Cartoons Dec 05, 2019

Leo and the Amazon

When it comes to the Amazon rainforest fires in 2019, we could compile an extensive list of lies spouted by President Jair Bolsonaro. But no single mistruth grabbed the world’s attention as much as when the Brazilian leader accused actor Leonardo DiCaprio

of funding philanthropic organizations that he claimed are somehow responsible for the environmental crisis this year. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Bolsonaro had already blamed French Emmanuel Macron for what he saw as imperialist interference, but things didn&#8217;t go full Hollywood until December.“DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire,” he said to supporters in the capital Brasilia, without offering any proof.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In fact, the far-right government thinks about NGOs all the time, blaming them for Brazil&#8217;s environmental mess. This has followed the administration&#8217;s M.O.: whenever there&#8217;s a problem, there&#8217;s always someone else to blame.</span></p> <h2><b>Data? We don’t think so</b></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From August 2018 to July 2019, 9,762 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest were deforested, 29.5 percent more than in the previous year, according to the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe). That was the highest level since 2008. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the government keeps using data from Inpe, the institute’s former director, Ricardo Galvao, was fired early this year following disputes over deforestation numbers and insults traded between him and Jair Bolsonaro. Mr. Galvão was another that the president claimed was &#8220;in the service of some NGO.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We [at INPE] use scientific publications, not the crap from Twitter you use,” Mr. Galvão said. While Inpe helped with data, the U.S movie star’s environmental organization Earth Alliance has pledged USD 5 million to help protect the Amazon. </span></p> <h2><b>Background reading: </b></h2> <p><a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/08/22/amazon-deforestation-bolsonaro-fires/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bolsonaro lies as the Amazon dies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &#8211; the President&#8217;s bad-faith reactions to this year&#8217;s Amazon fire crisis </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil is the first nation to speak at the UN’s General Assembly. But this year marked the debut of Jair Bolsonaro. </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/09/24/jair-bolsonaro-un-general-assembly-speech-unga/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here&#8217;s how it went</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.

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