Brazil's courts, military question Amazon policy
The Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: Deep in the northernmost reaches of the Amazon jungle, a land conflict between rice farmers and a handful of Indian tribes has turned so violent that the country's Supreme Court warns it could escalate into civil war.
The court is expected to decide in August if the government can keep evicting rice farmers from a 4.2 million acre (1.7 million hectare) Indian reservation decreed by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2005. The evictions were stopped in April when rice farmers started burning bridges and blockading roads, and justices said they feared a "veritable civil war."
The court's decision could help determine the future of the Amazon, whose remaining jungles provide a critical cushion against global warming. It could also redefine Brazil's policy toward its Indians at a time of frequent confrontations, as the country spends billions of dollars opening roads, building dams and promoting agribusiness across the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness.