A terse report filed from São Paulo, Brazil, appeared in the 17 March 1919 edition of the New York Times. It read: “Influenza again has appeared here in epidemic form. The Government is taking steps to prevent the spread of the disease.” Just over one hundred years later, faced with another pandemic, the Brazilian government has taken a different approach. President Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right extremist elected in 2018, has repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus, urging citizens to suck it up and get back to work so that the economy can once again get moving.
The president has frequently appeared in public places without a mask, stopping to greet supporters, creating potential super-spreader events as a matter of course.… Seguir leyendo »
It is not surprising that the government of Jair Bolsonaro is in crisis. Setting aside his ruinous response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the radically reactionary leader of the largest country in Latin America has never displayed the ability or desire to use political means to benefit anyone but those closest to him. Still, the scale and rapidity of the upheaval this week has raised concerns that Brazilians may soon confront a full-blown political meltdown on top of the public health disaster that has been unfolding for several months.
On Monday, Ernesto Araújo, the foreign minister, resigned. His tenure had been marked by brash self-righteous rhetoric delivered without a glimmer of grace or confidence.… Seguir leyendo »
On Wednesday 10 March, Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva gave a rousing comeback speech at the metalworkers’ union headquarters in São Bernardo do Campo, an industrial centre in the São Paulo metropolitan region from where Lula first emerged as a national figure in the 1970s. The day before, in a shocking turnaround that surprised even those convinced of his innocence, a justice on the supreme court annulled the criminal convictions against Lula, rendering him eligible to run for a third term next year.
The ruling in Lula’s favour would have been a major story even if his popularity had faded since leaving office in 2011.… Seguir leyendo »