Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday said actor Leonardo DiCaprio had funded nonprofit groups that he claimed are partly responsible for widespread fires in the Amazon rainforest this year.
Bolsonaro did not offer proof for the claim when speaking to a small group of supporters in Brasilia. “DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire,” he said.
DiCaprio’s environmental organization Earth Alliance has pledged $5 million to help protect the Amazon after a surge in fires destroyed large parts of the rainforest in July and August.
The actor’s press representative did not immediately comment on Bolsonaro’s remarks.
The remarks are part of a wider government campaign against environmental nonprofit groups operating in Brazil. Some members of Bolsonaro’s administration argue that civil society groups and environmental laws hinder economic development in the region.
Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles are promoting development in some protected natural areas, even as intentional fires and deforestation in the Amazon have reached levels not seen in a decade.
SOURCE: The Associated Press