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Bolsonaro attacks the press for “spreading panic” over the pandemic and blames the indigenous people for the fires in the Amazon


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks remotely before the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2020.AP

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, inaugurated the 75th General Assembly of the UN on Tuesday, an honor that his country has had since 1955. He did so with harsh attacks on the press, which he accused of “spreading panic” among the population. during the health crisis; and against the 27 state governors and the Federal Supreme Court for managing the pandemic. On the fires in the Amazon and the Pantanal, a drama that has Brazil in the international spotlight, Bolsonaro has alluded to a “brutal disinformation campaign” with the support of “international institutions under dark interests.” And he has affirmed that the fires are due to indigenous and local peoples seeking their survival.

In his recorded speech for the opening of the meeting, which started this Tuesday and had to adapt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bolsonaro has sought to defend himself from criticism for his management of the coronavirus pandemic, which in Brazil has already been claimed the lives of 137,000 people. “As has happened in other parts of the world, part of the press has politicized the virus, spreading panic among the population under the slogan ‘stay home and the economy we’ll see,” he said.

The far-right leader has defended his government, stating that it has tried to manage both the pandemic and unemployment. He also highlighted that the Federal Government “has implemented various programs”, such as the emergency basic income program – promoted, of course, by the Brazilian Congress – and “has allocated 100 billion dollars” to combat covid- 19. Throughout the pandemic, Bolsonaro has boycotted the confinement measures decreed by the City Councils and Governments of the States, for which the Supreme Court had to decide that these local measures should be respected. The president has alluded to that judicial decision in his speech to get away once again from criticism and hold governors accountable for managing the crisis.

He also highlighted that Brazil has contributed “to feed the world” during the pandemic, respecting “the best environmental legislation on the planet.” He stressed that the country “has never exported so much” and that his Government has invested in technology to stop environmental crimes. And once again he has attacked his critics, this time for the devastating fires in the Pantanal and the Amazon.

“We are victims of one of the most brutal disinformation campaigns about the Amazon, which is very rich, which explains the support of international institutions for this campaign based on dark interests.” “Our jungle is humid and does not allow the spread of fires. The caboclos and indigenous people use fire in search of their survival ”.

Regarding the Pantanal, he has said that it suffers from the same problems as California and that the fires are an “inevitable consequence of the high local temperature” and has not mentioned the farmers who seek to expand their lands through illegal fires. “We are leaders in the conservation of tropical forests, we have the cleanest and most diversified energy matrix in the world. We are responsible for only 3% of carbon emissions “, stressed the president, who also affirmed that the Brazilian people are” conservative and Christian “, and that his government has fought” christophobia “.

Nationalist speech

At the opening of last year, when Brazil was already facing criticism for its management of the devastating fires in the Amazon. Bolsonaro also adopted an aggressive and nationalist tone, defending that the jungle is not “the heritage of humanity” but of the countries it encompasses. The president then highlighted Brazil’s right to exploit natural reserves, including indigenous lands, and attacked NGOs, the media and countries such as France, which showed their criticism of the Brazilian government. “Any initiative to protect the Amazon must include total respect for the sovereignty of Brazil,” the far-right leader underlined then.


elpais.com