Media: former Brazilian leader accused of ‘harassing’ whale


(MENAFN) In a recent turn of events, Brazil's federal police and prosecutors are delving into a case of suspected harassment involving a humpback whale and a jet ski rider bearing a striking resemblance to former President Jair Bolsonaro, as reported by Gazeta do Povo on Saturday.

The incident, said to have occurred in June near Sao Sebastiao, came under scrutiny following the circulation of a viral video on social media. The footage depicts a man on a water scooter approaching the marine mammal at a distance deemed inappropriate, approximately 15 meters away, while recording video on his phone. It's worth noting that Brazilian law explicitly prohibits the deliberate harassment of cetaceans, including whales and dolphins, in the country's jurisdictional waters.

Jair Bolsonaro, who served as Brazil's president from 2019 to 2022, is no stranger to controversy, particularly regarding environmental policies labeled as "anti-environmental" by critics. His approach, often characterized as exploitative of natural resources to stimulate economic growth, earned him the moniker "Captain Chainsaw." Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlighted the acceleration of Amazon destruction during his tenure, attributing it to illegal logging and forest fires. However, HRW also acknowledged that the issue of violence by loggers in the Amazon predates Bolsonaro, with interviews revealing that the problem has been pervasive in the region for years.

In response to the accusations of harassing the marine mammal, Bolsonaro dismissed the claims on Saturday, stating, "Every day there's something bad about me, yesterday's was that I'm chasing whales." He went on to quip, "The only whale that doesn't like me on the esplanade is the one in the ministry," a purported reference to Brazil's Minister of Justice, Flavio Dino.

As the investigation unfolds, the incident adds another layer to the contentious legacy of Bolsonaro, whose presidency was marked by environmental controversies and policy decisions that polarized public opinion. The allegations of whale harassment now further contribute to the ongoing scrutiny of his actions both during and after his time in office.

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