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[flagged] Brazil's President Blames NGOs for Amazon Fires (latinamericareports.com)
93 points by egusa 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments

Bolsonaro's government is a criminal regime. One of his first goals was to destroy the agencies that regulate the environment and disable the reporting mechanisms (which were "fake news" according to him). He personally fired the president of INPE, a state research agency, for publicizing a report about Amazon deforestation.

It is the crisis of our time. Bolsonaro is shameless, grossly lying. People are too afraid to say otherwise, and there is a critical mass of people who are willing to be party to the lying that creates social pressure against speaking to truth. Obviously not just limited to Brazil.

Similar things happening in Mexico under Obrador. The current government defunded some agencies and programs that were set to protect and monitor the environment. For instance, they stopped Satelital monitoring of forest fires, increased incentives for deforestation, reduced technical personnel, etc...

Mexico seems to be inverting the popular phrase: "You can't improve what You can't measure". They defunded an agency in charge of measuring effectiveness of governmental programs, eliminated testing requirement for teachers, etc...

Maybe their job is to sabotage their economies.

> Bolsonaro's government is a criminal regime

I live in Brazil and I disagree. I think his government is messy, but the previous ones were pretty bad as well. They almosted bankrupted the country, which was why Bolsonaro managed to elect himself as president with the argument of "I'm not them". He is simply incompetent, which shows.


The EU [0], the USA [1], The Lima Group [2], and the IACHR [3] have all denounced the Venezuelan election as fraudulent among others. The Electoral Integrity Project at Harvard lists 46 countries total that have issued denunciations and gives a thorough explanation of electoral fraud in Venezuela [4]:

> "Chávez created a political regime based on a concentration of power that allowed him to co-opt the Supreme Tribunal and the National Electoral Council. An example of this was the 2004 recall referendum procedure that was manipulated by Chávez to assure his victory."

> "Maduro was elected in 2013, in a contentious election. After that, electoral malpractices increased, particularly after the Supreme Tribunal decided to dismantle the Venezuelan Congress."

> "in January 2018 the illegitimate national Constituency Assembly decided to convene an early presidential election. The single-party assembly was installed in a clear violation of the Venezuelan Constitution. In any case, according to the Venezuelan Constitution, elections must be called with at least six months’ notice."

>"The national constituency assembly decided to ban the participation of several opposition political parties [...]. In addition, several political leaders were banned, while others were prosecuted or are in exile. The right to participate in public affairs and to be elected was violated."

> "The National Electoral Council’s Directors were appointed by the Supreme Tribunal, and not by the Venezuelan Congress, as established in the Constitution. This facilitated its politicization, as was demonstrated during the 2016 recall referendum against Maduro, which was blocked by the Council."

> "The right to equal opportunities to vote and universal suffrage was violated due to several inconsistencies in the electoral register. This included issues for Venezuelans living abroad: only an estimated hundred thousand Venezuelans [of the 4-5 million exiles] were able to comply with the electoral register."

> "Freedom of opinion and expression has been violated, particularly, since the Constituent Assembly approved an “anti-hate law”, that established ill-defined crimes punished with prison up to twenty years. Criticizing the Government can be considered a hate crime."

> "Several critics stated that the Government used social programs to coerce voters, in violation of the Anti-Corruption Law. For instance, Henri Falcon (Maduro’s main opponent in the election) denounced that Maduro used the “fatherland card” –required to access medicine and food provided by the Government- to coerce voters."

> the 2018 election had a 40% turnout (half the turnout in the previous election but the EIP also notes: "abstention could not be deemed as the cause of Maduro’s “victory”. On the contrary, abstention is the consequence of fraudulent actions that allowed Maduro’s reelection".

It is also worth noting that the one legitimate source Maduro insists on evoking to proclaim the legitimacy of its election is the Carter Center which also issued a statement calling those claims misleading and claiming that "The Carter Center has not observed elections formally in Venezuela since 2004"[5].

As for Bolsonaro, his electorial upset and later actions was met with an Economist cover calling him "Latin America's latest menace" [6], An opinion piece by the Editorial Board calling him "Brazil's Sad Choice"[7], an extended segment by John Oliver [8], an extended segment by Hasan Minhaj specifically about the Amazon in May [9], an entire documentary about his rise to power distributed by Netflix [10]. The numerous articles in major media organizations about these recent fires are part of a long trend of robust (and rightful) scrutiny of Bolsonaro's beliefs from election to administration.

