Brazil President, Jair Bolsonaro on Monday had rejected aid from G7 countries to fight wildfires in the Amazon, in a message by a top official telling French President Emmanuel Macron to take care of “his home and his colonies.”
“We appreciate the offer, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, told the G1 news web site.
Lorenzoni was referring to a $20 million pledge made at the G7 summit in France to fight the rain forest blaze.
“Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that’s a world heritage site. What does he intend to teach our country?” he said, referring to the fire in April that devastated the Notre-Dame cathedral.
Brazil’s Minister for Environment Ricardo Salles had earlier told reporters they’d welcome the G7 funding to fight the fires and prompted the deployment of the military.
But after a meeting with his ministers, the Brazilian government changed course.
“In a statement by Lorenzoni, he said Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron,”
Tensions have risen between France and Brazil after Macron tweeted that the fires burning in the Amazon basin amounted to a global crisis and should be discussed as a high priority at the G7 summit.
Bolsonaro reacted by blasting Macron for having a “colonialist mentality.”