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Tue Feb 12, 2019, 07:59 PM

Brazil minister blasted for calling murdered Amazon defender 'irrelevant'

Source: Reuters

WORLD NEWS FEBRUARY 12, 2019 / 1:00 PM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO

Brazil minister blasted for calling murdered Amazon defender 'irrelevant'

Ana Mano
3 MIN READ

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian environmental groups on Tuesday blasted President Jair Bolsonaro’s environment minister after he dismissed the murdered Amazon rain forest defender Chico Mendes as “irrelevant.”

“I don’t know Chico Mendes,” Environment Minister Ricardo Salles told reporters on an interview show late Monday night, when asked about the famous Brazilian rubber tapper, union leader and environmentalist who was murdered in 1988.

As environment minister, Salles oversees the Instituto Chico Mendes, which is named after the environmental advocate and manages Brazil’s protected conservation areas.

Bolsonaro downplayed environmental concerns during his 2018 far-right presidential campaign, threatening to pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and advocating more mining and economic development in the Amazon rainforest.

Salles told interviewers on TV show Roda Viva that he hears contradictory accounts about Mendes’ life, saying environmentalists praise his work while local farmers claim he “used the rubber tappers to advance his own interests.”

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Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-environment/brazil-minister-blasted-for-calling-murdered-amazon-defender-irrelevant-idUSKCN1Q1289

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