Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles resigned on Wednesday in this unexpected decision, which was welcomed by activists.

Nicknamed Brazil’s “Minister of Anti-Environment” by opponents, Sals presided over the sharp increase in deforestation in Brazil Amazon rainforest In the past two years.

Local media reported that his withdrawal was related to the needs of a “family business”. He will be replaced by Joaquim Alvaro Pereira Leite, who is currently the Minister of Amazon and Environmental Services at the Ministry of Environment.

On the occasion of Sales’s resignation survey Federal police accused him of colluding with illegal loggers to export timber from the Amazon.

Last month, Brazil’s Supreme Court allowed investigators to access his family and bank records. At the time, Sales said that “these allegations have no substance.”

As a minister, Sales is relatively immune from prosecution and can only be tried by the Supreme Court. If he is still outside the government after resigning, investigators will be more likely to initiate legal proceedings.

Sales is considered to be one of President Bolsonaro’s closest ideological allies, and he rarely disagrees with him in words or thoughts.

The day before his resignation, Bolsonaro publicly congratulated him on Twitter and told Salles: “It is not easy to take on your ministry.”

Deforestation The Brazilian part of Amazon According to data from Inpe, the National Institute of Space Research, there was a 67% increase last month compared to the same month last year. In the first five months of this year, the area of ​​deforestation increased by a quarter over the same period last year, reaching 2,548 square kilometers.

Along with the president, the former lawyer Sales is widely regarded as sympathizing with the large numbers of illegal loggers and wildcat gold miners all over the tropical rainforest.

Brazil is suffering from its The worst drought Over the past 100 years, millions of people have faced the risk of water shortages and power outages.

Marcelo Latman, a climate activist for Brazil’s Greenpeace, said the drought is “directly related” to deforestation in the Amazon, which reached its highest level in more than a decade last year. The forest water cycle system plays a vital role in the distribution of rainfall throughout South America.

The scientists also warned that the dry weather has increased the possibility of destructive fires in the southern tropical rainforest and the Pantanal, a biome rich in wildlife that burned down large areas last year. .

“[Salles] Oversee the weakening of the environmental protection agency that protects Amazon. He tried to use the pandemic to relax the rules of the environment. He obstructed the investigation of illegal logging. His departure is good news for the rainforest,” Human Rights Watch environmental researcher Luciana Téllez said on Twitter.

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