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New Government Calls Bundchen a 'Bad Brazilian'

Agriculture minister angered by environmental activism
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2019 3:13 AM CST
This Sept. 15, 2009 photo shows a deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil's northern state of Para.   (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)
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(Newser) – The agriculture minister in Brazil's new administration has declared that supermodel Gisele Bundchen, one of the country's most famous citizens, is a "bad Brazilian." Her offense: criticizing deforestation and calling for environmental protections. In an interview Monday, Tereza Cristina Dias accused Bundchen of tainting the country's international reputation with environmental activism, the Guardian reports. "You should be an ambassador and say that your country conserves, that your country is on the global vanguard of conservation, and not go around criticizing Brazil without knowing the facts," Dias said.

In a tweet after the radio interview, Dias said she would invite the supermodel to be an ambassador for Brazil's efforts to "produce agriculture for the world while preserving the environment." Recruiting Bundchen, who is married to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as a spokeswoman would be a major PR coup for the right-wing administration of Jair Bolsonaro, though she hasn't responded to Dias' comments and seems unlikely to accept the offer, reports Reuters. She spoke out against the previous administration's attempts to roll back rainforest protection and Bolsonaro has promised to go much further. (Deforestation is expected to surge under the new administration.)

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