President of Brazil: Leonardo DiCaprio to Blame for Amazon Fires

Lauren Cribbs, Reporter

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The President of BrazilJair Bolsonaro stated during a webcast on Thursday, November 28, 2019,  that nongovernmental organizations (NGO) are the cause for the Amazon Rainforest fires earlier this year and specifically blamed actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Bolsonaro said, “Take photo, film, send it to an NGO, the NGO spreads it out, does a campaign against Brazil, gets in touch with Leonardo DiCaprio and Leonardo DiCaprio donates $500,000 to this NGO.” 

Brazil’s President said he believes these organizations “set fire to the bush.”  However, he did so without providing any evidence to support his claims.  

One of the two largest organizations working with the Amazon Rainforest, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), responded to Bolsonaro’s claims. According to CNN, “We are alarmed by recent events that seek to undermine this progress. In the past few days, false accusations have been made to undermine environmental defenders and distract the general public from policies that directly lead to environmental disasters like those across the Amazon earlier this year,” said GWC.  

Bolsonaro said he believes the fires are a result of organizations and their donation supporters. 

“Leonardo DiCaprio, you are assisting with the burning of the Amazon,” said Bolsonaro, accusing DiCaprio directly. 

Leonardo DiCaprio quickly responded on Saturday, November 30, 2019. According to the New York Times, “At this time of crisis for the Amazon, I support the people of Brazil working to save their natural and cultural heritage,” said DiCaprio. 

DiCaprio donates to organizations protecting the rainforest and said he will continue donating as it is a cause he is passionate about. 

Amazon Rainforest covered in smoke. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and is being ravaged by the burn. (Ibama/CC BY 2.0)