Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defended his government’s policies for the Amazon, insisting that there is a “campaign” against Brazil because of the fires in the region, and once again attacked NGOs.
“You know that NGOs, to a large extent, cannot beat me, but I can’t kill this cancer, which, to a large extent, is NGOs,” Bolsonaro said in the broadcast he made weekly on Facebook’s social network.
Since the Brazilian leader came to power in January 2019, fires and deforestation in the Amazon have skyrocketed to historic rates, which last year alarmed much of the international community and environmental groups.
Non-environmental organizations attributed this increase in the degradation of the largest vegetable lung on the planet to Bolsonaro’s “aggressive” policies, which encourage the expansion of all economic activities in the region.
“I said it clearly. We have to develop the Amazon,” insisted the Brazilian President, reiterating that the fires in that region this year are not as big as in 2019, due to greater government oversight and the fact that a dry season has not be as serious as in previous years.
He admitted that although fires in the Amazon have been better controlled this year, they have increased in the Pantanal, a swamp shared by Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
“The Pantanal has problems with fires”, but in this area “the temperature has exceeded 42 degrees and there is also spontaneous combustion”, he said, explaining the phenomenon, although he acknowledged that there are also fires that are set “in a criminal way”.
Bolsonaro also reiterated that Brazil “is the country that most preserves its forests” in the world, and again made it clear that while in office, no new indigenous reserves will be put aside.
“14% of the country’s territory is indigenous reserves. There are those who want to increase this to 20%, but Brazil does not support it”, because among other factors “it would put an end to agribusiness”, which is one of the pillars of the national economy, he said.