Saturday April 30, 2022

President Jair Bolsonaro hits out at Leonardo DiCaprio after actor makes plea over Brazil’s elections

President Jair Bolsonaro hits out at Leonardo DiCaprio after actor makes plea over Brazil’s elections

Combo image of Jair Bolsonaro (right) and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Jair Bolsonaro has hit back at actor Leonardo DiCaprio after he called on young people in Brazil to vote in the country’s upcoming elections.

The Hollywood star and environmentalist shared a link with information on how to register to vote, writing on Twitter: “Brazil is home to the Amazon and other ecosystems critical to climate change.

“What happens there matters to us all and youth voting is key in driving change for a healthy planet.”

The Brazilian president, who has been widely criticised by environmental groups for cutting protections, clapped back in a sarcastic post: “Thanks for your support, Leo! It’s really important to have every Brazilian voting in the coming elections.

“Our people will decide if they want to keep our sovereignty on the Amazon or to be ruled by crooks who serve foreign special interest. Good job in The Revenant!”

He later shared a screenshot of an Instagram post by the actor, saying: “By the way, the picture you posted to talk about the wildfires in the Amazon in 2019 is from 2003.

“There are people who want to arrest Brazilian citizens who make this kind of mistake here in our country. But I’m against this tyrannical idea. So I forgive you. Hugs from Brazil!”

This is not the first time the two men have clashed.

In 2019, Bolsonaro made false claims the Oscar-winner’s environmental organisation Earth Alliance donated $5m to local environmental groups, which he alleged were responsible for starting the Amazon forest fires..

In a statement published on his Instagram account at the time, DiCaprio denied that he funded the groups involved.

Environmental groups argued Bolsonaro was responsible for the rise in forest fires in the Amazon due to his rollback on deforestation restrictions.

The large-scale deforestation of the Amazon - the world’s largest rainforest - has intensified under the leadership of the outspoken right-wing populist and hit record levels for the months of January and February this year.

A research paper by forestry engineer Ralph Trancoso, of the University of Queensland, last year found in the decade prior to Bolsonaro’s election in 2019, the annual deforestation rate of the Amazon was 2,507 square miles.

Now 4,281 square miles are being cleared every year, the report stated, citing data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, which has been monitoring Amazon deforestation since 1971.

Trancoso put the stark increase down to illegal loggers feeling emboldened to act by the new president’s indifference to the climate crisis and conservation.

The Independent

 

 

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