Der Erzbischof der Amazonas-Metropole Manaus (Brasilien), Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, bezichtigt den brasilianischen Präsident Jair Bolsonaro, in der Umweltpolitik die Weltgemeinschaft beim Klimagipfel in Glasgow belogen zu haben.
"Bolsonaro sagt die Unwahrheit", sagte der 71 Jahre alte Geistliche dem "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger". Bolsonaros Behauptungen, 94 Prozent des Regenwalds seien noch vorhanden und die Rodung werde kontrolliert, stimmten nicht. Steiner, ist zurzeit Aktionsgast des katholischen Hilfswerks Adveniat für dessen Weihnachtsaktion. Er gab der Regierung seines Landes die Schuld an der "systematischen Zerstörung" des Lebensraums der indigenen Völker im Amazonasgebiet.
Regierung ist schuld am Handel mit Tropenholz
Für deren Rechte tritt Steiner, der vor seiner Berufung an die Spitze des Erzbistums Manaus 2019 viele Jahre Sekretär der brasilianischen Bischofskonferenz war, seit langem ein. Das größte Problem sieht der Erzbischof darin, "dass die Institutionen - staatliche und zivilgesellschaftliche - von der Regierung systematisch eingeschränkt, angegriffen oder gar zerstört werden, die der illegalen Rodung entgegentreten könnten. Die Regierung ist schuld am Handel mit illegalem Tropenholz, weil sie ihn nicht kontrolliert und sanktioniert."
Mit Bolsonaro kann es nicht weitergehen
The Archbishop of the Amazon metropolis Manaus (Brazil), Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, accuses Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of lying to the world community about environmental policy at the climate summit in Glasgow.
"Bolsonaro is telling the untruth," the 71-year-old cleric told the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger". Bolsonaro's claims that 94 per cent of the rainforest is still there and that the clearing is being controlled are not true. Steiner, is currently a campaign guest of the Catholic relief agency Adveniat for its Christmas campaign. He blamed the government of his country for the "systematic destruction" of the habitat of the indigenous peoples in the Amazon region.
Government is to blame for tropical timber trade
Steiner, who was secretary of the Brazilian bishops' conference for many years before his appointment to head the archdiocese of Manaus in 2019, has long stood up for their rights. The archbishop sees the biggest problem in the fact that "the institutions - state and civil society - are systematically restricted, attacked or even destroyed by the government, which could oppose illegal logging. The government is to blame for the trade in illegal tropical timber because it does not control and sanction it."
It can't go on with Bolsonaro
Ahead of the 2022 presidential election, in which Bolsonaro is seeking another term, Steiner sees growing opposition to the president. He said there is a growing awareness in society "that it cannot continue with Bolsonaro". Steiner accused the media of denouncing voices critical of the government as "radical left" or "communist". "This is the old familiar narrative of the economic elite, which wants to prevent greater political and social participation of broad sections of the population with all its might. They support Bolsonaro because he alone protects and represents their financial interests." There is no programme from this government for the good of the whole country.
Fight against overexploitation of the rainforest
Steiner, who is of German origin, described it as a moral mandate of the Church to strengthen the fight against the overexploitation of the rainforest. "The forest is money, the earth underneath is money" - this continues to lead to exploitation and the destruction of the habitat of indigenous peoples. In some places, there is now so much mercury in the water of the Amazon that the river dwellers literally poison themselves when drinking and bathing.
Large following among Catholics
Steiner conceded that Bolsonaro also had a large following among Catholics with issues such as the promotion of the classical family, the rejection of homosexuality and the LGBTQI movement or anti-communism. "Of course, we as Catholic bishops will continue to advocate for the family," Steiner stressed. "But we hold high the respect and support for the individual's choice in their individual life path."
Drastic increase in unemployment
As long-term consequences of the Corona pandemic, which is currently much milder in Brazil than in Germany, for example, Steiner lamented a drastic increase in unemployment and the number of "informal workers", who have to work without a contract and without security. "We also have noticeably more homeless, hungry people," he said. He acknowledged a great deal of international solidarity, including from Germany. "After the acute emergency aid in the Corona crisis, we now need support in maintaining and expanding services for those who are suffering most from the pandemic and its consequences. This starts with food for the hungry, continues with schools and education for children and young people and pastoral care. pm, ots, mei