Brazilian President mobilises the army to control Amazon rainforest fire

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to mobilise the army to help combat fires and deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. While, his government launched a diplomatic charm offensive to try to mend bridges overseas after the massive fire.

The fires in Brazil’s Amazon accounts for more than half of the world’s largest rainforest, has surged in number by 83 percent this year.

Bolsonaro initially accused non-governmental organisations of setting the forest on fire without providing any evidence. “Forest fires happen all over the world, so this is no reason to impose international sanctions. Brazil will continue to be as it is now a country that is friendly with everyone and is responsible with protection its forest,” Bolsonaro said in a televised speech on Friday.

The former army man has pledged to improve the lives of its 20 million inhabitants of the Amazon and therefore had insisted on the need for economic growth in the Amazon region. Bolsonaro has said several times that, “Brazil should open up the Amazon to business interests, allowing mining, agricultural and logging companies to exploit its natural resources.”

However, environmentalists have warned that his controversial plan for more infrastructure, agriculture and mining would speed up deforestation.

Most Brazilians oppose his policy on the environment and as he spoke to the nation, residents in large cities across Brazil banged on pots and pans in a traditional Latin American form of protest.

That criticism was echoed by European leaders, who on Friday threatened to tear up a trade deal with South America, reflecting growing international anger at Brazil as the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest intensified an unfolding environmental crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for G7 leaders to discuss the environmental crisis in Brazil at a summit this weekend in the French coastal resort of Biarritz. France and Ireland threatened to oppose an EU trade deal struck in June with the regional Mercosur bloc of countries including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, following Brazil’s response.

Hours ahead of the G7 meeting, Macron said on Twitter “our house is on fire”, calling for members of the summit to act. While, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the fires were “not only heartbreaking, they are an international crisis.

The G7 leaders who would sit to discuss the fires could also sign a charter to protect biodiversity.

Source : Various