We protest the gala hosted at AMNH to award Jair Bolsonaro, “Man of the Year”, by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. The event is nothing short of an outrage to Brazil, to this institution housed in a building of the City of New York, to the country, to the world.
The Museum has said it is concerned about the event ( a “rental”) being hosted there, but despite the pressure and their statements on Twitter, has not cancelled the event nor responded to thousands of messages to cancel, from employees, to members, to visitors, to residents of NYC.
The AMNH describes itself as “one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions (…) [that] since its founding in 1869, (…) has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition. ”.
In direct opposition to these values, Jair Bolsonaro and his government are enacting a strong anti-scientific agenda in Brazil, curtailing research funding, threatening public education, and reducing environmental regulations to an unprecedented level in Brazilian history.
By accepting to host the event, AMNH contradicts its principles and its role as one of the world’s leading scientific institutions.
Despite demands from over 400 scientists, AMNH curators and staff, activists, and politicians the museum has also refused to remove climate science denier and mega donor, Rebekah Mercer, from its board of trustees. Hosting an event honoring Jair Bolsonaro is symptom of the AMNH’s poor leadership, which further undermines its reputation and credibility.
Jair Bolsonaro’s political campaign has been fueled, among other issues, by a overt anti-scientific discourse. During the political campaign of 2018 and the first hundred days of his government, professors, universities, and research institutions have been systematically threatened and harassed by the president and his allies.
The Bolsonaro government has reduced the federal budget for Science and Technology by 42.27%. His government has also publicly praised fascism and expressed nostalgia for the former Military Regime in Brazil: a troubling trend that represents a great danger to freedom of expression, a cornerstone of society’s scientific development.
The anti-scientific nature of Bolsonaro’s government is well represented in the views of his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, who claims that climate change is an invention grounded in “Marxist” and “Globalist” ideas, and threatens to abandon the Paris Agreement.
Furthermore, Bolsonaro’s Ministry of Agriculture has authorized the use of 152 new pesticides, many of which are forbidden in other parts of the world, deemed to be related to cancer. The administration has also transferred the responsibility of regulating indigenous reservation demarcations, environmental and climate policy, ecological education, and water resource management to the Ministry of Agriculture, which works for the interests of agribusiness. This change represents a threat to the protection of the already endangered environment, human rights, and biodiversity of Brazil, including the Amazon Forest.
We believe that science, technology and education are key elements for the constitution of a free and democratic society. We believe that the discovery, interpretation and dissemination of information about human cultures and the natural world depends on the protection of our natural resources and respect for indigenous populations. We hope that the AMNH will not let its reputation be tainted by associating itself with a figure such as Jair Bolsonaro, renowned for his obscurantism and attacks against science, human rights and nature.
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–Gala Honoree Causes Concern at American Museum of Natural History:
–De Blasio slams museum event honoring Brazil’s far-right president:
–AMNH Employees Revolt Over ‘Appalling’ Decision To Host Bolsonaro At Museumhttp://gothamist.com/2019/04/12/amnh_employees_revolt_over_appallin.php