Brazil's Bolsonaro tells world not to meddle as Amazon rainforest burns

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is telling other nations not to meddle in its growing crisis in the Amazon rainforest as wildfires continue to spread across the region, shortly after he said Brazil didn’t “have the resources” on its own to extinguish the blaze.

“These countries that send money here, they don’t send it out of charity,” the right-wing president said in a live broadcast on Thursday, Reuters reports.

“They send it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty,” he added.


However, shortly before those comments on Thursday, Bolsonaro said his country could not fight the growing blaze alone.

“The Amazon is bigger than Europe, how will you fight criminal fires in such an area?” Bolsonaro reportedly asked local media. “We do not have the resources for that.”

Bolsonaro has faced international criticism for the blaze, which critics say has been exacerbated by his administration's rollback of environmental protections for the rainforest.

Ahead of the Group of Seven summit in France, French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronSunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden to Putin: Tough sanctions, straight talk Zelensky to meet with France, Germany on Russia tensions MORE called the situation in Brazil an "international crisis" and vowed to make it a priority point of discussion.

As wildfires continue to engulf the Amazon rainforest at a record pace, Bolsonaro, who has called for the development of the Amazon region in his country, has come under immense scrutiny, with advocates saying fires have increased in areas of the world's largest rainforest where deforestation has also risen.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro tried to shift the blame to nongovernmental organizations for the wildfires, accusing NGOs of starting the fires in an effort to hurt his image after his administration cut their funding.

However, according to Reuters, Bolsonaro has recently acknowledged that local farmers could also be the culprit behind the blaze in the world’s largest rainforest.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation in Brazil. Federal prosecutors in the country are reportedly looking into an advertisement that was placed in a local newspaper that encouraged farmers to set parts of the rainforest on fire for an effort called “Fire Day.” The demonstration was reportedly promoted as a way “to show Bolsonaro their willingness to work.”