In a tirade against nonprofit environmental groups, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has blamed “cool guy” Leonardo DiCaprio for the devastating Amazon fires.
Earlier this year, Bolsonaro claimed that nonprofit groups are deliberately lighting fires in the rainforest to “draw attention against” his government after having their funding cut.
Addressing a group of supporters on Friday, he claimed that the actor has contributed funds to groups that have lit fires in the region.
“DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he?” he said. “Giving money to set the Amazon on fire.” He did not provide any further evidence of this claim or his earlier one.
In August of this year, Earth Alliance, a nonprofit group backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, contributed $5 million to help combat this year’s alarming surge in wildfires.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research had reported 72,000 fires in the nation as of August, an alarming increase on 40,000 from last year.
They attribute the increased number of fires to an “unprecedented surge in deforestation by cattle operations and feed crops.”
Earlier this week, police raided the headquarters of two nonprofit groups in the Amazonian state of Para, and arrested four volunteer firefighters.
The firefighters are accused of “igniting fires to obtain funding from sympathetic donors”, a claim which they have denied.
Leonard DiCaprio has not responded to the Brazilian leader’s claims.