I'd like to emphasize this is not my apology of American diplomacy in Venezuela or of Bolsonaro's administration. I am troubled by Mr. Bolsonaro's medieval worldview and assaults on institutions. I also am worrisome about how much US seems to be flirting with military intervention in Venezuela.

But claiming that (a): the 2018 Venezuelan poll was a "legitimate election" and that (b): Brazil's government "gets no media coverage" is resolutely false and doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

[0]: https://www.dw.com/es/uni%C3%B3n-europea-rechaza-elecciones-... [1]: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/senate-... [2]: https://prodavinci.com/grupo-de-lima-solicita-suspension-de-... [3]: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2018/112.... [4]: https://www.electoralintegrityproject.com/international-blog... [5]: https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/venezuela-020419.html [6]: https://www.economist.com/printedition/covers/2018-09-20/ap-... [7]: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/opinion/brazil-election-j... [8]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsZ3p9gOkpY [9]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt8EcSyjPY8

Criminal? As opposed to which other governments?

Upvoted. Bolsonaro's government is a criminal regime in the same way that every Brazilian government has been criminal. You basically need to commit crimes to get elected in Brazil and commit more once you're elected to stay in power.

I think he is trying to cut government down to size.

Anyone downvoting this must not know how big the Brazilian government is and how invasive it is in the lives of Brazilian citizens.

Of course he blames the NGOs. They've been fairly vocal against his policies for opening up further territory for agribusiness, so now he's blaming them saying that they have set fires in order to discredit him. The end result is almost certainly going to be multiple attempts to ban as many of those organizations as possible on the grounds that they are some sort of eco-terrorists destroying Brazil's rainforest. It won't make much sense but making sense is not the goal. Getting those organizations out of his hair is the goal.

Watch what he does, not what he says.

I live in BC where it’s not uncommon for wildfires to consume a million hectares in one summer (as was the case in 2018 with a total of 1.3m hectares burned.)

...Typically we put out the fires first then assign the blame, seeing as it doesn’t really matter who’s fault it is once it’s started...

These fires are being set intentionally by agribusiness. They don't want to put them out.

- https://www.newsweek.com/pray-amazonia-brazil-jair-bolsonaro...

- https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/22/americas/amazon-fires-humans-...

“Typically we put out the fires first then assign the blame, seeing as it doesn’t really matter who’s fault it is once it’s started”

For a lot of people it’s more important to put blame than solving a problem.

Whoaaa. Scroll and look at China!!!

Thanks a lot.

It's very hard to understand what is happening from the media (Brazilian or international). This map explains:

- why it's so concerning even if the fires are overall smaller than the Amazon average for this time - because most of Acre and Rondônia are on fire, the average is down pushed by the largest, less populated states.

- what is up with the national and Acre's governments fighting on TV - most of the fire is there.

- How can the smoke reach São Paulo even though there's none of it here at the middle of the way in Brasilia - it literally took a turn at Bolivia.

The Bolivian and Peruvian people are probably not happy at all with the fires. I wonder why I don't see them complaining.

What is the huge red blot off the coast of NYC?

According to this NASA report, this is a natural occurrence on this time of the year:

> As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years.

Source: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/145464/fires-in-bra...

Interestingly, the URL used to have a different caption: https://web.archive.org/web/20190822024248/http://www.nasa.g...

> Although it is not unusual to see fires in Brazil at this time of year due to high temperatures and low humidity it seems this year the number of fires may be record setting. According to Brazil’s space research center INPE almost 73,000 fires have been recorded so far this year. INPE is seeing an 83% increase over the same period in 2018.

> 73,000 fires have been recorded so far this year. INPE is seeing an 83% increase over the same period in 2018.

Number of fires doesn't seem like a good measure. A simple change in how you distinguish between two fires in close proximity can dramatically change the numbers. Higher resolution measurements can allow you to distinguish between two fires that might have looked like one in years prior.

A much better measure would be to look at the quantity of surface area on fire.

Exactly, INPE institute’s direction is having a political fight with the Brazilian government, which accuses INPE of manipulating the numbers. I think that’s why NASA removed that data.

It is sad how Propaganda (repeated here in multiples comments) blames Bolsonaro, instead of finding out how the fires started and spread.

Well, could do your part by sourcing your allegation, instead of spreading FUD.

It seems like believing it requires that groups dedicated to preserving the Amazon's rain forests are burning it, and ignores Bolsonaro's long and well-documented track record on the issue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jair_Bolsonaro#Environmental_p...

