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Amazon Gold and Army Suspicion Fuel Bolsonaro’s Rainforest Rage

Aug. 28, 2019, 3:18 PM

Among the tens of thousands of Brazilians who descended on the Amazonian gold mine of Serra Pelada in the 1980s was Percy Geraldo Bolsonaro, father of the current president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro senior was among the wildcat miners who endured brutal working conditions in the quest for riches. The rainforest suffered, too, with widespread environmental degradation as miners ripped apart the Amazon in their desperate hunt for gold.

Workers carry bags of ore out of the Serra Pelada Mine on July 15, 1985.

It is an aspect of Brazil’s national psyche that resonates deeply with the president. “Gold mining is a vice; it’s in the blood,” he told miners from the region in a ...