Jair Bolsonaro

Leo Correa / AP

COMMENTARY

Here’s a dirty little secret about Amazon deforestation that liberals prefer you overlook: the slash-and-burn may be ugly under right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, but it was bad when leftists controlled the rainforest, too. Under former President Dilma Rousseff, the liberal darling who ruled Brazil from 2011 until her impeachment in 2016, Amazon deforestation actually increased.

In no way does that excuse Bolsonaro’s reckless efforts to accelerate the trend – which in 2019 have resulted in an alarming 85 percent rise in Amazon fires that have destroyed more than 7,000 square miles of rainforest. What it points out is that Brazil, left or right, is and largely has been a lousy steward of an emerald ecosystem known as the lungs of the earth.

Brazil says it will reject an offer of at least $22 million from the rich countries in the Group of Seven to help fight fires sweeping through the Amazon rainforest. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he doesn't want the money — unless it comes with an apology from French President Emmanuel Macron.

NASA via AP

The haunting pictures of smoke in Brazil this week have made the world aware of the emergency level of Amazon deforestation. Brazil experts here warn South Floridians this crisis is not as distant as it seems.

Updated 11:20 a.m. ET Saturday

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling on world leaders to place the massive fires destroying Brazil's Amazon rainforest at the top of their agenda as they gather in France's southwest for the Group of Seven summit.

Eraldo Peres / AP

One of the most heated topics in the U.S. this week is President Trump’s racially charged rhetoric. But we’re not the only country in the Americas where presidential remarks are prompting outrage. Thursday was a big reminder.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, known for his hard-line policies on law and order, began his trip to Japan for the G-20 summit on an embarrassing note after a crewman in an advance party was accused of carrying cocaine in his luggage.

Catharine Skipp / University of Miami Law School

When Sergio Moro gave a lecture at the University of Miami last year he got a loud, standing ovation — because what he was doing in Brazil struck a loud, resounding chord in South Florida.

Moro was the man who was draining the deep, fetid swamp of corruption in Brazil.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York has announced that it will no longer host an event honoring Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who is outspoken about his desire to roll back environmental protections.

A new president is elected. Within days of being sworn in, he pulls his country out of a U.N. migration pact. His path to power has been pockmarked by disparaging comments about women, including a congresswoman. His preferred choice for top posts are members of the armed forces.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Immigrant caravans – and family separation. Venezuela and Nicaragua rocked by refugee and human rights crises. Someone not named Castro becoming president of Cuba; Brazil and Mexico electing populists as presidents – one of them with a big reputation for sexism. But women surging big at the polls, too.

Eraldo Peres / AP via Miami Herald

This month Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro took a hard line against communist Cuba. The right-wing congressman said when he becomes President in January, he’ll take aim at a program that pays thousands of Cuban doctors to work in Brazil.

Agência Brasil Fotografias / FLICKR/ Creative Commons

Last year, Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro told a crowd of Brazilians gathered in Deerfield Beach, Fla. that he would “give police carte blanche to kill.” The first-time pronouncement was met with cheers and made headlines back in Brazil.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Earlier this month, thousands of Brazilian expats converged on downtown Miami to vote in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election.

It wasn’t hard to figure out who their favorite candidate was. Most erupted in cheers when a truck passed the polling station with an electronic billboard flashing the picture of right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro.

YouTube

In this election season, Florida politicians are making an unusually strong effort to bond with Latino voters. But those good intentions led one prominent Florida politico to do something he’d now like to take back.