Activists in NYC confront Bolsonaro about lies and his role in Amazon destruction
by Katie Nelson
September 25, 2019
© Tracie Williams / Greenpeace
On the eve of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s opening speech at the UN General Assembly, Greenpeace joined allies at Bryant Park in New York City to protest Trump and Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental agenda. Making a special appearance was a giant Bolsonaro puppet, chainsaw in hand.
Bolsonaro took the stage Tuesday at UN headquarters, placing blame on Indigenous People and small rural communities for the recent Amazon Fires — an avoidable crisis 9 months in the making — as well as to discuss subsequent dismantling of environmental protections in Brazil.
The distorted vision of the Amazon and Indigenous Peoples presented to the UN is part of a broad assault on the forest, the climate, and the truth. Over the last few weeks, the Brazilian Government has invested in a social media ad campaign and a PR/damage control tour deploying Brazilian Government officials.
Greenpeace released its ‘Amazon spoof video’ on a giant billboard truck that accompanied the march through Manhattan Monday night and Tuesday morning to coincide with Bolsonaro’s opening remarks at the UN General Assembly. The video is also available online.
“As we saw when the Natural History Museum event was cancelled in April, Bolsonaro and his agenda were not welcome in New York even before the Amazon fires. This week — on the heels of the Global Climate Strikes and in the midst of NYC Climate Week — swarms of activists made it clear to Bolsonaro that: ‘We aren’t fooled: you’ve been telegraphing a racist, anti-environmental agenda since you came to power. The data doesn’t lie,’” said Greenpeace USA Senior Forests Campaigner Diana Ruiz.
“In order to tackle climate change we need to see government and corporations shift towards prioritizing how we are using land. The science is clear and solutions need to be global. President Trump and Bolsonaro are part of the problem and the world needs leaders that are pushing for real solutions not more climate deniers.”
In conjunction with his UN speech, Bolsonaro deployed his Environmental Minister, Ricardo Salles, to tour major international cities, meet with media, investors, and key trading partners with Brazil to misrepresent the government’s record on the Amazon and the realities articulated by the country’s Indigenous leaders. In Washington, DC, as Salles arrived at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful anti-environmental lobbying group, activists greeted him with giant matchboxes referencing his responsibility in the Amazon fires.
Want to know the truth? Check out this video that Greenpeace International produced in response to the Salles-Bolsonaro tour.