News & Opinion | August 27, 2019 11:10 am

Is Brazil Really Rejecting $22 Million in Amazon Aid?

The government basically told the rest of the world to mind its own business

Amazon Fires
Protesters are calling on Bolsonaro to do more to tackle the Amazon fires, but he's too busy fighting with the president of France
Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Fires are raging in the Amazon, and Brazil just said “thanks, but no thanks” to $22 million dollars in aid. According to the New York Times, the country’s government “angrily rejected” the offer pledged by some of the world’s leading nations to help combat the blaze at Monday’s G7 summit.

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil took to Twitter on Monday to express his anger, taunting French President Emmanuel Macron, who announced the aid package. Bolsonaro expressed his disdain at the perceived condescension of the offer, accusing the French president of “disguis[ing] his intentions behind the idea of an ‘alliance’ of the G7 countries to ‘save’ the Amazon, as if we were a colony or a no-man’s land” The tweets eventually boiled over into a feud between the two leaders, in which Bolsonaro insulted Macron’s wife and the French president called Bolsonaro “sad.”

Meanwhile, the Amazon is still burning, and Boslonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, has suggested the funds offered could be put to better use elsewhere. “Thanks, but perhaps these resources are more relevant to reforesting Europe,” Lorenzoni told G1 Globo. He also went on to take a shot of his own at Macron, adding, in reference to April’s Notre Dame fire, “Can Macron not even prevent a predictable fire in a church that is a World Heritage Site and wants to teach what for our country? He has a lot to look after at home and in the French colonies.”

Bolsonaro’s office confirmed to CNN that Brazil would be rejecting the offer on Tuesday, before the president himself appeared to deny the rejection. “Did I say that? Did I? Did Jair Bolsonaro speak?” he reportedly asked reporters outside the presidential residence. According to CNN, Bolsonaro added that he would only respond to the offer once Macron took back his insults.

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