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The NGO CPI denies science and attempts to criminalize social and environmental policies

The NGO CPI denies science and attempts to criminalize social and environmental policies

The so-called “NGO CPI” has been working in the Senate for the past six months. It was established to investigate the actions of civil society organizations in defense of the Amazon region and traditional peoples, claiming that they harm the economic development of the region and Brazil’s political sovereignty over it. The external source of resources that make up the Amazon Fund, managed by BNDES, and other third-sector funding sources were treated as evidence that this action would serve interests conflicting with those of the country.

Drought in the Manaus region (AM), in November | Paolo Dessana Dabucori / Issa

Last week, the final CPI report, prepared by Senator Marcio Bittar (Uniao-AC), was approved by 5 votes to 3. Although it repeats this narrative, it is supported by “creative” calculations of income and staff expenditures at six organizations investigated In it, the report admits there is no evidence of any wrongdoing and only asks that the head of the Chico Méndez Biodiversity Institute (ICMBio), Mauro Pires, be charged. He is a professional public employee, and the institution is not a non-governmental organization, but rather an official body linked to the Ministry of Environment.

The alleged reason for the indictment request was that Pires was a partner in a consulting firm working in the field of environmental licensing, during the three years that he obtained a legal license from his position at ICMBio. Even without citing any concrete case of conflict of interest, a majority of the CPI(M) members voted in favor of the impeachment motion, ignoring the fact that the legal responsibility for environmental licensing rests with state bodies and the IBM Institute.

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The CPI was made up mostly of senators who opposed the current government, as a kind of consolation prize for losing their majority in other CPIs that were more visible, such as those related to the actions of the United Workers’ Movement and the attempted coup on 8 December. January.

From the beginning, the NGO CPI was highly selective. Although its leaders are surrounded by the narrative of a foreign conspiracy against national sovereignty, they have chosen not to disturb international NGOs working in Brazil and to attack Brazilian environmental organizations working in the Amazon region.

Its president, Senator Plinio Valerio (PSDB-AM), a journalist by training, has been prolific and broadcasts, in CPI sessions, videos highlighting actions carried out with resources from his parliamentary amendments and accusing NGOs operating in his state. These videos included testimonies from indigenous or riparian people with no ties to local associations, made general accusations that were assumed as fact, despite a lack of evidence, and reproduced by the senator in college, on social media and in the press.

The Iranian Communist Party mistreated indigenous organizations and extractive associations, promoted their local opponents and enemies without listening to them, ignored their written statements and excluded them from local efforts carried out during collectivization. The legitimacy of these organizations was ignored, as if they were merely extensions of the NGOs targeted by the CPI.

By focusing on these selected organizations, the CPI also ignored widely publicized complaints about the misuse of federal resources by NGOs linked to churches and celebrities.

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Using investigative powers and specialized advisors from the Senate, the CPI delved into the organizations’ accounts with the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the Federal Court of Audit (TCU), the Federal Comptroller’s Office (CGU), the Central Bank and other sources, to no avail. He alluded to suspicions about the wages and effectiveness of the actions of his employees and managers, but in the end he admitted that there were no violations and the impossibility of seeking an indictment.

He then embarked on attempts at political criminalization, describing the relationships between NGOs and state bodies, such as the MPF, STF, MMA and Federal Justice, as “illegitimate.” Appointing ecologists to government positions implies a conflict of interest, as if it were not a practice similar to what happens with specialists and employees in any other field.

Skeptical CPI and dry Amazon

The Communist Party tried to summon prosecutors, directors of partner companies from traditional communities and the head of BNDES, but backed down, succumbing to pressure from behind the scenes. The Commission’s goal was to restrict any public or private actor that supports or works in favor of the sustainable development of the Amazon region.

The CPI gave rise to climate skeptics, who denied climate science and the impending occurrence of El Niño, and provided pseudoscientific support to suggest that the phenomenon was nothing more than a conspiratorial plot, carried out by NGOs, to derail economic development in the Amazon region.

However, while the senators were chasing their ghosts, the south of the country was hit by successive extratropical cyclones, leaving people dead, injured, displaced and destroying entire cities; Heat waves hit the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast, with agricultural losses, a jump in energy consumption, and record temperatures; The Amazon region continues to experience one of the worst droughts recorded in its history, affecting all forms of life, preventing navigation and supplying communities.

Rafts were found downstream of the Taroma River during a drought in Manaus. Paolo Dessana Dabucori / Issa

In this context, Mauro Pires’ request for impeachment and the legislative proposals contained in his final report, which aim to restrict the funding and activities of environmental organizations and impose setbacks on social and environmental legislation, among other points, must be understood.

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