More than $20 million in aid was pledged to help Brazil combat the fires raging in the Amazon during this week’s G7 summit in France, but Brazil has refused to accept the offer.
According to The Guardian, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took the aid money as an unwanted attempt at foreign control orchestrated by French President Emmanuel Macron. “Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron,” said Onyx Lorenzoni, the chief of staff to Bolsonaro.
“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 further commented, referring to a fire that occurred last April at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. “We appreciate [the offer], but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe.”
According to The Guardian, the money was meant for nations ravaged by fires to acquire more firefighting planes.
“We respect your sovereignty. It’s your country,” Macron responded. “But the trees in the Amazon are ‘the lungs of the planet.’”