Amazon Journal

By Darren Foster

Go behind the scenes with FRONTLINE/World producer/cameraman Darren Foster as he travels through the Amazon to cover the story.

The Stakes:
A mother lode of diamonds on tribal land

In March 2004, I received a commission to write a story on Rio de Janeiro. Mariana and I were living in London at the time, but we had the foresight to know that once we arrived in Brazil, it would be difficult to leave. We also thought the move could be good for our careers – Mariana, being Portuguese, speaks the language, and Brazil, being Brazil, always seems to generate interesting stories...

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Into the Amazon:
One truly regrettable decision

At the end of July 2004, we decided to leave Rio and travel to the Amazon to get a closer look at the story. There was one problem, however – we were low on cash. So to conserve money, we decided to bus it. Throughout all the months working on this project, this was the only decision we truly regretted...

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Operation Roosevelt:
Traveling with the federal police

Cacoal was our base of operations for this little research trip. The regional headquarters of the governmental Indian protection agency is here, and about 40 miles east is Pimenta Bueno, the base camp for what the federal police had dubbed Operation Roosevelt...

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The Indians:
A rude awakening to the modern world

One of the most fascinating things about traveling to the Amazon to report this story was the idea that until just a few decades ago, the Cinta Larga were Stone Age hunter–gatherers. Think about that. For Americans, 1969 was the Summer of Love. For the Cinta Larga, it was a time warp. Talk about a trip...

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The Miners:
Easy come, easy go -- no long–term investment strategy here

After our stay in the jungle with the federal police, we returned to civilization – well, almost – and checked into the Hotel Nacional in Pimenta Bueno. The rooms were pretty basic, but they were clean and had hot showers and cold AC. Since few foreigners come to Pimenta Bueno, Mariana and I were a bit of a novelty...

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