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Brazilian ex-president suspected of ‘harassing’ a whale – media

Authorities are reportedly investigating a video of jet a ski rider resembling Jair Bolsonaro approaching the marine mammal

Brazil’s federal police and prosecutors are investigating a case of “harassment” of a humpback whale by a jet ski rider resembling former President Jair Bolsonaro, Gazeta do Povo reported Saturday, citing official documents.

The incident reportedly occurred in June near the city of Sao Sebastiao, but the investigation was said to be prompted by a viral video on social media showing a man on a water scooter approaching the marine mammal at a distance deemed inappropriate.

The video shows that a jet ski rider was about 15 meters away from the whale and recording video on his phone. Brazilian law prohibits the “deliberate harassment of any species of cetacean,” such as whales and dolphins, in the jurisdictional waters of the country.

Bolsonaro served as Brazil’s president from 2019 to 2022 and was known for his policies dubbed “anti-environmental” by critics due to exploitation of natural resources to boost the economy, earning him the nickname “Captain Chainsaw.” According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the destruction of the Amazon accelerated during his rule due to illegal logging and forest fires.

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However, HRW also mentioned that “the problem of violence by loggers in the Amazon did not begin with Bolsonaro,” citing dozens of interviews with officials and members of indigenous communities who broadly agreed that the problem “has been widespread in the region for years.”

Bolsonaro on Saturday responded to accusations of harassing the marine mammal by saying that “every day there’s something bad about me, yesterday’s was that I’m chasing whales.” He added that “the only whale that doesn’t like me on the esplanade is the one in the ministry,” reportedly referring to Brazil’s minister of justice, Flavio Dino.

Since leaving the presidency, Bolsonaro has faced several investigations against him, including an “attempted coup” in January this year. In June, he was banned from running for office until 2030.


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