Brazil’s president must be condemned, but economic pressure is much more important

Editorial: The country’s farmers know that, if they want to sell their products to the rest of the world, they cannot afford to be seen as the destroyers of the rainforest

Friday 23 August 2019 19:50
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Jair Bolsonaro has suggested he could pull the South American nation out of the Paris Agreement
Jair Bolsonaro has suggested he could pull the South American nation out of the Paris Agreement

Jair Bolsonaro deserves all the condemnation heaped upon him, by his own people and by other citizens of the world. He is not merely an authoritarian, but a possible dictator in the making. And his comments on the fires raging in the Amazon forest are contemptible.

At first, he suggested that foreign green activists were encouraging wildfires in order to put the blame on him. Then he responded to Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who put the fires on the agenda of the G7 summit this weekend, by accusing him of interfering in Brazil’s affairs with “a misplaced colonialist mindset”.

This is rich, coming from the leader of a country that exists as a result of colonialism, and which continues to exploit native Amazonian peoples. However, condemnation of Mr Bolsonaro is not enough. To an extent it simply plays into his hands, reinforcing his transparent nationalist tactic of claiming that foreigners are conspiring against him.

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