Brazil’s Bolsonaro Rebuffs Criticism on Pandemic, Amazon

By David Biller

There remains skepticism about [Bolsonaro's] commitment to his environmental pledges, said AS/COA's Brian Winter to the Associated Press.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro issued a strident defense of his administration at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, rebuffing criticism of its handling of the pandemic and touting recent data indicating less Amazon deforestation.

His presence at the General Assembly itself was something of a provocation, as he flouted the requirement for all attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Infected with the virus last year, he has said several times over the last week he remains unvaccinated and that getting a shot is a personal, medical decision…

While Bolsonaro’s fresh environmental pledges and preliminary progress mean Brazil can avoid consumer boycotts, sanctions and general ostracism, there remains skepticism about his commitment, said Brian Winter, vice president for policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

“Everyone is attuned to the possibility this is just a cynical attempt to buy time by the Bolsonaro administration, making promises for 2030 and beyond knowing they won’t be around to live with the consequences,” Winter said…

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