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Cablegate: Brazil's Environment Minister Marina Silva Resigns -

VZCZCXRO7476
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHBR #0681/01 1401113
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191113Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1712
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2099
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6177
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8061
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000681

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/PCI - N. FITE AND L.SPERLING
DEPT FOR OES/ENCR - S.CASWELL
DEPT FOR WHA/BSC - B.CHIANG AND D. SCHNIER
DEPT FOR USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER MARINA SILVA RESIGNS -
"PRAGAMATIST" PICKED TO REPLACE

BRASILIA 00000681 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED AND NOT FOR
INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY. Frustrated by a growing string of defeats and
cuts to her authority, Brazil's Environment Minister Marina Silva
resigned on May 13. Her ministry's slow pace in approving
environmental licenses was viewed as an obstacle to President Lula's
program to accelerate growth (PAC). Environmental Secretary for the
State of Rio de Janeiro Carlos Minc Baumfeld has been selected to
replace Marina Silva. He has a reputation for issuing licenses
quickly. President Lula has declared that the country's
environmental policies will not change. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) Rather than see her authority erode even further, Brazil's
iconic Environment Minister Marina Silva left the stage at a time of
her own choosing. She resigned on May 13, after five and a half
years in office. She and her political ally President Luiz Ignacio
Lula da Silva have drifted apart over the years, evidenced by her
leaving it to the press to inform him of her decision. In her
resignation letter to President Lula she wrote that "this difficult
decision stems from the difficulties that I have encountered for
some time now pursuing a federal environment agenda." She added
that despite the progress they have made, "the difficult tasks that
the government still confronts signal that it is necessary to
reconstruct and sustain policies for an environmental agenda." She
concluded, "I leave your government with a clear conscience and
certainty that during these years of beneficial relationship we have
done something relevant for Brazil." Marina Silva now returns to
the seat in the Senate she vacated in 2003.

4. (SBU) During President Lula's first term (2003-2006), Marina
Silva had a good run despite a number of defeats in
inter-ministerial tussles, such as the decision to allow biotech
soybeans in Brazil. She expanded the number of protected areas,
oversaw the reorganization of the Environment Ministry, including
the creation of the Brazilian Forest Service and the Chico Mendes
Institute (to manage conservation units), arranged for Brazil to
host the March 2006 Conference of the Parties of the Convention on
the Biodiversity, and prevailed over the powerful Agriculture
Ministry in support of the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol. One of her
proudest accomplishments was contributing to a sharp decline in the
deforestation rate (from 27,000 square kilometers in 2003-2004 to
11,000 square kilometers for the 2006-2007.) She deserves much
credit for her part in raising consciousness among the political
elite about the importance of reducing deforestation.

5. (SBU) President Lula's second term has focused on economic
growth, with his Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff pressing forcefully
for the Program for Accelerating Growth (PAC). Lula openly explored
the possibility of replacing Marina Silva at the outset of the term.
Since then Marina Silva has clashed with Lula, Rousseff,
Agriculture Minister Stephanes, and others. Last year President
Lula publicly complained about her ministry's slow pace in issuing
environmental permits for two PAC hydroelectric projects on the Rio
Madeira. She lost disputes over use of biotech corn, construction
of more nuclear reactors, and implementation of measures to combat
the dramatic resurgence in deforestation in the last eight months.
The last straw came when President Lula earlier this month stripped
her ministry of responsibility for coordinating the strategic plan
(SEPTEL) for the management of the Amazon forest, instead giving
authority to his long-term planning advisor, Minister Roberto
Mangabeira Unger.

THE REPLACEMENT - A PRAGMATIST

6. (SBU) On May 14, 2008, President Lula announced that
Environmental Secretary for the State of Rio de Janeiro Carlos Minc
Baumfeld would replace Marina Silva. Minc has two characteristics
that made him particularly attractive to President Lula and his
Chief of Staff Rousseff. First, he was a militant along the side of
Rousseff against the military dictatorship. Second, he issued the
license for the partially state-owned energy company Petrobras' US$
8.3 billion Itaborai Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ) in record time.
In 17 months as State Secretary of Environment for Rio de Janeiro,
Minc cut in half the time to issue an environmental permit. His
office issued 2,068 environmental licenses, though they tend to be
for smaller scale projects than ones requiring federal licenses.
Lula has described Minc as an environmentalist who brings solutions

BRASILIA 00000681 002.2 OF 002


instead of problems.

7. (SBU) President Lula has declared that the country's
environmental policies will not change. COMMENT. If the PAC's
Achilles Heel has been obtaining environment licenses, then this
change in ministers could make a major difference to that program.
At the same time, doubts are already being expressed whether Minc
can and will be as strong a voice for protecting the Amazon as
Marina Silva. Various NGOs, such as the Friends of the Earth and
Greenpeace, are calling it a step backwards. Others are openly
pleased. The Union of Democratic Ruralists, which differed with
Marina Silva on farming in the Amazon, is pleased and looking to see
an end to "repressive" policies. Vice President of the National
Agriculture Confederation Katia Abreu opined, "We will no longer be
commanded by ideology at the expense of reason." END COMMENT.

8. (SBU) Two of Marina Silva's top deputies, President of the
Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA) Bazileu Alves Margarido Neto
and Acting President of the Chico Mendes Institute Joao Capobianco,
have also submitted their resignations. Post has learned that they
will remain in office until their replacements have been named.

COMMENT

9. (SBU) Marina Silva may be leaving at an opportune moment. The
reduction in the rate of deforestation, a lauded international
success, looks like it has taken a turn for the worse. Minc's
arrival at a minimum should lead to a shake up of the licensing
process. In fact, he has already called for a new law on licensing.
Further, serious urban environmental issues may receive greater
attention with Minc at the helm. However, despite the wishes of
Lula and Rousseff, the issue of the high rate of deforestation will
continue to attract tremendous international attention. Many
predict the deforestation rate will rise sharply for the 2007-2008
period; the government is expected to release these annual
deforestation numbers in September 2008. END COMMENT.

BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION

10. (U) Carlos Minc Baumfeld has been the Secretary for Rio de
Janeiro State Environment Department since the end of 2006. He was
one one of the founders of the Brazilian Green Party (PV) in 1986 in
Rio de Janeiro with other ecologists, artists, intellectuals and
activists mainly from the anti-nuclear movement. He was elected a
Rio de Janeiro State Deputy in 1986 for the Green Party (PV) and
re-elected from the Workers Party (PT) in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and
2006. In 2006, he garnered the most votes for a deputy in Rio de
Janeiro. In November 2006, the Governor of the State of Rio de
Janeiro Sergio Cabral (PMDB) selected Minc to be his State Secretary
of Environment.

During the 1960's, Minc was a student leader and acted as the vice
president of the Metropolitan Students Association (AMES) when he
was 18 years old. He was arrested in 1969 by the military
dictatorship and exiled in Europe. He returned to Brazil in 1979
under the amnesty law.

In 1989, the United Nations gave Minc a 500 Global Award for his
efforts on the environment defense. His parliamentary activity
prioritized the defense of the environment, public security, welfare
to work and political ethics.

Minc has a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from
Technical University of Lisbon, and a Doctorate in Development
Economy from Paris University - Sorbonne. He worked as a professor
of the Department of Geography of the Rio de Janeiro Federal
University (UFRJ).

Carlos Minc is Jewish and was born in Rio de Janeiro in July 12,
1951. He is married and has two children.

CHICOLA

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