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Bolsonaro urges respect for Amazon policy at UN


Donald Trump speaks during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Sept.

-See video: Brazil's Bolsonaro Says the Amazon Is Not Being Destroyed by Fire

- Brazilian president addresses the UN General Assembly
- Bolsonaro says that Brazil was on brink of socialism

By Aline Oyamada and Simone Preissler Iglesias / Bloomberg

Petroleumworld 09 25 2019

President Jair Bolsonaro asserted Brazil's sovereignty over the Amazon and attacked the legacy of socialism in Latin America in a defiant speech to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.

In a 30-minute address that cemented the rupture of the country's tradition of multilateralism, Bolsonaro said he was rebuilding the nation after it had slid to the “brink” of socialism under previous administrations. He trumpeted Brazil's environmental policies and said that those who questioned his record were concerned with exploiting the country's mineral wealth.

“The Amazon is not being devastated or destroyed by fire, as the lying media claims,” he said.

Amid the huge international outcry over the fires raging through the Amazon rainforest, Bolsonaro offered no concessions in a speech largely aimed at his domestic base. He insisted once more on his government's right to develop the region and questioned the motives of his critics, both among Brazil's indigenous communities and European lawmakers.

In a pointed rebuttal to France and Germany -- both publicly concerned over the rise in deforestation -- Bolsonaro used his speech to point out that the two European countries use over 50% of their land for agriculture, whereas Brazil uses just 8%. In addition, he said that “radical environmentalism” represented a step back and called on the UN to defeat this ideology.

“It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is a world heritage and it's a mistake, as scientists have testified to say, that our rainforests are the lungs of the world,” he said. “They questioned that which is most sacred to us: our sovereignty!”

Marina Silva, a former Brazilian environment minister and presidential candidate, said that the speech had caused deep embarrassment and indignation. “The address failed to acknowledge the serious problems our country is facing and showed our complete alienation with this persecutory delusion toward socialism as if we were still in the Cold War,” she said.

Opening Up

While the theme of socialism dominated the speech, Bolsonaro also mentioned his government's efforts to open up the Brazilian economy which he said was reacting following almost two decades of fiscal irresponsibility and generalized corruption.

“There can be no political freedom without economic freedom,” he said. “Free markets, concessions and privatizations are now present in Brazil.”

In particular Bolsonaro mentioned the trade deal reached between the European Union and Mercosur, the South American customs union, a deal which is now under threat due to the Europeans' opposition to Bolsonaro's environmental policies. He added he is looking forward to visit Asian and Arab countries in the search for more partnerships.

Closing Comments

His closing remarks focused once again on the pernicious influence of leftwing thought which he blamed for his stabbing on the campaign trail last September.

“Ideology invaded the human soul in order to expel God and the dignity that he clothed us with,” he said.

Finally, he called on the United Nations to act as group of individual countries and not in the service of some “abstract global interest”.

After the speech Bolsonaro told reporters waiting at his hotel that he will meet U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening.


Story by Aline Oyamada and Simone Preissler Iglesias from Bloomberg. / 09 24 2019


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