Brazil President accuses Leonardo of giving money 'to torch' the Amazon

Updated: Dec 01, 2019, 07:43 IST | Agencies | Rio de Janeiro

The actor said in a statement that his group had not funded any of the two non-profits named by the investigators so far. "While worthy of support, we did not fund the organisations," the statement read

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio

Rio De Janeiro: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has blamed Hollywood's Oscar-winning superstar Leonardo DiCaprio for the devastating forest fires in the Amazon. DiCaprio has been accused of funding non-profit groups, which Bolsonaro feels were responsible for fires in the Amazon rainforest.

The President, however, did not back his claim with any evidence. "DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn't he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire," he said, while speaking to supporters in Brasilia. Bolsonaro made a similar claim in a Facebook live broadcast.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

"Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you're collaborating with the burning of the Amazon," Bolsonaro accused, claiming that the actor is part of an international campaign against Brazil. DiCaprio's environmental organisation Earth Alliance has pledged $5 million to help protect the Amazon after a surge in fires destroyed large parts of the rainforest. The actor said in a statement that his group had not funded any of the two non-profits named by the investigators so far. "While worthy of support, we did not fund the organisations," the statement read.

Been there, done that

This is not the first time Brazil's president has suggested, without evidence, that non-profit groups are setting fires in the Amazon, or questioned warnings about climate change. In August, in the midst of an international outcry over the Amazon fires, Bolsonaro blamed the "information war going on in the world against Brazil" and fired the head of the governmental space research institute that monitors deforestation. Bolsonaro accused the institute's president, Ricardo Galvão, of manipulating deforestation data to make his administration look bad.

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