Brazil's Bolsonaro hits back at Biden over rainforest

Brasília (AFP) –


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out Wednesday at US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden after he criticized the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in his first debate with Donald Trump.

"As the head of state who has brought Brazil-US relations closer than ever before, after decades of governments that were unfriendly towards the US, it is really difficult to understand such a disastrous and unnecessary declaration," the far-right leader wrote on Twitter.

"What a shame, Mr John Biden! What a shame!" he added, mistaking the former vice president's first name in the English version of his tweet.

Biden name-checked Brazil at Tuesday's debate in attacking Trump's record on the environment and foreign policy.

"The rainforests of Brazil are being torn down," he said.

"I would be gathering up and making sure we had the countries of the world coming up with $20 billion, and say, 'Here's $20 billion. Stop tearing down the forest. And if you don't, then you're going to have significant economic consequences.'"

Bolsonaro, an admirer of the US president who has been dubbed a "Tropical Trump," fired back that Brazil would not accept "coward threats towards our territorial and economic integrity."


"The greed of some countries towards the Amazon is a well-known fact. However, the explicit demonstration of this greed by someone who is running for the presidency of his country is a clear sign of contempt for cordial and fruitful coexistence."

Bolsonaro, who took office in January 2019, has presided over a surge of deforestation in the world's biggest rainforest.

Last year, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 85.3 percent, to a record area nearly the size of Lebanon.

The Brazilian leader however defended his government's "unprecedented action to protect the Amazon and safeguard our environment."