UNITED NATIONS (AP) – In the midst of an election campaign, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has set an example for his country when it comes to protecting the environment and sustainable development, painting a rosy picture of Brazil’s economy. 77th United Nations General Assembly.
“Brazil is part of the solution and a reference to the world,” Bolsonaro declared at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. “Two-thirds of the Brazilian territory is still covered with native vegetation, as was the case when Brazil was discovered in 1500.”
“In the Brazilian Amazon,” he said, “more than 80% of forests have not been touched, contrary to the mainstream national and international press.”
However, his government has been heavily criticized for promoting deforestation for development. According to the National Space Institute, deforestation is the most intense in 15 years due to more wildfires in August than in any other month in the past five years.
The President reaffirmed that Brazil has an “economy in full recovery with high levels of employment and low inflation rates. The effects of the (coronavirus) pandemic have increased poverty around the world, (but) began to decline in Brazil,” he said. Poverty has been reduced by “more than 20 per cent” under his government.
This is not a vision shared by all. Recent studies indicate that food insecurity is on the rise, now above the world average, according to the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university and think tank.
Bolsonaro faces a close contest with former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ahead of the October 2 presidential election. In his only allusion to the consultation, he said that in Brazil “we ended systemic corruption” and that when the Left was in power before coming to government from 2003 to 2015, “the level of indebtedness of the national oil company Petrobras mismanaged, For political appointments, favors and diversion of funds reached $170,000 million.
Referring to Lula, who was found guilty of money laundering and corruption, he said, “The person responsible for all this was convicted.” He did not clarify whether the sentence was quashed by the Supreme Court.
Diane Jeanter from Rio de Janeiro contributed.