American actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio rebutted President Jair Bolsonaro's accusation that he had funded arson in Brazil.
In a statement, DiCaprio said that "while they certainly deserve support," he does not fund organizations "that are currently under attack."
"The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I'm proud to be part of the groups that protect them," he said.
The actor also praised "the people of Brazil who work to save their natural and cultural heritage".
In a live social network broadcast, Bolsonaro accused DiCaprio and the NGO WWF of funding criminal burning in Brazil.
"The NGO people, what did they do? What is easier? Burn the bush. Take a picture, film, the NGO campaigns against Brazil, gets in touch with Leonardo DiCaprio, and then Leonardo DiCaprio donates to us." $ 500,000 for this NGO. Part of it went to the people who were playing fire, right? Leonardo DiCaprio is collaborating there with the burning in the Amazon, that's not possible, "he said.
The president referred to a Pará Civil Police operation that arrested four volunteers of the Alter do Chão Fire Brigade and seized documents from the non-governmental organization Projeto Saúde e Alegria (PSA), which has generated protests from activists, indigenous entities and groups that work in the Amazon rainforest.
The Alter do Chão Brigade is a group of volunteers formed in 2018 by the Alter do Chão Aquifer Institute to help fight forest fires and that works in partnership with the Fire Department. The NGO PSA, founded by doctors, has been working in the forest for 30 years providing health care and services to the local population.
On Friday, Bolsonaro again accused the American actor of collaborating with criminal fires in Brazil: "Leonardo DiCaprio is a nice guy, isn't he? Giving money to set fire to the Amazon," he said.
WWF also said it did not receive donations from the actor.
(tagsToTranslate) environment (t) bbc (t) bbc news brazil (t) fire (t) Jair Bolsonaro (t) politics (t) amazonia (t) sheet