The first world leader to speak from the podium at UN headquarters in New York, Bolsonaro spent much of his speech describing economic and political achievements, saying poverty, inflation and unemployment in the country are decreasing.
These indices have seen slight declines in the last two or three months, although the overall economic picture is somewhat more severe, with one in 10 Brazilians currently unemployed and inflation in August at 8.73% compared to the same month last year.
The president, who has long positioned himself as business-friendly, also argued that his government’s privatization and deregulation has fostered a better economic environment in the country, and called for that model of government to continue — a less subtle appeal. to re-select
“The person responsible for this was unanimously convicted in three cases,” he continued, an unmistakable reference to da Silva, whose conviction was overturned by Brazil’s Supreme Court in March 2021, paving the way for a political challenge to the former leader. Bolsonaro this year.
The social conservative themes of Bolsonaro’s election campaign also came to the fore in the UN speech. “Other fundamental values for Brazilian society, reflected in the human rights agenda, are the defense of the family, the right to life from conception, self-defense and the rejection of gender ideology,” he said.
As in previous years, Brazil’s president also dismissed environmental concerns about the management of Brazil’s vast Amazon rainforest, telling the General Assembly that two-thirds of Brazil’s entire territory is still covered in native vegetation, “that is, exactly. When Brazil was discovered, in 1500,” he said
“In the Brazilian Amazon, an area comparable to Western Europe, more than 80% of the forest remains untouched, contrary to what the major national and international media announce,” added Bolsonaro.
However, under Bolsonaro’s presidency, deforestation in the Amazon has reached extremes, and the president himself has explicitly called for more development and economic activity that takes advantage of the country’s natural resources and vast protected forests.
CNN previously reported that between 2019 — when Bolsonaro took office — and 2021, Brazil lost more than 33,800 square kilometers (13,000 square miles) in the Amazon, according to government agency the Brazilian Space Research Institute (INPE). That’s an area larger than Belgium, which loses an average of 11,000 square kilometers (4,250 square miles) per year.
He sees his rival Silva – or Lula, as he is widely known – as more likely to protect the environment, recently telling CNN Brasil that under his government “there will be no deforestation in the Amazon”. During his presidency, from 2002 to 2010, deforestation fell by 65% in Brazil, according to INPE.
Brazil’s domestic politics are not new to many in New York, with Bolsonaro’s supporters and critics airing their views on the streets around the UN headquarters.