Unite member Mike Hedges was one of those who supported an emergency Labour Party conference motion on the devastating fires to hit the Amazon rainforest this summer.
Here Hedges explains why the fires are linked to Brazil’s far-right government:
What is happening is not just an environmental disaster. It is happening because there is a far right President in Brazil – Bolsonaro.
He has denied that the climate emergency is taking place, has stripped protections from indigenous communities in the Amazon and instead worked with big business.
He has allowed a dramatic increase in illegal logging and mining – part of a wider agenda where Bolsonaro has made statements supportive of previous regimes where many were disappeared and tortured.
Bolsonaro has implemented large scale privatisations and cuts to public services, carried out attacks on trade unions and civil rights, and encouraged the rise of hate crime.
Bolsonaro would not be in power without the 2016 coup in Brazil or the political persecution of Lula – the front runner in the 2018 election.
Lula was a former trade union leader and president, and while in office had reduced deforestation by over two thirds.
This disaster did not have to happen. And the response could have been very different, as shown by Evo Morales, the Bolivian President, who took immediate urgent actions to try and put the flames out.
No wonder Trump loves Bolsonaro and is trying to get rid of Evo. We should continue to give our solidarity to those struggling in Brazil, to work with organisations such as the Brazil Solidarity Initiative and to put pressure on our own government to stop supporting the far right Bolsonaro and Trump axis.