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The Dark Side of Biofuels: Horror in the ‘Brazilian California’

Brazil is staking its claim as a great emerging power thanks to the leadership it maintains in biofuel production. The price of this ambition is paid by the environment and by the cane cutters, who are the invisible characters in this story.

“When the airplane passed, pouring out that bath of poison, my father was soaked. He fell ill because of the toxins that are sprayed over the cane. This is the end for many young people here,” says a female cane cutter from the region of Ribeirao Preto, in Sao Paulo state.
“The people work and they give them a slip of paper to shop with in the supermarket. The people don’t see money, just the bill of what they owe,” confirms a worker from the same region, where seven of every 10 cane cutters did not finish primary school.

Other cutters explain that they are cheated by the scales that the bosses control

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