I don't see any long and well documented recored there, just a few declarations and an affirmation that Brazil "preserves more [rainforest] than anyone."

Blaming is bad for both Bolsonaro and the ones spreading the Propaganda.

One thing is clear: no one spreading the news will care in a week how it started and what can be done for preventing this happen again.

I see this meme pop up on social media all the time now about how the Amazon rainforest is burning and to spread the “awareness”.

But really, what are you supposed to do? Merely being aware of some tragedy occurring far away doesn’t do anything. The people who perpetuated it don’t give a damn. Are we supposed to go put out the fires? Are we supposed to go kill the people who did this?

If there’s nothing I can do, then I’m better off not knowing. I have more relevant things to care about. The only thing this awareness campaign tells me is that Brazilians have done a terrible job of protecting their rainforest, and they should be judged accordingly in the future.

Our awareness alone might reduce the harm being done. If this were front and center on all cablenews and connected to alarming news like the Greenland glacier melting faster than anticipated it might reduce the pace at which Bolsonaro and the forces aligned with him light these fires.

> Merely being aware of some tragedy occurring far away doesn’t do anything.

The first step on the long road of change is acknowledging that a problem exists.

Just because you can't imagine how you can effect change, doesn't mean it isn't possible. Problems of this scale require a sufficiently scaled solution. Economic sanctions and treaties would provide incentives for change. Hit Brazil's government and business leaders where it hurts: their wallets and their power on the world stage.

Just because change is possible, doesn’t mean my awareness has any part to play in it.

Very few problems are solved by simply ignoring them.

General awareness of a problem is needed to mobilize political action. If the solution to the problem is political, awareness of the issue might inspire direct action, or at least voting for policy that effects change.

That might be a good statement for a motivational book but it isn’t true. A massive amount of problems have been solved throughout my life without me even being aware of them. The key is that the people aware of those problems were exactly in the right position to do something effective about them.

This. I would go even further and say that, if anything, bringing attention to an issue in this day and age makes it highly politicized and increases the likelihood that those with an agenda on any side of the issue will try to manipulate perception, thereby making it harder to make an honest assessment of the issue.

A month ago I would have been more likely to find a more cut and dry factual assessment of these fires than I could today. The attention economy coupled with pandering to the lowest common denominator and the ROI of manipulating perception is paralyzing our ability to solve any problem.

> Hit Brazil's government and business leaders where it hurts: their wallets

This also hurts ordinary citizens in Brazil trying to make a living.

> Brazilians have done a terrible job of protecting their rainforest

While the Amazon is in Brazilian territory, it is one of the largest carbon sinks in the world and therefore has a global positive externality. Therefore this is not a domestic issue.

Perhaps by spreading awareness we can shift the Overton window on how these cross-border climate issues should be addressed. E.g. perhaps Brazil should be paid from a global fund to not cut down the rain forest.

> perhaps Brazil should be paid from a global fund to not cut down the rain forest

It used to be. Bolsonaro called it "bribery", and said Merkel should mind her own business (Germany was the main benefactor).


The fire is not purposeless. The land will be reused for livestock, to have more cows and food for them as well. A big chunk of it will be exported to countries that buy these things. Chances are that it includes your country as well. So maybe rethinking your / your network diet is a big incentive to prevent further fires.

Despite that, your excerpt on "(...) they should be judged accordingly in the future." is almost a religious statement. Or maybe you are assuming that all Brazilians voted for the fires, so next time you see one you have a judgement to state? No matter the angle I look, this is a very unfortunate statement. Or more precisely "judgement" is a very unwise word choice I daresay.

But if he doesn't eat the steak someone else will! </s>

The fires are in Bolivia, Paraguai and in the state of Amazonas and Rondonia in Brazil. Here is a picture of the emissions: https://twitter.com/m_parrington/status/1163834182860247040

No it's not. It's mostly in the state of Roraima

That seems to show it burning in the ocean? That seems to include all the exhaust and not be a picture of the fires themselves.

Ah OP mentions that, I read the comment wrong or it was edited.

I'm still baffled that I didn't hear about this until about 48 hours ago....

I wonder who decided to start spreading the news and this narrative...

Current situation map from INPE:


The http://queimadas.dgi.inpe.br site also has links to a lot of raw data on wildfires in Brazil.

where's Brazil's (or environmentalists worldwide) Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?

The same president who recommended pooping every other day [1] in order to protect the environment.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49304358

It was a joke. He does this kind of jokes on a daily basis during his morning interview with journalists.

I'm aware of that yes...

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