Brazil bans legal land-clearing fires in wake of Amazon wildfires

Elias Hubbard
August 30, 2019

The meeting on September 6 will be for leaders to "to come up with our own unified strategy for preserving the environment, and also for exploration sustainable in our region", Bolsonaro said after meeting with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia.

Bolsonaro on Wednesday accused France and Germany of "buying" Brazil's sovereignty after the G7 offered $20 million in Amazon fire aid.

Leaders of South American countries will meet next week to discuss the crisis at a big summit. He later said he would reconsider accepting the money if Macron would "withdraw his words". In a statement sent to Reuters, VF Corp said, "As a result of this detailed diligence, we are no longer able to satisfactorily assure ourselves that our de minimis volume of leather purchased from Brazilian suppliers upholds this commitment".

"The protection of the forest is our duty", the president said.

The Brazilian leader has since removed the comment from social media to avoid misinterpretation, his spokesman Otavio Rego Barros told reporters Wednesday.

"I think Bolsonaro is causing enormous harm to the Brazilian people, a little out of evil and a little out of ignorance", former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the BBC from jail where he is serving nearly nine years for corruption.

In an opinion piece published in the conservative Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, Mourao criticized an "international campaign" against Brazil and said the country "does not lie and nor does its president, its government and its institutions". "Coordination with the United States president was essential for defending Brazil's sovereignty during the G7 summit". They fear potential boycotts of their products.

According to the Center for the Brazilian Tanning Industry, the main leather trade group in Brazil, the country exported $1.44 billion of bovine leather in 2018.

Fires are also ravaging neighboring Bolivia where President Evo Morales and his rival in upcoming elections have suspended campaigning to deal with the blazes.

Bolsonaro and Macron have locked horns several times over the issue, while Trump tweeted his "full and complete support" for the Brazilian president.

Brazil has registered 2,696 fires in the Amazon in the five days since Saturday, when the military began on-the-ground firefighting efforts, according to data from Brazil's space research agency INPE.

It urged "foreign authorities" to learn more about the country's environmental policies, the situation in the Amazon and measures taken to combat the fires "before proposing new initiatives".

In the hard-hit northwestern state of Rondonia, thick smoke has choked the capital Porto Velho as fires blacken swaths of the rainforest.

The defense ministry says the fires are under control and that the number of blazes is falling, helped by recent rain in the affected areas.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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