BRASILIA | An unwavering ally of Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stepped up to the plate on Wednesday against the “disastrous” statements by Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden, who threatened his country with economic sanctions because of deforestation in the Amazon.
“The sovereignty of Brazil is not negotiable,” he said on Twitter, in block letters, the day after the first televised US presidential debate.
“As a head of state who has tightened relations between Brazil and the United States like never before, after decades of governments hostile to the United States, it is really difficult to understand such a disastrous and unnecessary statement,” added the far-right leader.
“What a shame, Mr. John Biden! What a shame!” he added in his series of messages, mistaking the first name of the former US vice president.
In Tuesday night’s debate, Joe Biden promised if he won, he would bring together $ 20 billion with other countries to help Latin America’s largest country curb deforestation.
“Here is $ 20 billion. Stop deforestation. If you do not do this, there will be significant economic consequences, ”he said.
A real provocation for Jair Bolsonaro, who felt that Brazil would not accept “cowardly threats against our territorial and economic integrity”.
“The greed of some countries towards the Amazon is a well-known fact. However, the explicit demonstration of this greed by someone who is running for the presidency of his country is a clear sign of contempt for a cordial and fruitful coexistence, ”added the Brazilian president.
“Biden has no interest in offending Brazil, but since he wants to be an environmentally conscious president, he will find it difficult to maintain stable relations with this country,” said Oliver Stuenkel, international relations specialist at the Foundation. Getulio Vargas.
“But Biden might also have to get closer to Bolsonaro so as not to lose an important ally against China,” he continues.
A few hours after the publication of this series of tweets, in a pre-recorded speech for the United Nations Biodiversity Summit, Mr. Bolsonaro assured that his country was “committed to respecting the principles of sustainable development and to preserving (its ) natural heritage”.
“We cannot accept that false information disseminated in an irresponsible manner serves as a pretext for the imposition of unfair rules”, he insisted, accusing “certain NGOs” of being at the origin of “environmental crimes” to do bad publicity in Brazil.
Last week, during his speech to the UN General Assembly, he already caused a heated debate by claiming that the fires in the Amazon were started by indigenous people who used traditional techniques of itinerant burning.
A version refuted by environmentalists and many locals, including the emblematic cacique Raoni Metuktire.
Nicknamed the “Trump of the tropics,” climate-skeptic like his American counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro is under international pressure, including from investors worried about the advance of deforestation and the resurgence of fires in the Amazon.
The area of deforested areas in the largest rainforest on the planet increased by 85% year-on-year in 2019, the far-right president’s first year in office.
In the first eight months of 2020, the deforested area has only decreased by 5% compared to the same period last year, and forest fires continue to rage, in the Amazon and in the Pantanal, south of the largest rainforest in the world.
Due to deforestation, the French government recently renewed its opposition to the agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay) in its current form.
Brasilia criticized a “protectionist” approach, accusing Paris of “ignorance of the realities of Brazil”.