Curtain Raiser

Of Warriors & Deniers, Colltalers

Guajajara tribe warrior Paulo ‘Lobo’ Paulino, a Forest Guardian, was shot to death last week. It was as coward an act as the 2018 assassination of black, LGBTQ Rio Councilwoman Marielle Franco. But hers may lead to President Bolsonaro’s impeachment.
Billionaire President Sebastián Piñera continues to try crushing Chile’s revolt against his neoliberal policies. After troops killed 20 protesters and injured over 1,000, he’s now retaliated further by giving up on hosting next month’s U.N. climate conference.
In the U.S., California’s devastating fires have multiple fronts and hundreds of evacuees. But their cause, man-made climate change, has been absent from most news coverage. It’s as if suddenly, nature got out of whack, and not because we’ve raped it.
The climate has been also hardly mentioned in the coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline, which just had a 383,000 gallons leak. It was a new spill on a history of hundreds of them which makes this just another day in North Dakota. Guess who else is left out of the coverage: the Lakota people, courageous nature defenders whose efforts to shut it down have come at a stiff cost.
The Trump administration and the fossil-fuels industry have worked hard to get it off the ground, despite public outrage and its poorly run operation. But as the founder Bill McKibben tweeted. ‘It happens over and over and over and over and over.’
It’s been a few months of popular unrest all over the world. Although local and specific circumstances have triggered rallies in Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Haiti, Lebanon, and Iraq, among others, they endure on common issues affecting the planet: income inequality, the climate, and endless wars. The world’s 0.01 percent superrich, however, doesn’t seem to care about it.
They should. According to the science group Climate Central, more cities will be underwater by 2050 than

previously thought, and 150 million may flee their homes (and likely seek shelter in rich countries, major fossil-fuel producers and polluters). Just picture Mar-a-Lago, which is not cited in the research, being taken over by hungry homeless refugees. They certainly should.
Jair Bolsonaro’s been tracking, so far in a smaller scale, the Orange man at the White House, including incriminating himself, blaming the press, and believing against all evidence, that what he’s done is not illegal, immoral, impeachable, or at least, stupid.
In testimony last week, the doorman of the president’s private condominium in Rio told the police that he had spoken with ‘seu Jair’ right after Élcio Queiroz, one of the suspects of murdering Marielle in 3/14/18, gained access to the condo that very same day. As the president and sons deny being in the city then, Brazilians ask, who buzzed Queiroz in only hours before the crime?
Marielle had risen from a life of poverty in one of the city’s shantytowns to become a political advocate for the lower classes. Her eloquence irritated militias that patrol the favelas and are often involved in horrific acts against the poor. Queiroz, who appears in pictures with the Bolsonaro family, belongs to one, as does the other accused, Ronnie Lessa, who also lives nearby.
What, the president posed for pictures with known criminals? You bet, but that was not the news. What changed is his possible direct link with her murder. As it turned out, the intercom connects to a cellphone, so technically, he could’ve opened the door.
But Saturday, Bolsonaro delivered a bombshell, by admitting he’d taken that day’s intercom recordings, allegedly to prevent fraud, in a flagrant obstruction of justice. He raged against former supporter and now foe TV Globo, but a probe is all but sure.
Paulo Paulino Guajajara was shot dead by illegal loggers in the outskirts of the Amazon Rainforest, on which he grew up and had sworn to defend. He was a member of a group of indigenous forest guards who face daily battles with contract killers, hired by big landowners in the region. He left an infant child and a legacy of resistance by his people, not to be forgotten. R.I.P., Lobo.
As for Chile, new protests over the weekend turned into violent confrontations with the army and law enforcement. Piñera seems determined to win by force and intimidation, a fool’s errand as Chileans continue pressing for their demands to be met. And now for him to step down. It wouldn’t solve the crisis but it’ll surely be a victory to the over 14% who live under extreme poverty.
Spain, which holds presidential elections next Sunday, will now host the climate conference in a month. That posed a problem for climate activist Greta Thunberg, who’s currently in the U.S. and had planned to travel by land to the conference in South America. Now, she has a special request for climate crisis-aware captains: ‘can I catch a ride with you to Madrid? Let me know.’
Two final notes to lighten up this post: the last McDonald’s burger produced in Iceland is completing a decade and there’s a live WebCamp to watch it age. And, amid the fiery SoCA wildfires, there was a moment that the Ronald Reagan Library was about to be consumed by flames. But it didn’t happen; a herd of goats saved it. Would you call that bad or good luck? Let them know.
They run fast and win often. Sunday it was again Kenya’s celebration at the NYC Marathon; Joyciline Jepkosgei and Geoffrey Kamworor kept the tradition alive. A beautiful win to divert from gender and corporate sponsorship issues plaguing the sport. If they can, so can anybody. We’re still losing but the world is coming together as it does in times of crisis. Be part of it. Cheers WC


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