Bolsonaro plays Pinocchio at the United Nations

Gepetto’s wooden puppet Pinocchio, who magically turns into a real boy, is lucky that he isn’t Brazilian. Judging by the ongoing environmental catastrophe in the Amazon and Pantanal, wood more often than not gets turned into cinders. 

But Pinocchio might have a Brazilian rival — perhaps not for his amazing ability to transform from an inanimate being into a human, but for his strange penchant for lying. It is fair to say that if Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro were crafted by Gepetto, his nose would have grown to at least ten times its length during his opening address at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Brazilian fact-checking agencies Aos Fatos and Lupa counted at least ten lies told by Mr. Bolsonaro to his global audience. Besides saying that his government is targeted by a “brutal misinformation campaign” related to the increase of deforestation and fires, the leader also said that Brazil suffers from “Christophobia.” 

Mr. Bolsonaro tried to take full credit for Brazil’s Covid-19 emergency salary, a financial aid program which helped the president vastly increase his popularity. However, what he failed to mention is that his government was opposed to the idea from the beginning, proposing a monthly benefit worth just one-third of the amount eventually agreed upon. The decision to raise the value was made under pressure from Congress and House Speaker Rodrigo Maia. 

While Pinocchio hasn’t got a sequel (yet…?), Mr. Bolsonaro’s display of falsehoods is already in its second edition, with at least two more UNGA appearances to come in 2021 and 2022. Will his nose continue to grow? 

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