Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, blasted Pope Francis for his plea to protect the Amazon from climate change.
The ultra-conservative leader, who is Catholic himself, criticized the left-leaning Latin American pope as the former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, an opponent of Bolsonaro, met and received a blessing from Francis.
“Pope Francis said yesterday the Amazon is his, the world’s, everyone’s. Well, the pope may be Argentinian, but God is Brazilian,” Bolsonaro said Thursday, appealing to his nation’s sovereignty.
Similarly, over the weekend, Bolsonaro made a surprise appearance at a “historic” gathering of evangelical Christians, where he declared that he is a believer in Jesus and that Brazil belongs to God.
On Wednesday, Francis refused to approve the ordination of married men to address the Catholic Church’s priest shortage in the world’s largest rainforest, but instead, he wrote a document called “Beloved Amazon” calling on the world to end the “injustice and crime” of global warming committed against the Amazonian people and its environment after record fires devasted the region last year.
The “Trump of the Tropics,” who recently proposed opening up parts of Amazon land to mining and farming as part of what he calls “sustainable development,” also took a shot at the left-wing group Greenpeace, calling them “rubbish.”
Bolsonaro has previously accused the pope of having a “leftist agenda” and trying to embarrass Brazil on the global stage.