A gala that is scheduled to be held on May 14 at the prominent Museum of Natural History in New York, which is intended to honor the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has unleashed criticism from authorities and cultural organizations in the city.
The event, organized by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, plans to name the president as one of the "people of the year", which highlights the work of a Brazilian and an American in strengthening relations between the two nations.
The critics have pointed out the peculiar situation that supposes that the figure of Bolsonaro is celebrated in the Museum of Natural History of New York, under the enormous figure of a blue whale that decorates a space dedicated to the marine life, when one of the first measures that it took jeopardized the protection of the Amazon.
A few hours after taking office, the president decided to transfer the regulation and creation of new indigenous reserves in the Amazon jungle to the Ministry of Agriculture, dominated by a "lobby" of agricultural companies.
One of the first figures to criticize the event was the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who said today in a program on the radio station WNYC that Bolsonaro was "a very dangerous human being" and asked the Museum of Natural History to cancel the event.
"(Bolsonaro) is dangerous not only because of its obvious racism and homophobia, but because unfortunately it is the person with the greatest power to impact what happens in the Amazon in the future," De Blasio said.
According to the specialized media artnet News, the Museum of Natural History of New York has wanted to distance itself from the event and has pointed out that it is limiting itself to renting space, which it says was reserved before it was known who would be honored.
"We are deeply concerned, and the event in no way reflects the position of the Museum that there is an urgent need to conserve the Amazon rainforest, which has profound consequences for indigenous communities' biodiversity, climate change and the health of our planet. ", the institution said in a statement.
"We are analyzing our options," settled the Natural History Museum, which did not want to reveal which department approved the event and when, and that has received threats of boycott if it does not cancel the event.
Civil groups like "Decolonizing This Place" have affirmed in the social networks that "not only they will protest", but they will force the closing of the museum in case that the gala goes ahead.
For its part, the human rights advocacy organization WITNESS, based in New York, told local news outlet Gothamist that "the fact that the New York Museum of Natural History has accepted an event about something that is so contrary to its own values should embarrass them. "
The event, for which the local Gothamist environment has sold out, with a cost of $ 30,000, is held annually since 1970 with the aim of highlighting the work of two people who have been "instrumental in building relationships" between the USA and Brazil.
Last year, the gala paid tribute to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brazilian judge Sérgio Fernando Moro, known for his anti-corruption struggle, while on several occasions Bill Clinton (2015), Nelson Rockefeller (1971) or Henry Kissinger have been elected. (1997).