Rubber Tappers; the multiple use of forests. What meant the rubber tapper was to accept the [commercial] cutting of timber in the Extractive Reserves. Today, Chico would be totally against these policies that are being implemented.
Why are you supporting the candidacy of Zé Maria?
I’m supporting him because he is the only candidate who defends the land reform, the nationalization of Amazon. He’s a fighter, linked to the trade union movement of the CSP-Conlutas. He’s a guy who has a history of struggle that was never denied by him. He continues today with the same convictions, as fighting against land concentration in the hands of few people.
Lula was the hope of the working class, but left the government saying that the sugar mill owners are heroes. But there are still many people struggling as Chico Mendes did. I’m sure that the population who protested in June  is aware of it.