Monday (August 3rd): A win for the Amazon or just another Bolsonaro bandaid?

Jair Bolsonaro

Name? Jair Bolsonaro

Westphalian identity? Brazilian

Age? 65

Why is he in the news? A year after the Amazon fires (and, fyi, it is still burning) President Bolsonaro has finally caved to pressure by European governments, foreign investors and Brazilian companies to stop deforestation in the Amazon. Why do we care? Given that the Amazon is nicknamed the “lungs of the world,” we kinda care about its health and well-being. Especially given how difficult it is to breath with all the tear gas and masks in the air. lately…

Why should you care? Because the Amazon rainforest is the “lungs of the world?” If that’s not enough for you, there are many indigenous peoples living in the Amazon whose homes are being destroyed with deforestation. Still not enough? Well, this is one of the only (if not first) times that Bolsonaro has ceded to international pressure rather than pursued his own income, sorry we mean interests…

Who else cares? The EU. As we mentioned before, European governments are one of many groups advocating for the Amazon. They hold particularly powerful leverage over Bolsonaro though through the possibility of an EU-Brazil trade deal. Such a deal could only come about were Brazil, aka Bolsonaro, able to meet baseline standards on both labor and environmental policies. 

Any further comments? Another foreign policy goal of Bolsonaro’s that has failed due to his opening the Amazon to miners, farmers and loggers is his ambition to join the OECD. Previously, Bolsonaro has relied on his American counterpart to push for his admission to the economic organization. However, with the U.S. presidential election in November and Bolsonaro’s buddy trailing in the polls, it seems the Brazilian president has come to realize he will not always have big brother Donald to defend and trade with him.

Sarah McFadden

Team Member of Research & Analysis