Brazil rejected a R300 million donation from the G7 to fight the Amazon fires, calling the gesture 'colonialist and imperialist'
- Brazil rejected the G7 countries' R300 million in aid to help fight the Amazon forest fires.
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's chief of staff Onyx Lorenzoni said on Monday: "Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron."
- In a Monday tweet, Bolsonaro also said the G7's offer of help makes Brazil seem "as if we were a colony or no man's land."
- Bolsonaro and French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country hosted this year's G7 summit, are locked in a war of words over the correct response to the fires.
- Brazil's defense minister on Monday claimed the fires are "under control." Some fires have been extinguished, but many remain.
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Brazil's administration has rejected a $20 million (R300 million) emergency fund from the G7 to fight fires in the Amazon, calling it "colonialist and imperialist."
The move comes amid a fracas between Emmanuel Macron, president of G7 host France, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over how to address the fires, which climaxed on Monday with Bolsonaro mocking Macron's wife.
Earlier that day Onyx Lorenzoni, Bolsonaro's chief of staff, also said Brazil is rejecting the G7's money, and accused France of reviving colonialist tendencies.
"Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron," Lorenzoni told Brazilian news site G1.
Bolsonaro echoed the sentiment in a tweet on Monday, saying the G7's intervention to "save" the Amazon makes Brazil seem "as if we were a colony or no man's land."
The fires were predominantly caused by Brazilian farmers during deforestation, a move that Bolsonaro has supported in the past.
Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Brazil's defense minister, claimed on Monday that the country had the fires "under control," without giving further details.
"It has been exaggerated a little that the situation was out of control - it wasn't," he said, according to France 24. "The situation isn't simple but it is under control."
As of Tuesday, some of the fires have been extinguished, but many remain. The Brazilian military have been dispatched to deal with the fires.
The G7's $20 million donation was intended to finance fire-fighting aircraft, France 24 reported, citing a source close to the French presidency.
Macron has lambasted Bolsonaro for his indifference over the fires.
"The Amazon forest is a subject for the whole planet. We can help you reforest. We can find the means for your economic development that respects the natural balance," he said on Monday. "But we cannot allow you to destroy everything."
The leaders' feud started last Thursday after Macron tweeted a photo of the Amazon fires on Thursday with the caption: "Our house is burning. Literally."
Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest - the lungs which produces 20% of our planetâ€™s oxygen - is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days! #ActForTheAmazon pic.twitter.com/dogOJj9big— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 22, 2019
On Sunday, Brazilian education minister Abraham Weintraub, called Macron an "opportunistic cretin seeking the support of the French farm lobby."
The fires are so severe that the Amazon is losing the equivalent of three football fields per minute, according to data from Brazilian satellites.
The UK has independently pledged $12 million in aid, and Canada $11 million. Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance group has donated $5 million.
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