Amazon desertification alert is 'same syrup as always', says Bolsonaro

President Jair Bolsonaro minimized this Friday (18) the deforestation data in the Amazon region, stating that these numbers refer to the part of the forest previously lost and that has already regenerated. Bolsonaro also said that desertification alerts in the Amazon are “the same syrup as ever”.

Bolsonaro’s speech comes a day after the revelation that the federal government withheld the release of deforestation data , so as not to increase criticism from Brazil during the COP 26.

Inpe (National Institute for Space Research) concluded Amazon deforestation data in 26 October and inserted the report into the federal government’s electronic information system on the same day, according to institute sources consulted by Sheet.

The document was only released this Thursday (13 ). The report with data from Prodes (Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite) shows a devastation of 13.1985 km2

between August 2006 and July , highest index since 1985. The number represents an increase of 22% over the previous period.

Without presenting any scientific evidence, Bolsonaro said that the deforestation data are the result of areas that were previously destroyed, but that have regenerated.

“If every year the press shows, the entire Amazon would already be deforested”, said the president, during its weekly social media broadcast. This was the president’s first speech after returning from a trip to the Middle East.

“Two, three years go by, the guy deforests again. It’s the same green area and enters as new deforestation. If it is, taking the area deforested year after year, gives an area larger than the Amazon, taking into account the last 18 years there,” he added.

Bolsonaro also came to ironize recent studies that show that the Amazon may be reaching an irreversible point in relation to deforestation, which could result in the region’s desertification. The president took to his broadcast a report from 1985, out of context, to say that previous warnings did not materialize. He said that it is the “same syrup as always”.

“Look at the article now: ‘Amazon is close to an irreversible point and could turn into desert.’ The same syrup as always. Matter in the majority sometimes sponsored by Brazilians, who are working against their country”, he added.

The president also repeated that he is “a laughingstock”, but again defended his argument that the Amazon does not catch fire, because it is a rainforest. He said that the fires only happen in the periphery and that everything would be resolved with his bill for land regularization – which did not go forward and environmentalists pointed out that it would encourage new advances in the green area.

The head of Executive revealed that he even talked to a foreigner at Lisbon airport, who had charged him for the high rate of destruction of Brazilian forests. He said that a “little dwarf” charged him for deforestation in the Amazon and heard an answer that he could not repeat on a live broadcast.

He reported that the episode took place while visiting a free-shop at the airport in Lisbon, but that he didn’t shop because everything was too expensive – not commenting on the sharp devaluation of the real.

Bolsonaro also said that “bad Brazilians” go abroad to criticize the country and that this affects Brazilian investments.

“While we work like a disgrace to take the good name of Brazil abroad, bad Brazilians go abroad to criticize Brazil. Talking lies about the Amazon, for example. There are some guys out there who seem to enjoy going out there and saying ‘they’re setting fire to the Amazon'”, he added.

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