Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cheered on Friday after American actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio urged the country’s young people to register to vote in the October elections, implying they should vote against the far-right president right.
The Hollywood star had posted a message on Twitter on Thursday saying that “Brazil is home to the Amazon and other ecosystems critical to climate change.”
“What happens out there affects us all and the vote of young people is essential to drive change for a healthy planet,” he said, adding a link with more information on how to s register to vote in the next poll.
Bolsonaro, who has been widely criticized by environmental groups, responded wryly on Friday.
“Thank you for your support, Leo! It’s really important that all Brazilians vote in the upcoming elections,” Bolsonaro tweeted in English.
“Our people will decide if they want to keep our sovereignty over the Amazon or be ruled by crooks who serve foreign special interests.”
DiCaprio has openly criticized the far-right leader since taking office in 2019, including for his handling of the fires in the Amazon rainforest.
The actor also joined the initiatives launched by various NGOs calling for any investment in Brazil to be based on firm government commitments to preserve the Amazon.
Bolsonaro has rejected those demands, which he says undermine Brazilian sovereignty.
Since the Liberal Party came to power, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by more than 75% compared to the previous decade, according to official figures.
His government is also accused of allowing rampant deforestation – including illegal burning by miners, farmers and timber traffickers – while environmental regulatory agencies have suffered budget cuts.
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