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Weekend Reads Opinion: Bolsonaro likes himself as a deniers of reality

11:05  23 september  2020
11:05  23 september  2020 Source:   dw.com

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At the opening of the UN General Assembly, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro declares his country the victim of a campaign of lies about the Amazon. But the pictures of the fires speak for themselves, comments Thomas Milz.

Provided by Deutsche Welle © UNTV / AP Photo / picture-alliance Provided by Deutsche Welle

In the UN it is tradition that Brazil is the first country to contribute to the debates of the General Assembly. What was new this year was that the contribution was recorded via video, which was due to the corona pandemic. With over 137,000 corona deaths, Brazil's record is currently the second deadliest, after the USA. Bolsonaro fell on the defensive right at the beginning of his speech. Because how do you explain the domestic disaster to the world, which knows its terrible comparison of the corona virus with a "minor flu"?

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Don't blame him. Rather, he became a victim of the Brazilian judiciary, which tied his hands in the fight against the pandemic and ceded powers to the governors. Whoever takes a closer look knows that Bolsonaro actually refused to fight the pandemic he portrayed as hysteria. Worse still - he relied on the proven ineffective anti-malarial drug chloroquine and placed the Ministry of Health under a general who had previously organized the logistics of the Rio Olympics. But part of his mentality as a populist is the negation of any guilt or responsibility.

Just like the exaggeration of one's own role whenever something is going well. The corona aid paid to over 65 million Brazilians would have protected the economy from an even greater disaster, says Bolsonaro. That's true. But he does not tell the international audience that it was Congress that urged the government to provide aid. Instead, he is simply lying when he says that the total amount of aid is $ 1,000 per person. Just half of that was paid out.

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Burning forests and gigantic environmental destruction

Bolsonaro's denial of reality becomes even more obvious in view of the ongoing environmental destruction of the Amazon. The clouds of smoke can even be felt in large cities in the far south of Brazil, and they can also be seen in their gigantic spread on NASA's satellite images. And that Bolsonaro's government is preventing the environmental authorities from protecting the forests is proven by the drastic cuts in environmental budgets. Even members of his own government openly admit the paralysis of the control authorities.

Thomas Milz lebt als Korrespondent in Brasilien © Private Thomas Milz lives as a correspondent in Brazil

Nevertheless, even before the virtual UN General Assembly, Bolsonaro repeated his mantra that nobody protects nature more than Brazil. Except that the malevolent world community refuses to acknowledge this. "As for the Amazon and the Pantanal, we are the victim of one of the most brutal campaigns of lies," said Bolsonaro. International institutions would participate in dark machinations to harm his government and Brazil, and even "unpatriotic war profiteers" from Brazil would participate.

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In addition to organizations such as Greenpeace and the WWF and activists such as Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, this is also directed against the UN itself. Its COP 25 climate conference was supposed to be held in Brazil in autumn 2019. But Bolsonaro stood across. For this he repeatedly accused the UN of wanting to take away the Amazon region from Brazil with the help of the climate agreement.

victim of international powers?

But Bolsonaro is of course not interested in Brazil's image in the world. In times of global information networks and thanks to the vigilant reporting of the media, the world today knows very well what is going on in Brazil's forests. Bolsonaro has nothing to gain there. Rather, his discourse is aimed at his own population, to whom he has to answer in view of the corona deaths, the corona-related economic crisis and the destruction of the environment. And which he - unlike the well-informed world public - can still impute his distortion of the facts.

Accusing obscure powers from abroad goes down well with many Brazilians. The threats from the ranks of the European Union not to ratify the trade agreement with the Mercosul bloc come in handy for him to show himself as a victim of international schemers.

Two problems are currently moving the world: the corona pandemic and climate change. Both crises have global dimensions and can only be resolved on a global level. A clever statesman would therefore use global institutions like the UN to find solutions. First and foremost in the interests of their own country. But Bolsonaro does not think of solutions. As a professional populist, he gratefully accepts the crises in order to blame them on imaginary enemies. You shouldn't expect anything constructive from him.

Author: Thomas Milz

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