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Brazil Rejects G7 Money to Fight Amazon Fires, Trolls Macron

Government says Europe should use funds to 'reforest'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2019 6:21 AM CDT
Updated Aug 27, 2019 6:57 AM CDT
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Charred trees stand after a forest fire in the Vila Nova Samuel region, along the road to the Jacunda National Forest near the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, part of Brazil's Amazon, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. .   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
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(Newser) – With thousands of wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest, the Brazilian government has decided it is more interested in trolling Emmanuel Macron than in accepting assistance. After the G7 offered $22 million to help Brazil fight the fires, a spokesman for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rejected the offer and mocked the French leader, the BBC reports. "Thanks, but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe," Onyx Lorenzoni, Bolsonaro's chief of staff, told Globo News. "Macron cannot even avoid a predictable fire in a church that is part of the world's heritage, and he wants to give us lessons for our country?" Lorenzoni said, referring to the fire that devastated Notre Dame cathedral in Paris earlier this year.

Lorenzoni, echoing Bolsonaro, accused Macron of colonialism, saying: "Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron." The relatively modest offer of assistance—the equivalent of less than an hour's revenue at Amazon.com—was initially welcomed by Ricardo Salles, Brazil's environment minister, but it was turned down after Bolsonaro met with ministers, the Guardian reports. Macron, speaking after the summit, said the world respects Brazil's sovereignty, but the Amazon is a "subject for the whole planet," the AP reports. He said his message for Bolsonaro is: "We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance. But we cannot allow you to destroy everything." (Earlier Monday, Macron accused Bolsonaro of insulting his wife.)

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