Statement: Bolsonaro Delivers Racist and Untruthful Speech to U.N. General Assembly

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At the United Nations General Assembly this morning, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro delivered an abhorrent opening speech echoing the worst vitriol of his campaign. Bolsonaro openly lied and personally attacked Indigenous leaders working to defend the Amazon, saying the Brazilian Amazon "is not being devastated or consumed by fire" and declaring he would not increase the percentage of territory designated as Indigenous land. His fallacious statements defied statistics from his own government, monitoring groups, and scientific observers who have sounded the alarm about the scale of destruction in the Amazon this year.

Christian Poirier, Amazon Watch's Program Director, issued the following statement about Bolsonaro's speech:

"Bolsonaro's speech is outrageous, undemocratic, racist, and deeply violent against the Indigenous peoples of Brazil and the great Indigenous leader Raoni, internationally recognized for his contribution to the preservation of the Amazon. Today, the Amazon continues to burn and may soon reach an unrecoverable tipping point due to Bolsonaro's complicity with environmental crime. Shall we now stand by as violence explodes against Brazil's Indigenous peoples, while their territories are looted and destroyed? Bolsonaro must be held responsible for the destruction of the Amazon and the brutalizing of Indigenous peoples underway in Brazil today.

"Governments and companies around the world are emboldening Bolsonaro's toxic policies when they enter into trade agreements with his government or invest in agribusiness companies behind Amazon destruction. The fires raging in the Amazon have been set by political and economic actors. The only way they can be stopped is by applying pressure on the Brazilian government via money and markets – by rejecting trade deals like the EU Mercosur agreement, as Austria has done, and by forcing companies and Wall Street giants like BlackRock to stand up to his brutal regime.

"This morning, Indigenous leaders from Brazil, accompanied by U.S. environmental justice activists and other allies, delivered a letter from Brazil's National Indigenous Movement, accompanied by a petition to BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink signed by 260,000 people from around the world. These collective efforts demand that the firm stop investing in the worst actors in the Amazon. Bolsonaro's government and the financial giants profiting from deforestation are robbing the world of a healthy future and a stable climate."

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