Brazilian rainforest activist murdered

The Guardian reports that the famous Amazon rainforest activist Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva has been killed in an ambush near his home in Brazil.

Six months after predicting his own murder, a leading rainforest defender has reportedly been gunned down in the Brazilian Amazon. Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, are said to have been killed in an ambush near their home in Nova Ipixuna, in Pará state, about 37 miles from Marabá. According to a local newspaper, Diário do Pará, the couple had not had police protection despite getting frequent death threats because of their battle against illegal loggers and ranchers.

Da Silva said in a speech at TEDxAmazonia in November last year that he was afraid loggers would try to kill him:

"I could be here today talking to you and in one month you will get the news that I disappeared. I will protect the forest at all costs. That is why I could get a bullet in my head at any moment … because I denounce the loggers and charcoal producers, and that is why they think I cannot exist. [People] ask me, 'are you afraid?' Yes, I'm a human being, of course I am afraid. But my fear does not silence me. As long as I have the strength to walk I will denounce all of those who damage the forest."

Al Jazeera correspondent Gabriel Elizondo is, one of the few journalist, at the scene covering the murder of rainforest defender Da Silva. You can follow his reporting on Twitter under the hashtag #ZeClaudio. You can also watch his report below:

Watch the speech he gave at TEDxAmazonia last year:

Zé Cláudio Ribeiro lives in the Maraba, in Para, producing nuts in a sustainable way and resisting the construction boom in the Amazon, and the pressure to bring down these impressive trees. He has received several death threats.


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Simon Leufstedt
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I think we can all learn something from José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva. He stood his ground to protect the land and his livelihood against dominant forces. People are being forced to stand by and watch as their environment and elements of their culture are being striped away for the benefit of industrialization and capital. The over consumption of resources can never and will never be sustainable and like José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva we must realize and ask ourselves what kind of future do we want to leave for future generations. Vibrant and full of life or dead and inanimate? It is saddening to see someone with such love and compassion for his surroundings and people pass away, but the spirit of José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva's courage, compassion, and consciousness will live on. 

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