Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that the tribes in the Amazon rainforest are to blame for the widespread wildfires there. The radical right-wing Bolsonaro also accused the media of spreading panic about the corona epidemic.
In the prerecorded speech to the virtual session of the General Assembly, Bolsonaro rejected international criticism of his environmental policy. He was also not served by criticism of his approach to the second most serious corona outbreak in the world.
Bolsonaro, who still denied in mid-August that fires were raging in the Amazon at all, argued against ranchers burning down rainforest to create pasture, arguing that the rainforest moisture prevents forest fires from spreading further.
“The fires are more or less occurring in the same places, in the east of the forest, where farmers and Indians burn their fields in already deforested areas,” the president also said. The head of Brazil’s leading tribal organization warns that Bolsonaro is lying to the world. “We must condemn the political disaster that is destroying the environment and our future,” she said.
Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the corona epidemic in his country, also noted the more than 137,000 COVID-19 deaths in his country. He accused the media of “politicizing” the corona epidemic and causing panic by telling people to stay at home. This caused “social chaos”, according to Bolsonaro, against which his government “bravely” took emergency measures, the president said.