BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has fired the country’s top environmental enforcement officer, according to a government notice published on Tuesday, after a news program broadcast a dramatic raid on illegal mining in the Amazon rainforest.
The move appears to be the latest attempt by the government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro to defang the federal environment agency Ibama, which serves on the frontlines of Brazil’s fight against deforestation.
Fantastico, a news program on Brazil’s largest broadcaster Globo, accompanied a team of agents from Ibama on raids against miners who were illegally working inside indigenous reservations. It aired on Sunday.
The program included an interview with a man who had illegally claimed land in an indigenous reserve, saying he expected the government to later legalize his ownership.
Four people familiar with the matter told Reuters that Salles fired Ibama’s head of enforcement, Olivaldi Azevedo, in direct response to the broadcast, which was regarded as critical of the government.