Brazil: 'Gringos' must pay to stop Amazon razing
Farmers who cut and burn trees in Brazil's part of the Amazon River Basin cause less environmental destruction, than rich Western nations have done in the past, the Brazilian President says. (read more about historical deforestation here)
Brazil's president said Thursday that "gringos" should pay Amazon nations to prevent deforestation, insisting that rich Western nations have caused much more past environmental destruction than the loggers and farmers who cut and burn trees in the world's largest tropical rain forest.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made the comments just before an Amazon summit in which delegates signed a declaration calling for financial help from the industrial world to halt the deforestation that causes global warming.
"I don't want any gringo asking us to let an Amazon resident die of hunger under a tree," Silva said. "We want to preserve, but they will have to pay the price for this preservation because we never destroyed our forest like they mowed theirs down a century ago."
In Brazil, the word "gringo" does not only mean American, but generally refers to anyone from the northern hemisphere.
Silva convened the meeting to form a unified position on deforestation and climate change for seven Amazon nations ahead of the Dec. 7-18 Copenhagen climate conference. But the only leaders who attended were Guyana's Bharrat Jagdeo and France's Nicolas Sarkozy, representing French Guiana.
Sarkozy supported a recent proposal by Silva to create a financial transaction tax that would be used to build a fund to help developing nations protect their forests.