Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, like his mentor, President Trump, changes his tune according to the audience.
One day he is protecting the Amazon rainforest and the next day he is giving carte blanche to the loggers and slashers and burners.
One day he invites the help of other nations in controlling fires and the next day he condemns outside interference.
Fundamentally, he rejects the idea that the world is undergoing climate change due to human activity. That is how he won the title Captain Chainsaw during his election campaign and that is how he won the support of the murderous arsonist gangsters to whom he has given free rein.
The Amazon rainforest is too vital to the human race to be left in the hands of a numbskull demagogue.
In July 1968, I attended the 9th International Festival of Youth and Students in Sofia, Bulgaria.
I travelled alone by train. On reaching the main station in Sofia I was arrested.
After a few hours in the lock-up, I learned that I was under suspicion because I had a beard.
Eventually the police accepted that my credentials for attending the Festival were genuine.
My little problem was nothing compared to the hardships suffered by the delegates from Brazil.
In 1964, Brazil underwent yet another military coup, backed by the Catholic Church and USA, deposing an elected President who proposed some very mild reforms.
Between 1864 and 1985 there were mass arrests, torture and “disappearance”. Anybody perceived as left of centre was deemed a communist and worthy of arrest and removal from society.
Festival delegates from Brazil had to travel to Sofia by circuitous routes and had to make sure the Brazilian authorities had no knowledge of their participation in the Festival. They had stories of relatives and friends who had been incarcerated, tortured and exiled. Or simply disappeared. Workers had lost their jobs and students had been expelled from their colleges by order of the military.
Brazil’s democracy has always been fragile. Being in the United States’ backyard, it has always been subject to State Department and CIA interference.
Bolsonaro is another creature of America. He got his position because President Lula deSilva has been deposed and imprisoned on false charges.
For decades the rainforests of the global south have suffered destruction, but never before on the massive scale we see in Bolsonaro’s Brazil.
In the USA and Russia there is also massive destruction of forests.
Bolsonaro, Trump and Putin are alike in their gangster approach to government. And their ignorant, populist denial of climate change.
The USA, which so readily drops high-explosive bombs on Syria and Yemen, should send off fleets of aircraft to drop water on the Amazon fires.