Brazilian President Shifts Blame from Devastating Amazon Fires to NGOs ‘Trying to Undermine His Government’ and the Media For ‘Exploiting’ the Situation

  • As fire continues to ravage the Amazon rainforest, fingers are pointing at who’s to blame for the disastrous blazes that number in the thousands and have left the skies over Brazil blackened with smoke.
  • The Brazilian government has come under fire for its handling of the fires, but on Thursday, authorities “denounced international critics who say President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to curb massive deforestation.”
  • Referred to as “the lungs of the planet,” the continued fires have “ignited a bitter dispute about who is to blame during the tenure of a leader who described Brazil’s rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development.”
  • Brazil’s “federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84 percent over the same period in 2018.”
  • Additionally, “satellite images show smoke from the Amazon reaching across the Latin American continent to the Atlantic coast and Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.”
  • London-based Amnesty International has “blamed the Brazilian government for the fires, which have escalated international concern over the vast rainforest that is a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”
  • Environmentalists are blaming humans for the devastating fires with the group Amazon Watch saying farmers have “been setting forests ablaze to create pastures.”
  • Amazon Watch’s program director, Christian Poirier, said in a statement: “The unprecedented fires ravaging the Amazon are an international tragedy and a dangerous contribution to climate chaos.”
  • He continued: “This devastation is directly related to President Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental rhetoric, which erroneously frames forest protections and human rights as impediments to Brazil’s economic growth.”
  • Shifting the blame, “Bolsonaro said there was a very strong indication that some non-governmental groups could be setting blazes in retaliation for losing state funds under his administration.” However, Bolsonaro provided no proof to back his claims.
  • Bolsonaro also accused the media of attempting to use the fires “to undermine his government.”
  • Bolsonaro said: “Most of the media wants Brazil to end up like Venezuela.” The Brazilian president was “referring to political and economic turbulence in the neighboring South American country.”
  • According to Reuters, “about 73,000 fires have been detected by Brazil’s space research center INPE.”

Reference Links

  • AP: Amazon fires stir bitter dispute over who is to blame READ
  • BBC: Amazon fires: Bolsonaro says Brazil cannot fight them READ
  • The Guardian: Brazilian minister booed at climate event as outcry grows over Amazon fires READ
  • CBS: Humans are to blame for the burning Amazon, not wind and heat, environmental group says READ

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