American superstar Leonardo DiCaprio has denied the allegations from Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro that he funded a group linked to fires in the Amazon. The actor took to his Instagram account and said that “While worthy of support, we did not fund the organizations targeted.”
Jair Bolsonaro had accused Leonardo of collaborating with the fires in the Amazon by donating $500,000 to a group that had started the fires in the ecologically sensitive forest. He further added that this the actor has done to attract donations. Bolsonaro told supporters, “DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire.”
DiCaprio’s environmental organization has pledged $5 million to help protect the Amazon after fires destroyed large parts of the rainforest in July and August.
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There are few times in human history where voices are amplified at such pivotal moments and in such transformational ways – but @GretaThunberg has become a leader of our time. History will judge us for what we do today to help guarantee that future generations can enjoy the same livable planet that we have so clearly taken for granted. I hope that Greta’s message is a wake-up call to world leaders everywhere that the time for inaction is over. It is because of Greta, and young activists everywhere that I am optimistic about what the future holds. It was an honor to spend time with Greta. She and I have made a commitment to support one another, in hopes of securing a brighter future for our planet. #FridaysforFuture #ClimateStrike @fridaysforfuture
The President had repeated the accusation on Friday once again. Without citing any evidence he had added that DiCaprio has earmarked a part of the $500,000 donation for the people who were setting fires
Bolsonaro’s accusations were denied by DiCaprio who added that “the future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake, and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them.” He also praised all those who worked to save the natural habitat.
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At this time of crisis for the Amazon, I support the people of Brazil working to save their natural and cultural heritage. They are an amazing, moving and humbling example of the commitment and passion needed to save the environment. The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them. While worthy of support, we did not fund the organizations targeted. I remain committed to supporting the Brazilian indigenous communities, local governments, scientists, educators and general public who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon for the future of all Brazilians.
Officials with the Alter do Chao brigade have called Bolsonaro’s allegations unfounded. Regional police have claimed that some members linked to the group have actually started fires in a bid to raise international funding. They have also arrested four of the group’s members but released them two days later.
Both Amnesty International and Greenpeace have accused the government of loosening environmental enforcement in the Amazon and, through government rhetoric, encouraging illegal deforestation.