Bolsonaro, the EU-Mercosul Trade Agreement, and the Environment

Bolsonaro discussing the Amazon fires with ministers.
Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR.

Many São Paulo residents took fright on the afternoon of August 15 when, suddenly, the sky turned completely dark. “Day turns night,” headlines went. A cold front combined with smoke from burning forests in Brazil’s Amazon region had caused the unnerving effect.

The burning of the forest soon became international news and an international concern when images of the extensive fires reached television screens. Brazil’s president claimed that NGOs had started the fires because resources meant for environmental protection had been withdrawn. He was quickly condemned and ridiculed by media outlets as he had no proof to back up his claim. Federal prosecutors said that the main cause of the fires and the recent rise in deforestation is illegal stockbreeding.

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The Schizophrenic Presidency

Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The word that has become popular to describe Jair Bolsonaro’s government is “schizophrenic.” It stems from the many interests that Bolsonaro appealed to during his presidential campaign and which now form groupings within his government. Some of the salient ones are the military, economic liberals, agribusiness and the so-called anti-globalists. These groups’ interests showed themselves to be contradictory once the presidency was secured.

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