Earlier today, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazilan—an odious world leader who has been repeatedly hit with credible allegations of cryptofascism—informed CNN that he would be declining the $20 million in aid that the international community has offered to the South American country to help combat the devastating fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest.
Now, he seems to be contradicting himself and has cast doubt on his original claim that Brazil wouldn’t take the money. While he and his officials have tried to paint the offer of financial aid as a sort of neocolonial form of control by European nations, specifically France and its President Emmanuel Macron, it appears Brazil might be open to the help after all. Maybe. Perhaps. Maybe not. The lack of clarity is inexcusable.
“Did I say that? Did I? Did Jair Bolsonaro speak?” said Bolsonaro, displaying a staggering degree of aloofness in dealing with such an incredibly serious issue.
The Amazon is home to countless unique species and a major source of oxygen globally. Its ongoing destruction is a singular environmental tragedy that must be curbed by any means necessary but the Brazilian leader seems to see it as little more than an amusing distraction.
Bolsonaro, a conservative stooge beholden to the idea that business trumps all other considerations, seems all too happy to watch the fires rage so long as ranches and logging firms continue to profit. Here again, we see the dire material danger in electing far-right demagogues.
Not surprisingly, President Trump has failed to hold Brazil accountable for the disastrous blazes. He has voiced support for Bolsonaro and his authoritarian inclinations numerous times in the past and indeed took to Twitter today to reiterate his feelings about Bolsonaro.
Trump said that he has “gotten to know” the Brazilian president well and insisted that Bolsonaro is “working very hard on the Amazon fires” despite all the evidence to the contrary. Trump added that Bolsonaro is also doing a “great job for the people of Brazil,” even though his regime is dedicated almost solely to serving the ultra-wealthy oligarchs.
The president concluded by saying that Bolsonaro has the “full and complete support of the USA!” which presumably means that Trump is content to completely ignore the burning Amazon as Bolsonaro fails to take substantive action.
These two right-wing fanatics make a deadly pair and unless they are voted out of power and replaced with presidents willing to take the global climate threat seriously, mankind’s future looks exceedingly grim.
I have gotten to know President @jairbolsonaro well in our dealings with Brazil. He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil – Not easy. He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2019
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.