BRASILIA – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has branded claims that people go hungry in his country as a “big lie.”
Bolsonaro made the comments on Friday in an interview with international press at the presidential seat, Palacio de Planalto, in Brasilia.
“Plant in the asphalt a grain of corn and it grows. It is a rich country for any type of plantation,” he said.
“Saying that you go hungry in Brazil is a big lie, that you eat badly, is true. You do not see poor people with a skeletal physique as in other countries.”
The United Nations data showed that 26.5 percent of Brazil’s 211 million population, just over 54 million people, were living below the poverty line in 2017.
Bolsonaro added that “the distribution of wealth consisted in distributing subsidies” for the previous left-wing Brazilian government.
“What brings men and women out of misery is knowledge and in the last 30 years, education has never been so bad in Brazil,” he continued.
He gave Israel as an example, which manages to export agricultural products despite having a more arid and smaller area than that of Brazil.
“To say that you go hungry in Brazil is a populist discourse, it’s just that, what we have to do is facilitate the life of the entrepreneur, whoever wants to produce.
“And not make a speech focused on the mass. If that happens, we will end up like Venezuela,” he concluded.
Bolsonaro said that he hopes his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will help to “resolve the Venezuelan issue.”
“I have a deep respect for Putin, I had a quick meeting with him in Osaka (at the G-20 summit) and it made a very good impression on me, I think it was reciprocal,” he added.
“Brazil has open arms for economic agreements. We are not guided by ideology, as in the past.”
“I also hope that Russia will help us resolve the question of Venezuela,” he continued.
Venezuela is going through a serious economic, social and institutional crisis divided between supporters of the current incumbent Nicolas Maduro, supported by Russia, and defenders of opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognized as interim president by the United States, Brazil and other Western democracies.