Brazilian opposition leaders Thursday criticized President Jair Bolsonao's decision to reject humanitarian aid offered by Argentina to assist the victims of the floods in the state of Bahia, where 24 people have died and over 91,000 other have been displaced from their homes.
Bolsonaro had said Thursday that the cooperation offered by Buenos Aires is not necessary.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva considered it regrettable to see a president who does not help and rejects help [from] other people. Lula is expected to contend Bolsonaro in next year's elections.
Ciro Gomes, another Presidential hopeful from the Partido Democrático Trabalhista (PDT, center left), said Bolsonaro did not accept the offer from Buenos Aires on a whim, due to an ideological dispute, because he likes to flirt with the death of innocents.
The Government of Argentine President Alberto Fernández had offered to send in a team specialized in sanitation, logistics, recycling of water for different uses and psychosocial support.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry had informed the Argentine Embassy this week that it was not accepting the offer.
The heaviest rains in the last 32 years left 91,000 displaced and more than 600,000 affected, especially in the south and southeast of Bahia.
Bolsonaro had announced Thursday that Argentine aid would not be necessary at that time, but could be admitted in a timely manner, in case of worsening conditions.
The response from Foreign Relations to the Argentine Embassy is clear in this regard, Bolsonaro explained on social media.
The fraternal Argentine offer, very dear to Brazil, occurs when the Armed Forces, in coordination with Civil Defense, were already providing that type of assistance to the affected population, even with the support of 3 helicopters from the Navy and the Army, Bolsonaro added from the beaches of Santa Catarina where he spends the holiday season.
Bolsonaro had been in Bahia two weeks ago but did not show up this time around when rains increased and the overflowing of the rivers flooded dozens of cities and left over 40 roads infit for traffick.
Senator Randolfe Rodrigues announced Thursday an action will be filed before the Union Court of Accounts for the president to return the money that he is using on his vacations and that this money be destined to the victims of Bahia. Rodrigues is the leader of the multiparty opposition bloc in the Senate and belongs to the center-left Rede party.
Rodríguez also said the Upper House would ”summon the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Carlos França) to give explanations” on the rejection of the aid proposed by Argentina.