HOST INTRO: On Sept. 24th, the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was the eight Brazilian president to deliver the opening speech in the 74thUnited Nations General Assembly. Since 1949, traditionally, the representative of Brazil is responsible for opening the general debate of the Assembly. Throughout his speech, Bolsonaro discussed how Brazil plans to change the government that according to the president is corrupted by the former representatives. Other issues such as sovereignty, the Amazon and the indigenous tribes, were also discussed. Our reporter Victoria Meschiatti has the story.
TRACK 1: Many Brazilians and the international media waited for the opening speech of the United Nations General Assembly. In face of the issues facing the Amazon and Bolsonaro’s response to international aid, it was the time for the Brazilian president to show how Brazil is dealing with these problems. Jussara Soares is a reporter who works in Brasilia, the country’s capital covering Bolsonaro’s government and she was present in the Assembly.
JUSSARA: “O primeiro discurso do presidente Jair Bolsonaro na Assembleia Geral da ONU, ele estava cercado de muita expectativa, primeiro porque era o momento do presidente Bolsonaro se mostrar ali para comunidade internacional…” [interview continues in the background]
TRACK 2: She states that there were a lot of expectations due to the fact that it was the moment for Bolsonaro to show himself internationally, especially because he was coming from a polemic wave of conflicts with international leaders regarding the Amazon rainforest wildfires. For the Brazilian press, the president affirmed that he would use the speech to show what according to him are the real facts.
JUSSARA:“…da ONU pra dar uma resposta e mostrar o que segundo ele é a realidade dos fatos.”
TRACK 3: When president Jair Bolsonaro was elected in 2018 and took office in the beginning of 2019, his government was responsible for weakening protection of the rainforest while favoring farmers to contribute with the process of deforestation. In his speech, the president stated that the dry weather and winds during this particular time of the year favor spontaneous wildfires. Moreover, he added that criminal activities of wildfires are perpetrated by the local indigenous people as part of their culture and surviving methods. On the other hand, he attributed the impact of concern by many people regarding the Amazon a consequence of fake news of international media platforms.
JUSSARA: “O discurso do presidente Jair Bolsonaro chamou atenção tanto internamente quanto no exterior por ter sido considerado um discurso muito duro…”
TRACK 4: Jussara mentions that Bolsonaro’s speech called the attention of the Brazilian and international media because it was considered very harsh. The president criticized Germany and France, especially after Bolsonaro’s disagreement with the French president Emmanuel Macron and chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. Jussara continues by saying that there was an understanding within the government that the president could have adopted a more conciliating speech, which in fact did not happen.
JUSSARA: “…havia um entendimento ali dentro do governo que o presidente poderia adotar um discurso mais conciliador. Não foi o que aconteceu na prática.”
TRACK 5: According to Jussara, the president’s speech was important to project Bolsonaro’s image outside Brazil. As she states, even though the speech was received with so much criticism, personally, Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t consider his speech aggressive, according to him, it was necessary to reestablish the truth in his point of view. He showed the world how he is and how Brazil has been following his development since the beginning of his presidency.
TRACK 6: The president also showed his disagreement regarding other countries trying to help Brazil financially because according to him, these countries have colonial intentions and don’t respect the sovereignty of Brazil with the Amazon.
JUSSARA: “Pelo ao meu lado, da onde eu pude ver, da onde eu estava, a imprensa internacional…
TRACK 7: Jussara mentions that from her perspective, she could observe the international press, especially the French press due to the president’s statements throughout the speech and his tone. However, at the end of his speech, the President reinforced the idea that Brazil is open for visitors and he has adopted steps to facilitate the entrance of international people in Brazil, so they could see with their own eyes what Brazil looks like, an attempt to attack the fabrication of fake news that the president strongly believes affects the international view of Brazil. For Baruch College, this is Victoria Meschiatti.