Tag: Brazil

Brazil and Mexico finally recognise Biden as US President
Americas

Brazil and Mexico finally recognise Biden as US President

Brazil and Mexico: After weeks of waiting for legal challenges to clear up against US presidential election results, Brazilian and Mexican presidents finally acknowledged Joe Biden’s as the US next president. On Tuesday afternoon, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro shared a messaged on Twitter, saying, “Greetings to President Joe Biden with my best wishes and the hope that the US continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. I will be ready to work with the new government.” 

Rubens Ricupero, Brazil’s former ambassador to the US expressed shock towards Bolsonaro’s delay. “It’s a lunatic reaction that is utterly lacking in any kind of diplomatic logic … Any diplomat with their head screwed on knows this is madness,” Ricupero said.

Even Brazilian vice-president, Hamilton Mourão, failed to reason the delay in Brazilian leader’s recognition of Biden’s win and when asked about the Bolsonaro’s intention behind the move, said: “I don’t know.”

Besides Bolsonaro, Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also extended equally cold greetings to Biden. In his two-page letter addressed to the US democrat leader, AMLO along with recognising Biden’s presidency, also wrapped in a subtle warning to the new state head to implement the policy of non-interference in foreign affairs. His letter read: “We have the certainty with you in the [US] presidency it will be possible to continue applying the basic principles of foreign policy established in our constitution; especially that of non-intervention.”

AMLO’s letter to Biden was a stark contrast to the one written to Donald Trump. One of its contrasting feature was its length as the Mexican leader send a seven-page message to Trump, after he himself came to power in 2018. AMLO justified delay in congratulating Biden by emphasising that it was Mexico’s policy of non-intervention in foreign affairs. He said, “With regard to the US election, we are going to wait until all the legal matters have been resolved. I can’t congratulate one candidate or the other. I want to wait until the electoral process is over.”

But this might not be the case as he seemed to be indirectly rooting for Trump as he equated, what Trump called election fraud, with the allegations of fraud he faced in two presidential elections Mexican leader contested, in 2006 and 2012, before winning the third one in 2018.

Slamming AMLO’s move, Gabriel Guerra Castellanos, a former Mexican diplomat, tweeted, “Having read AMLO’s congratulatory letter to Biden, I can only say it would have been better if he had not congratulated him. If someone from this side of the border doesn’t intervene, we will have four icy years in the US-Mexico relationship.”

Brazil and Mexico’s congratulatory acknowledgement was both delayed and rude, which could impact the US ties with Brazil and Mexico for the next four years.

Under Brazil’s Bolsonaro a surge in Amazon fire raises serious environmental concerns
Geopolitics

Under Brazil’s Bolsonaro a surge in Amazon fire raises serious environmental concerns

Amazon fire: Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon forest surged 50% in October, ceasing a streak where the area’s deforestation rate had dwindled for three straight months, as per the recent data released by the national space research institute INPE.

The report came shortly following Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro seemed to threaten the possibility of utilizing military power against the United States should it endeavor to force sanctions on the South American nation for its inability to curb the rising deforestation. 

INPE’s satellite-based deforestation warning system reveals that 836 square kilometers of Amazon forest trees were chopped down during October 2020. 

The clearing of the forests this year year-to-date brings it to 7,899 square kilometers, 6% less than where it remained a year ago when deforestation hit its peak level recorded since 2008. 

The October data likewise indicated a 3% rise in the degradation of forests and cutting down of trees which frequently lead to unmitigated deforestation. 66% of the region was impacted by fire last year. INPE assessed the amount of damage it caused, which was around 14,487 square kilometers, a land larger than the U.S. state of Connecticut.

Carlos Rittl, a Brazilian naturalist who serves at Germany’s Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, stated that the data were outrageous, disgraceful, and humiliating. A sharp warning regarding the damage done to the environment since Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019.

“This is a territory where a huge amount of land is covered with forest that is being lost basically in light of the fact that under Bolsonaro the individuals who are destroying it and feel no dread of being rebuffed,” Rittl added. 

“Bolsonaro’s extraordinary accomplishment with regards to the climate has been this unfortunate devastation of forests which has transformed Brazil into the greatest enemy of the environment and the globe,” he added. 

Environmental activists state that the destruction is tremendous and yet Brazil’s VP says it’s an improvement compared to last year. The expansion in the consumed zone isn’t surprising. The satellite pictures reveal widespread fires over the Brazilian Amazon and nearby regions like the Pantanal.

The fire has consumed thick tropical rainforests, secured regions, and Indigenous regions. Flames were so awful over the mid-year that President Bolsonaro sent in the military to attempt to suppress the flames. 

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro created a new controversy by warning the U.S. president-elect Joe Biden stating that Brazil would retaliate if Washington forces economic sanctions for the growing Amazon deforestation. 

Biden hinted there could be unknown financial consequences during his initial presidential debate. He likewise added that the world should help Brazil with $20 billion to battle Amazon deforestation. 

Bolsonaro is known for speaking controversial statements and provocative rhetoric. For instance, he’s accused actor Leonardo DiCaprio, other environmentalists, indigenous people of deforestation in the Amazon to divert global criticism for the Brazilian government’s work on reforming environmental law, energize mining, logging, and modern farming. 

Brazil restores COVID-19 data after outcry
Americas

Brazil restores COVID-19 data after outcry

Over the weekend, the Brazilian administration took down comprehensive statistics related to coronavirus in the country, leading to accusations of data manipulation.

After a Supreme Court directive, Brazil on Tuesday restored the COVID-19 statistics that it had taken down from its health ministry website over the weekend. On Friday, the site was taken down and it reappeared on Saturday without crucial numbers relating to those already infected and killed by the virus.

There was an immediate outcry against the government for hiding this data, which coupled with President Jair Bolsonaro’s blasé attitude to the pandemic seemed to indicate the government was trying to suppress the severity of the outbreak.

Last week, there was controversy around a statement made by a government contractor that the data needed to be audited as it was possible that states were reporting higher numbers in order to secure more funding.

On Sunday, the government released two separate figures of daily deaths, initially announcing it to be 1,382 which was then revised to 525, reportedly according to a new methodology. Though details of these calculations were not revealed, the government had said that it would help give a “more realistic snapshot” of the situation in the country.

Brazil has recorded the highest total numbers of cases in the world after the United States and leads the globe in daily deaths tally. On Tuesday evening, the website reported 739,503 total cases and 38,406 deaths so far. In the past 24 hours, the country recorded 32,091 new infections and 1,272 deaths. But despite expert advice to not do so, many important states like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have started partially reopening, leading to fears of a further surge in cases. In Rio, shopping centres and bars would have open if not for a court injunction denying permission to do so. The disappearance of the numbers, which would be critical in judging the impact of these moves, irked many lawmakers and health experts.

Already the President has been criticised for not taking the virus seriously and in fact trying to undermine some of the efforts taken by the state governors by asking them to ease lockdowns in order to revive the economy. He is known to have referred to the virus as a “measly flu” and has encouraged mass rallies of supporters in defiance of social distancing norms. Two health ministers have quit in as many months after allegations that the president was refusing to listen even to experts in his own government.

The latest move was heavily decried by the Supreme Court which said it was done to avoid facts and create a parallel narrative that would make monitoring of cases and decision-making difficult. This was a tool of totalitarian regimes, one judge said, adding that tricks like this wouldn’t “absolve the government from eventual genocide”. On Monday night, supreme court justice Alexandre de Moraes gave the administration 48 hours to “fully re-establish the daily dissemination of epidemiological data on the COVID-19 pandemic”.

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