Because of its controversial environmental policy, the right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is now being criticized in Brazil: The governors of the Amazon are afraid of international economic sanctions and a serious image damage due to the dispute over the devastating forest fires and the aid offer of the G7 countries.
Drone videos show massive levels of destruction
"If Brazil isolates itself internationally, it will face serious trade sanctions against our producers," Maranhão state governor Flávio Dino said Tuesday at a meeting of governors with Bolsonaro.
The head of state had previously demanded an apology from French President Emmanuel Macron before accepting the aid offered by the industrialized countries for the firefighting work. He accused Macron of calling him a liar and questioning the sovereignty of the Amazon.
"I think we should now take care of our problems and signal the world of environmental diplomacy because it is fundamental to agriculture, otherwise we will suffer serious damage to our image, which is already giving cause for concern," said the Governor of Pará, Hélder Barbalho.
Bolsonaro is actually considered a friend of the agricultural industry. However, because of its environmental policy, some European countries are now reluctant to ratify the EU-South American Single Market Mercosur free trade agreement, and Brazilian farmers are now worried about their beef and soybean export business.
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Clear words come from Germany: "Brazil has committed itself to the conclusion of the Mercosur agreement on sustainable forest management," said Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner (CDU) of the "world". "If the country does not comply, we will not stand by and watch." The free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur contains a sustainability chapter with binding regulations. "If these are not adhered to, there can be no agreed zoning relief," Klöckner said.
Accusation of NGOs inappropriate
Also because of its controversial statement on environmentalists Bolsonaro was contraindicated by the governors. The head of state had last claimed that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could have planted the forest fires to avenge the removal of public funds and discredit his government. "I'm not one of those who demonize non-governmental organizations," Governor Dino said. "I think that's a mistake, because there are very serious NGOs in the world and in Brazil."
Bolsonaro received support from US President Donald Trump. "I got to know President Jair Bolsonaro well," he wrote on Twitter.
I have gotten to know President @jairbolsonaro well in our dealings with Brazil. He is working hard on the Amazon fires and 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
"He works very hard for the fires in the Amazon and does a great job for the Brazilian people."