Chico Mendes
Chico Mendes & The Brazilian Rainforest

Chico Mendes was a Brazilian rubber tapper who became a trade union leader and environmentalist. He fought to preserve the Amazon Rainforest as well as for human rights. As part of the Rubber Tappers Union, Mendes asked the Brazilian government to set up reserves to make sure that the forest was being used without being damaged. The union also effectively stopped the destruction of the forest by blocking the way to rubber reserves. Mendes believed that the rubber tappers needed to diversify their work, focusing on products such as nuts, fruit and oil in addition to rubber. On December 22, 1988, Mendes was assassinated by a rancher. He was the 19th rural activist to be killed in Brazil that year. This video shows a brief interview with Mendes, as well as first-hand footage of rubber tappers successfully attempting to stop ranchers from cutting down trees.

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Submitted by: Ilana Faber
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