The Minister of Agriculture Tereza Cristina criticized Monday (14th) Brazilian top model Gisele Bündchen for saying that Brazil has high rates of deforestation. Cristina said she would invite the model to be an unofficial ambassador for her country's environmental efforts.
"I'm sorry, Gisele, but you should be our ambassador and say that your country does preserve the Amazon, that your country is a world leader in preservation, and not come to Brazil and badmouth us without knowing what you are talking about," she said, during a radio interview.
The minister was questioned about the difference in public reach between Bündchen's criticism and her environmental protection propositions recently announced by state agriculture research agency Embrapa.
"When Gisele Bündchen says we are logging our forests, the whole world listens. I think we are having some communication problems here. This whole 'communication competition' is a hard thing," the radio host asked.
"It's true," the minister replied. "It's absurd what they are doing to Brazil's image. Unfortunately, they are bad Brazilians, that for whatever reason go abroad and take with them a false image of Brazil and our economy," she added.
Tereza Cristina said that if the country currently has 67% of protected forests, the merit lies with farmers and ranchers. "It's an important issue for them."
Bündchen's press representative was not available for comment.
The top model called out former president Michel Temer twice on social media before, because of his proposed policies to reduce or eliminate protected forest areas in the Amazon. In both times, Temer caved in and made public replies to Bündchen.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV