Cablegate: Brazilian Police Arrest Suspect in Environmentalist's

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Brazilian Police Arrest Suspect in Environmentalist's

Ref: Rio de Janeiro 00308

1. Brazil's Federal Police arrested hunter Leonardo de
Carvalho Marques, who shot environmentalist Dionisio Julio
Ribeiro Junior in the head with a shotgun on February 23 in
the Tingua Natural Reserve in Nova Iguacu. Ribeiro Junior
had spent fifteen years of his life defending the Reserve
from illegal wildlife trade and illegal exploitation of palm
trees and other plants. Leonardo confessed to the crime,
but did not convince public security authorities that he
acted alone. Environmentalists in the area claim that the
crime was planned deliberately by a group of hunters, palm
cutters, animal traders, and perhaps some corrupt employees
of the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA). Police
located Leonardo through an anonymous tip ("Disque-
Denuncia", a police hotline to denounce crimes).

2. Federal Police and public security authorities said the
police would continue investigating the case because they
believe Leonardo may have been a hired hit man. Leonardo
said he killed Ribeiro Junior because the environmentalist
was constantly reporting the illegal activities of hunters
in the Tingua Reserve to IBAMA. The environmentalist's
various accusations helped the police to confiscate several
guns in recent years, including five shotguns belonging to

3. According to the police, Leonardo was raised in the
Tingua Reserve area. Besides being a hunter since the age
of seventeen, Leonardo also helped in illegal palm tree
cutting to extract the hearts of palm in the region. Police
suspect that he also sold tropical birds and animals to
local restaurants. Federal Police received several
complaints about these allegations and will start an

4. Leonard also confessed to killing a woman and burying
her body in the Reserve. He told the police he caught the
woman trying to break into his house and killed her. The
police do not believe this and will pursue an investigation
into this crime as well.

5. The GOB has created a task force consisting of members
of IBAMA, Federal and Civil Police and State Military Police
to investigate the main complaints made by Ribeiro Junior:
illegal palm cutting to extract the hearts of palm, hunting
of tropical birds and animals, illegal exploitation of sand
(for construction work), and irregular land occupation of
the protected area. They intend to start working this week.
The Brazilian Environmental Ministry will contribute Reais
60,000 (approximately USD 23,000) to fund the work.

6. Two representatives of Ribeiro Junior's NGO "Grupo de
Defesa da Natureza" (Nature Defense Group) are in Brasilia
to speak to the Ministry of Justice and the Congress, to
demand permanent occupation of the Tingua Reserve by
appropriate governmental forces. They agree that the GOB
task force will help, but they claim only a continuous
police presence will guarantee protection of the
environmentalists in that region and the delicate ecosystem
in the Reserve.

7. COMMENT: An official from NGO Justica Global told us
that the main problem IBAMA has been facing for some time is
the lack of personnel to inspect protected areas. IBAMA is
the government organism responsible for this oversight and
estimates that Brazil has one inspector for every 37,000
hectares of protected area. Prior to Ribeiro Junior's
assassination, the 27,000-hectare Tingua Biological Reserve
had four inspectors. In the wake of Ribeiro Junior's
murder, the Federal Government via IBAMA announced that
seven more environmental agents will be assigned to the
State of Rio de Janeiro, but did not indicate if any would
be assigned to the Reserve.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

C40: UN Secretary-General's Remarks To Meeting With Leading Mayors Supported By Cities

UN Secretary-General's remarks to Meeting with Leading Mayors Supported by C40 Cities: “Advancing a Carbon-Neutral, Resilient Recovery for Cities and Nations” 16 April 2021 Thank you for joining me today, and for your commitment and leadership. Cities ... More>>

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>