Brazil’s Bolsonaro confirms attendance in UN General Assembly despite health problems

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confirmed on Monday his attendance at the upcoming United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA) despite his health problems.

The president will undergo a surgery on Sept. 8, and is expected to have a 10-day recovery period. This may mean that he would have to miss the important address-making opening session of the GA, which opens on Sept. 17.

“I will be at the UN even if I have to go on a wheelchair or a stretcher. I want to talk about the Amazon. Show the world, with a lot of knowledge and patriotism, talk about this area ignored by the governments which preceded mine,” Bolsonaro said.

The GA is expected to discuss the recent Amazon Rainforest fires, as indicated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The region has registered a sharp increase in forest fires this year, most of which are widely believed to have been started by farmers who intended to expand farmland.

The large fires have plunged the current Brazilian administration into crisis amid rising domestic and international criticism of the government’s responses.

In an interview, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned the possibility of an international status for the Amazon region, which the Brazilian government considered as a threat to its country’s sovereignty and which has led to Brazil’s refusal of any financial aid offered by the Group of 7 (G7) or announced by Macron.

“I will not accept alms from any country in the world under the pretext of preserving the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said.