Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has become the last target of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, in his wave of accusations, without evidence, about who is behind the fires in the Amazon.
«This Leonardo DiCaprio is a great guy, isn’t he? Give money to burn down the Amazon,» Bolsonaro said on Friday.
DiCaprio, who promised to donate $5 million to the Amazon, denied the accusation.
The representative did not provide evidence and did not give further details, although the statement follows another comment he made on Thursday during a live broadcast.
In it he accused the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) of being behind the fires in the Amazon, something the environmental organization denied.
«What did the NGO do? What’s the easiest thing? Burn the forest. Take pictures, make a video. (WWF) campaigns against Brazil, contacts Leonardo DiCaprio, donates $500,000,» Bolsonaro said.
«Part of that was for people who were causing fires. Leonardo DiCaprio, you’re contributing to the fires in the Amazon,» he said.
For several weeks in August, parts of the Amazon burned at a pace not seen in years, sparking international concern about the condition of the «planet lungs».
The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and a vital carbon store slowing the pace of global warming.
Bolsonaro had already in the past, without providing evidence, to NGOs critical of their policies to provoke the fires that ravage the jungle this year to raise funds.
His latest comments come after the arrest of four volunteer firefighters from the northern state of Pará, who were accused of starting the fires to generate donations for NGOs.
Human rights groups, NGOs and critics alleged that the police operation against them is politically motivated and an attempt to harass environmental groups.
What did DiCarpio say?
The actor and environmental activist issued a statement saying, «While it’s certainly worth supporting them, we haven’t funded organizations that are currently under attack.»
«The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to be part of the groups that protect them.»
He praised «the people of Brazil who work to save their natural and cultural heritage».
WWF said it had not received donations from the actor, whose Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation focuses on environmental projects.