Displaying items by tag: Jair Bolsonaro

Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:35

Brazil: who controls the ‘lungs of Earth’?

Those fighting to halt climate change call the Amazon rainforest the ‘lungs of Earth,’ and Brazil's current president has made his country a chain-smoker. A healthy Amazon is crucial for the fight against climate change. Human activity is pumping unsustainable amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, trapping enough heat to warm the planet and profoundly disrupt the climate. Trees, and the soils they grow in, store carbon that might otherwise reach the atmosphere, but cutting down or burning them releases more carbon into the air, making Amazon deforestation a problem for the entire planet. President Jair Bolsonaro has made matters much worse for the remaining 60% of Amazon tree cover. He deprived environmental protection agencies of funding and manpower, allowing farmers to cut and burn trees to open land for farms and cattle ranches. But now Joe Biden’s climate envoy is engaged in an international effort to raise $20 billion for Brazil's environmental protection agency, only to be given if deforestation is reduced.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 30 April 2020 21:13

Brazil: president's troubles

In 2018 Brazilians elected controversial Jair Bolsonaro as president to break up a corrupt political class. But he has antagonised political forces, upset environmentalists by severely damaging the Amazon, dismissed journalists as peddling fake news, and badly mishandled the coronavirus pandemic fearing what shutdowns might do to Brazil's economy. He dismissed the seriousness of the outbreak with self-importance and backed anti-quarantine protests. Then he fired his health minister, who had become more popular than himself. With irregular testing, Brazil reported 5,017 Coronavirus deaths, hundreds more than in China. On 26 April Brazil's supreme court opened an enquiry into Bolsonaro’s son being involved in illegal schemes and fake news rackets, and Brazil's justice minister accused Bolsonaro of meddling in law enforcement and quit. The next day Bolsonaro named a family friend, Alexandre Ramagem, to head the federal police. Today the allegations of improper interference by the outgoing justice minister are triggering impeachment and criminal investigation rumours. See

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 05 July 2019 10:19

Brazil: indigenous people under attack

The 1988 Brazilian constitution recognises indigenous peoples' right to pursue traditional ways of life and the permanent, exclusive possession of their ‘traditional lands’, demarcated as Indigenous Territories. When Jair Bolsonaro became president on 1 January, he vowed that not another centimetre of indigenous land would be protected under his leadership, and he would forcibly ‘integrate’ them, adding it was ‘a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians’. Indigenous peoples are fearful. His administration has launched an unprecedented attack on them, with the explicit aim of destroying their way of life and plundering their land. On 28 June 2,000+ people occupied the capital holding banners and arrows, marching to the ministry of health and the ministry of justice. Pray for the restoration of healthcare access to indigenous people; and that they will have more land rights and access to public services. See

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 18 October 2018 23:14

Brazil: a new style of president?

Amid rampant political corruption and a crime epidemic in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro is on the verge of becoming Brazil’s next president on 28 October. He has expressed enthusiasm for former military rulers (particularly Carlos Brilhante Ustra, a colonel who ran a military torture squad in the 1970s). His chosen deputy president, a former general, said that the military may be needed to clean up corruption. For many years former army captain Mr Bolsonaro was a marginal Congress figure, known for defending the military dictatorship and making offensive comments about women, blacks, gay men and lesbians. Earlier this year he was investigated for inciting hatred and discrimination. His critics accuse him of racism and misogyny, and tens of thousands of women organised protest marches with the slogan #EleNão - or #NotHim. But he came out of the first round of voting with a strong lead, thanks to last-minute backing from the evangelical lobby and powerful business and commerce groups.

Published in Worldwide