Who is Chico Mendes?



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    Chico Mendes was a Brazilian environmentalist. He lived from 12/15/1944 to 12/22/1988. Mendes fought to stop the burning and logging of the Amazon Rainforest. He also founded a rural workers union in Brazil. He was murdered by ranchers opposed to his activism.

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    Chico Mendes was the leader of a sustainable, rubber tapping group. He fought to protect the rainforest from being chopped down and converted into farms and in this vein, he made many enemies resulting in death threats, and eventually his own murder at the end of 1988.

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    Chico Mendes was a kind of landmark case where activism crossed the interests of ranchers. He was an environmental activist and also a unionist. A main goal he worked towards was stopping burning and logging in the Amazon for cattle ranching. He also “founded a national union of rubber tappers in an attempt to preserve their profession and the rainforest that it relied upon.”

    Ranchers were unhappy with his attempts to undermine them, and he was killed in 1988.

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    Francisco “Chico” Mendes was born December 15, 1944 in extreme poverty but still managed to learn to read and write at the age of 14. His ability to read alerted him to the issues going on in the world. He became a political activist to right the injustices in the world. He championed the forests and was able to visit the United States to further his cause. By 1987 Chico became the recipient of the Global 500 Award from the United Nations. He became known for his activist work internationally as he continued to earn attention and help delay the destruction of the Amazon.

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