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Two letters from Chico Mendes (1978 and 1980)

Two letters from Chico Mendes (1978 and 1980)

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At the end of the 70s, Chico Mendes, a pioneer in environmental protection, defended the Amazon forest and native populations.

  • Two handwritten letters signed by Chico Mendes to two journalists.
  • First letter. One page (front). In Portuguese. 20 cm x 28 cm. Xapuri, April 28, 1978. Good condition. Unique piece.
  • Second letter. One page (front and back) + Envelope. In Portuguese. 20 cm x 29.5 cm. Xapuri, February 3, 1980. Medium state. Unique piece.

1st letter | "For the truth cannot be defeated"


April 25, 1978

Dear Friend John,

I hope these lines will find you enjoying perfect happiness together with your worthy wife Renata.

Look João, things here, everything goes on that basis, a few days ago I was almost sued, because the judge of this district was angry with me because of a statement I made criticizing the non-functioning of justice in our municipality. I was still summoned to appear in his office, but things went back to normal. For the truth cannot be defeated.

Look, I hope you can send me some news from there. Well, here I am completely out of date. Tell me what the political situation is like there.

Look, tell Renata that at that time when you boarded the police chief was summoned because she took a photo of us and he was leaning over and asked me who you were. of the bus, were it not for my interference.

Here I end all the best for you. Good success in your work. These are my votes. [?] Hugs

Councilor Francisco Mendes Filho

2nd letter | “Days later he swore he shot me six times in the head”

Xapuri, on 3 - 02 - 80

Arrested friend João and Renata

Look, I don't know if you received a letter that I wrote to you over a year ago and I never got a response. Today I happily met Roberto and Marineide, your friends, it was a great pleasure.

Look João, things here are busier, the union movements are increasingly gaining ground, the workers' movement is much better, we have already achieved some victories here, this year everything indicates that it will be very busy, some conflicts in some areas possibly may occur, but we hope that the workers are well prepared to defend their lands and so the Acreian is starting to create shame, and is already starting to appear in the news world.

Look at the politicians here, they are true parasites who only [?] their personal interests. Last year, my own opposition companions on my bench denounced me and accused me of being a subversive and that I was mobilizing the workers for an armed struggle, have you ever thought that the opposition is now with the disguised openness but we are together with the few authentic ones organizing the popular front, an organization created within the pmdb. The [?] of mdb, this organization aims [?} in its ranks only those who are committed to popular struggles.

I have been facing serious problems with the federal police for a few months, I was subjected to several hours of interrogation, but in the meantime the fight continues, I am holding monthly meetings with rural workers, Claudio is always by my side. Now we have great support from comrades from Rio Branco who have recently arrived from the South.

Look, I would have a lot of things to tell you but time is short, I'm going to a meeting in the countryside with Roberto and the Marines. They will tell you more about how things are going here.

Look, send me your address so I can send you some newspapers that talk about our journey here. Comrade, we look forward to your coming here any time, we need people like this to help us with something.

Look, that day when you boarded the bus to travel, the police officer came to my side and asked who are these guys?... I replied, they are my student friends, he then said, I should arrest them right now, at this time Renata knocked a photo he was next to me. Days later he swore to shoot me six times in the head until we got a signed bass with hundreds of signatures against him, so they transferred him to Rio Branco.

Comrades, here I end by wishing you all the best

A socialist hug from comrade

Councilor Francisco Mendes

Chico Mendes was a pioneer in defending the Amazon, the environment and sustainable development

Of modest social origin, Chico Mendes (1944 - 1988) was the son of farmers who worked in latex production in Acre. He learned to read, an exceptional fact in this region, and began to fight against the construction of the trans-Amazonian road, dams, deforestation and the introduction of cattle, still in the 1970s. These practices resulted in the persecution of indigenous tribes and brought catastrophic consequences for the ecosystem of the region. Amazon.

In his life as an activist, Mendes participated in the founding of the National Council of Seringeiros. Additionally, in 1987, he would travel to the United States to meet with members of the World Bank; proposed that the construction of highways be stopped and that natural reserves be created so that the flora of the Amazon rainforest and the Amerindian tribes could be protected. In the same year, he received the Global 500 award from the United Nations and also won the Best World Society Award, created by Ted Turner, from CNN.

Like other Brazilian activists – such as Wilson Pinheiro, who died in 1980 – Chico Mendes was murdered on December 22, 1988, in Xapuri (Acre). In 1990, landowners Darcy and Darly Alves da Silva were convicted of the murder and sentenced to nineteen years in prison.

After his death, several million hectares of Amazon rainforest were declared "extraction reserves" in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. He inspired UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Program and GREENPEACE, whose member Paul McCartney paid tribute to him on his album Flowers in the Dirt, with the song How Many People, written in 1989.

Thirty-six years later, Chico Mendes' daughter tries to resume her father's fight. Elenira studied administration and management of natural resources. She denounces that in the extractive reserves, created by her father, the inhabitants still have difficulty living with dignity and that: “those who, at the time, destroyed the forest, continue to do so.”

The first defender of the Amazon forest, known as the 'lungs of the planet', Chico Mendes had a global impact: preserving the environment has become one of the world's main concerns. These two cards are exceptional.

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