Environment: Justice Comes to the Amazon

But convicting the alleged killers of Chico Mendes would not end the fight between ranchers and rubber tappers in the rain forest

The little-known town in the remote western Amazon has just four dingy guesthouses and 450 phone lines and lies a rugged five-hour drive from the nearest major airport. And yet this week, normally tranquil Xapuri (pop. 6,000) is being invaded by 3,000 visitors from the surrounding territory and around the globe. They have come to witness a long-awaited event: the trial of two men accused of murdering Chico Mendes. In fact, everyone who cares about environmental issues is watching to see whether justice will prevail in the case of the humble rubber tapper whose defense of the Amazon rain forest made...

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