In an impromptu speech to a group of mining prospectors in Brasilia, President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that the international attention on the Amazon Forest has more to do with its mining resources than environmental preservation and the protection of indigenous people.
At the entrance to the Planalto Palace, where he climbed into a chair to speak, he said that he was not interested in the "fucking the tree" and criticized Chief Raoni Metuktire, who he said "has been drinking champagne" in European countries.
"The interest in the Amazon isn't in the Indian or the fucking tree, it's in the mining. Raoni speaks for his village, speaks as a citizen, [but] doesn't speak for all the Indians, no. He's another one who lives drinking champagne in other countries out there," he said.
In defense of the prospectors, Bolsonaro said foreign companies are to blame for Amazon deforestation and suggested that they pay bribes to cover up environmental crimes.
"The world often criticizes the prospector. The cowardice that they do with the environment, as companies from various countries of the world do here in Brazil, no one touches the subject because the bribe, it seems, runs wild," he said.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon