Story at a glance

  • President-elect Joe Biden has said Brazil could face economic consequences if it fails to curb accelerating deforestation in the Amazon.
  • “How do we deal with all of that? Diplomacy is not enough. When there is no more saliva, then there must be gunpowder,” Bolsonaro said Tuesday.
  • Bolsonaro is among several foreign leaders, including Russia, China and Mexico, who have yet to congratulate Biden for winning the presidential election.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday took a swipe at President-elect Joe Biden, who has previously said Brazil could face economic consequences if it fails to curb deforestation in the region. 

“I recently heard a presidential candidate from a country say that if I don't put out the fire in the Amazon he is going to raise trade barriers against Brazil,” Bolsonaro said during a speech Tuesday, according to The Guardian


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“How do we deal with that? Diplomacy is not enough. When there is no more saliva then there must be gunpowder. But they have to know that we have it [the Amazon],” he said. “That’s what the world is like, nobody has what we have.”

The warning from Bolsonaro, who has often been referred to as Brazil’s version of President Trump and is an admirer of the president, was in reference to comments Biden made during a presidential debate in September. 

“The rainforests of Brazil are being torn down,” Biden 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 gonna have significant economic consequences,’” Biden said.  

Bolsonaro’s right-wing government has been widely criticized for its environmental record and handling of destructive fires in the rainforest. 

Amazon deforestation has sharply increased since Bolsonaro took office in 2019. Deforestation hit a 10-year high between August 2018 and July 2019, with almost 10,000 square kilometers lost. 

In 2019, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported 126,089 Amazon fires, an increase of close to 40 percent from the previous year

Bolsonaro is among several foreign leaders, including those from Russia, China and Mexico, who have yet to congratulate Biden for winning the presidential election.


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Published on Nov 12, 2020