The illegal farm in Salta
According to Greenpeace Argentina, the country’s Environment
Ministry has confirmed that licenses issued by the Salta provincial government
authorising the deforestation of nearly 150,000 hectares of protected forests
are illegal under
the National Forest Law and Argentina’s constitution.
The Ministry’s resolution, published last week, revokes
licenses authorising businessman Alejandro Jaime Bran Peña to destroy 8,962
hectares of protected forest. The licenses had been issued after the provincial
government sought to downgrade the status of protected areas.
Last week Earthsight reported on
allegations made by Greenpeace Argentina that such licenses were illegal, as
protected areas cannot have their status changed. Greenpeace Argentina alleged the
licenses were the result of political collusion between Braun Peña – who is a
cousin of the federal government’s chief of staff and a director in
several businesses belonging to the family of Argentina’s president – and the
Following the Ministry’s resolution, Salta’s Ministry for
Production, Work and Sustainable Development released a statement notifying
Braun Peña that deforestation at the farm must be halted.
Greenpeace had warned that
deforestation at the farm could lead to the illegal displacement of four Wichi
indigenous communities. Following the latest resolution by the Environment
Ministry, Hernán Giardini, of Greenpeace Argentina, said that
“a crime was being committed and the National Forest Law and indigenous
communities livelihoods were being violated”.
According to Greenpeace, the Ministry’s resolution supports
a constitutional principle prohibiting actions that “set back” environmental
protection. It has called on the Salta government to reforest areas already