About 80% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil is generated by only eight of the 27 states of the Federation, concentrated in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Bahia, Santa Catarina and the Federal District.
The concentration of the GDP in eight regions reduced by 1% (from 79.7% to 78.7%, equivalent to R$ 23.7 billion (USD 10.8 billion) between 2002 and 2006, while the Northern Region increased by 0.4%.. São Paulo alone realizes some 34% of the Brazilian GDP.
The survey of the IBGE also shows the per capita GDP in the regions. At this moment, the Federal District still has the highest GDP per capita (USD 17,090), almost three times the national average (USD 5,767) and well ahead of São Paulo with USD 8,885 and Rio de Janeiro with USD 8,043.
Pará, with all its minerals (iron ore, gold, diamonds, bauxite and whatever you want) letting his soil be robbed for a pittance, Pará with its obviously inexhaustible stock of hardwood illegally cut down and disappearing, Pará with its abundance of fish in its inner waters but ransacked scot-free, Pará does not belong to the above mentioned list of Prime Producers, Pará has just officially an insignificant share in Brazil’s GDP.
Pará remains at the top of the list of slave labour in Brazil. According to the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MTE), just this year, the Special Group for Mobile Labour Inspection held 28 operations throughout the state, during which 592 workers who were in conditions similar to slavery were “freed”. Above that a 1.000 bookings for misconduct were issued and for more than R$ 1.6 million (USD 730,000) payments for compensation and arrears of wages cashed.
The MTE calls attention to the growing rates of slave labour in states that until then, did not appear on that list. Among them, Goiás and Alagoas.
According MTE, this scenario is directly linked to the expansion of the sugar cane industry, a major protagonist in the international market for bio-fuels. And in the southern region of the country, an increase in the number of enslaved labourers is detected in fazendas which grow pine, a species widely used for reforestation. In both cases, the indecency is that slave labour is being used to support activities theoretically sustainable, for which the basic principles as respect for the environment and concern for the social aspect should be fundamental.
‘Methanol is a ‘clean’ energy in regard to the environment. But we need it also to be clean in the sense of respect for those who work in the production of it”, said the president of the Sindicato Nacional dos Auditores do Trabalho (National Association of Labour Prosecutors), Rosa Campos Jorge.
To prosecutor Jonas Moreno, the increase in the number of ‘freed’ labourers reflects the intention of the Brazilian government to step up the enforcement actions to repress this rank injustice.
In other words there are still a lot of slaves out there to be ‘freed’.