President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has urged the world not to interfere with the wildfires currently raging in the Amazon rainforest.

In a live broadcast on Thursday, the president told the nation that foreign nations were using aid to disguise attempts at weakening Brazil. “These countries that send money here, they don’t send it out of charity, they send it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty,” he declared.

Most surprisingly, Bolsonaro’s comments came just after the president insisted that Brazil could not fight the fires alone. “The Amazon is bigger than Europe, how will you fight criminal fires in such an area?” he stated, adding that Brazil does not have the resources to fight the more than thousands of fires tearing through parts of the world’s largest rainforest.

Bolsonaro has called for greater development in the Amazon region. His administration has slashed the rainforest’s protections, causing a spike in deforestation, and as a result, drought and a 35% increase in regional fires.

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Bolsonaro has claimed, without evidence, that the wildfires were ignited by NGOs attempting to damage his image.

While the cause of the burn is not yet known with certainty, federal prosecutors in the country have been investigating an advertisement in a local newspaper calling on farmers to set fires on a proposed “Fire Day” as part of an effort to “to show Bolsonaro their willingness to work.”


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