'Far-right president said Brazil is open to partnerships exploiting biodiversity and mining in a conversation with journalists'
'The Amazon belongs to Brazil and European countries can mind their own business because they have already destroyed their own environment, said Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who also described his own government’s satellite data showing an alarming rise in deforestation as “lies”.
“You have to understand that the Amazon is Brazil’s, not yours,” Bolsonaro said on Friday. “If all this devastation you accuse us of doing was done in the past the Amazon would have stopped existing, it would be a big desert.”
But Brazil is opening to partnerships exploiting biodiversity and mining – even in Amazon areas, said Bolsonaro, during a wide-ranging, one-hour conversation with foreign journalists.
He also said he was “fulfilling a mission from God”, defended his decision to name his own son as Brazil’s ambassador to the US and described Brexit as “the will of the people” – although he admitted he had never heard of the UK’s likely next prime minister, Boris Johnson.
It was the first time Bolsonaro had invited foreign journalists to his weekly media breakfast and he entered the room with a breezy “good morning” – in English.
But he then accused the international press of misrepresenting his administration which has been plagued by internal power struggles and plummeting approval ratings and said foreign reporters missed “corrupt governments” of the past.
“Most of the foreign press has a completely distorted image of who I am and what I intend to do here with our policies and for the future of our Brazil,” he said. “I perfectly understand the level of the poisoning that is done to Brazil by the foreign press.”'
Read more: Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies'