He is said to have done business with illegally felled wood: Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has resigned. President Bolsonaro said goodbye on a personal note.
Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has resigned in light of an investigation into his alleged involvement in the illegal timber trade. “I’ve experienced a lot of hostility in these two and a half years,” he said.
Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro thanked his outgoing Environment Minister. “Dear Ricardo Salles, you are part of the story. The connection between agriculture and the environment is an almost perfect marriage,” said the head of state. “It’s not easy to run this ministry, though. Sometimes what’s left is just a bunch of lawsuits.”
“Salles’ departure is late”
Like Bolsonaro, Salles also saw the Amazon region primarily as untapped economic potential and wanted to open up even more areas for agriculture, mining and energy generation. He wanted to ask the industrialized countries to pay for the protection of larger areas in the rainforest in the fight against climate change. Most recently, however, the environment minister was targeted by the investigators. He is said to be involved in the smuggling of illegally felled wood. Salles denied the allegations.
“Salles’ departure is late, but it is necessary,” said a statement from the environmental organization Greenpeace. “However, the government’s strategy on the environmental agenda is unlikely to change. Hand in hand with the legislature, it will continue to seek to cut down on the protection of the environment and indigenous peoples.”