Brazil: Map

From Brazil, Joe Listo writes: It took me a while but I finally managed to Google up the map from the Internet. Unfortunately, the site is entirely in Portuguese. Should you wish to read this unsubstantiated article I would gladly translate it to you. The map is quite clear though. However, they took out not only the Amazon state but also what is called the "Legal Amazon", which includes other mid-western and central states. Absolute non-sense.

RH: This is extremely important- Check the url and you will see Brazil reduced to half its present size. There follow a series of articles in Portuguese written by Brazilians about the dastardly US plans to seize Amazonia. I thought this talk had died out a long time ago, but it is has been revived in an unscrupulous way. The map is allegedly of US origin.  This  1981 quote is attributed to then Vice President Al Gore: Contrary to what Brazilians think, Amazonia does not belong to them, ot belongs to  all of us".  Could someone please track down this quotation, possibly asking Al Gore himself)?  Since few WAISers know Portuguese. I would ask Clyde McMorrow to read the articles and report back to us. I will also put him in touch with Joe Listo. This is clearly a campaign to create a confrontation between the US and Brazil.  It is extremely important, and most Americans have no idea of what is going on.


Regarding the map of Brazil showing half of it taken over by the US and the accompanying articles written by Brazilian nationalists, Harry Papasotiriou says; Sounds like local political paranoia to me.  RH: Yes, but it cannot be dismissed therefore as unimportant. The campaign is having an impact of masses of Brazilians. National paranoia is a WAISworthy subject. When I lived in Nazi Germany, the walls were plastered with maps of Czechoslovakia with airplanes, presumably Soviet, ready to fly over Germany and drop their bombs. This propaganda campaign certainly prepared the Germans for World War II. Similarly, when the Zionists say that God gave them the lands from the Nile to the Euphrates, the Arabs wonder what Israel is preparing. Ecuador is convinced that Peru is plotting to take over its Amazon territories (see Brazil above).  The question is: When is paranoia just paranoia, and when is there more to it?

Randy Black provides more information on the exploitation of Amazonia: The truth be known, perhaps the largest user and manufacturer of wood products in the Amazon region is the Chinese-owned plywood factory, Compensa. The USA contributes tens of millions of dollars to the preservation efforts of the Amazon forests.

RH: I doubt that the Brazilian articles attacking the US over Amazonia mention either of these facts.

Concerning the map of Brazil showing Amazonia, indeed half of Brazil, detached, allegedly as part of a dastardly US imperialistic plot to take it over, Carmen Negrin notes : The "Central Amazon Conservation Complex" is on the "World Heritage" List, this implies that Brazil is responsable for its preservation vis-à-vis humanity and that it is entitled to world assistance, if necessary.

RH:  My guess is that the remark attributed to Al Gore was made in reference to this. Perhaps the anti-US propaganda about Amazonia is being put out by Brazilians who are exploiting the area in disregard of ecology laws, the same kind of people who killed the American nun, Dorothy Stang.

Regarding the map of Brazil showing it deprived of the vast Amazonia region, allegedly the object of US imperialist aims, Brazil expert Clyde McMorrow writes: I have seem similar maps for many years.  Generally, they are used to emphasize that the Amazon is an important world asset and something to be valued by all.  Brazil has a political history very similar to that of the United States, growing from a relatively small region into a continent by absorbing pieces of her neighbors. During this development, Brazil was "invaded" by the French and Dutch, allowing politicians to use the fear of a U.S. invasion of the critical Amazon waterway as an excuse for a number of raids on the Brazilian treasury.   From Herndon's exploration of the Amazon in 1851 to Theodore Roosevelt's trip from Southern Brazil to the Amazon River in 1914 to the recent installation of the Amazon surveillance system, SIVAM, by the U.S. company Raytheon, Brazilians have believed that the U.S. has some interest in the region.
The one developmental difference between our two countries occurred when the Brazilian Army of Rio de Janeiro forced the abdication of the industrial-minded Emperor Dom Pedro II at the behest of the landed aristocrats, 1889.  This could be considered the equivalent of the North having lost the U.S. Civil War.  The result for Brazil was that the country continued to rely on large doses of foreign capital for development.  The result was the Brazilian Light and Traction Company (William Van Horne - Rio and Sao Paulo Light), Brazilian Railways (Percival Farquhar), Port of Para(Farquhar), and others.  Brazilians saw these foreign corporations as thieves of the national patrimony, a feeling that was encouraged by politicians.  These feelings continue today in the belief that the U.S. is going to invade Amazonia to steal the rubber (Henry Ford - Belterra and Fordlandia), the wood (Daniel Ludwig - Jari), the cattle (Rockefeller Brothers), the oil (Shell-Enron).  The failure of all of these efforts as well as the failure of most of the Brazilian development schemes is an indication of the difficulty of applying traditional land ownership and economic policies to this region.

RH: Clyde raises an important point: the role of Theodore Roosevelt in provoking Brazilian fear of US imperialism. There is at present in the US a cult of him, but in Latin America he was hated and feared.  He seized Cuba from Spain and he took Panama.  In 1904 he enunciated the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, banning foreign intervention in Latin America to collect debts, and saying that the US would do so for them. The US could thereby easily find a pretext to intervene anywhere in Latin America. Essentially, he had no respect for Latin America. Then in 1914 he explored an uncharted sector of Amazonia, canoeing down the River of Doubt to the Amazon.  It was an amazing feat which ruined his health. The River of Doubt was renamed Rio Roosevelt, but the episode confirmed Brazilians'  suspicion that the great imperialist had his eyes on Amazonia. Has anyone written a study of Latin American attitudes toward TR and his big stick?

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: February 27, 2005