Vanessa Barbara

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de enero de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Mi hija y yo estamos atrapadas en la tragedia de Brasil

Desde el balcón de mi apartamento puedo ver un estacionamiento de ambulancias. Durante más de un año, mi hija de 2 años y medio y yo hemos monitoreado —de manera ávida y ansiosa— los movimientos de las diez ambulancias que están estacionadas ahí. Es el tipo de entretenimiento que tenemos ahora.

“¡Mira, otra está regresando!”, me dice, apuntando hacia una ambulancia que se detiene y apaga sus luces rojas y blancas. No es un análisis exactamente riguroso, lo sé, pero juzgo la gravedad de la pandemia observando este estacionamiento. Desde inicios del año, cada vez menos ambulancias permanecen inmóviles. Ahora, durante el día, es común ver tan solo uno o dos vehículos en el estacionamiento y nunca están mucho tiempo.…  Seguir leyendo »

My Daughter and I Are Trapped in Brazil’s Tragedy

From the balcony of my apartment, I can see an ambulance parking lot. For over a year now, my 2½-year-old daughter and I have been monitoring — avidly, anxiously — the movements of the 10 ambulances parked there. That’s the sort of entertainment we have now.

“Look, another one is getting back!” she says, pointing at an ambulance as it stops and turns off its red-and-white lights. It’s not exactly rigorous analysis, I know, but I judge the severity of the pandemic by looking at this parking lot. Since the beginning of the year, fewer and fewer ambulances stay put. Now, during the day, it’s common to see only one or two vehicles at the lot — and never for long.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vacunar a más de 210 millones de personas puede parecer imposible, pero para Brasil realmente no debería serlo. Credit Bruno Kelly/Reuters

Cuando hablamos de programas de vacunación contra la COVID-19, hay algunos países que han superado las expectativas y otros que se han quedado sorprendentemente atrás. Y luego está Brasil.

Vacunar a más de 210 millones de personas puede sonar intimidante, pero para Brasil no debería serlo en realidad. El país tiene uno de los sistemas de salud pública universal y gratuita más grandes del mundo y un historial sobresaliente de vacunaciones y control de enfermedades. El Programa Nacional de Inmunizaciones, creado en 1973, fue clave para la erradicación de la polio y la rubéola en Brasil y en la actualidad ofrece más de veinte vacunas gratuitas en todos sus municipios.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vaccinating over 210 million people may sound daunting, but for Brazil it really shouldn’t be. Credit Bruno Kelly/Reuters

When it comes to Covid-19 vaccination programs, there are some countries that have exceeded expectations and others that have fallen surprisingly short. And then there is Brazil.

Vaccinating over 210 million people may sound daunting, but for Brazil it really shouldn’t be. With one of the largest universal, free-of-charge public health systems in the world, the country has a distinguished track record of vaccinations and disease control. The National Immunization Program, founded in 1973, helped to eradicate polio and rubella in the country and currently offers more than 20 vaccines free in every municipality.

Along with the infrastructure to distribute vaccines, there’s also the expertise to do so: In 1980, the country vaccinated 17.5 million children against polio in a single day.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is clearly not ready to mourn the departure of his American counterpart. Credit Adriano Machado/Reuters

My country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has still not recognized Joe Biden as the winner of America’s presidential election.

In his silence, he stands alongside other world leaders such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, Prime Minister Janez Jansa of Slovenia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. “I’m holding back a little more,” Mr. Bolsonaro said recently, adding that there was “a lot of fraud” in the election.

It’s an understandable response, as he seems to have a problem accepting facts. Just think about it: This is a guy who still claims hydroxychloroquine is the cure for Covid-19.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Sashimi con espagueti? Sí, por favor, con una rebanada de mango encima

Los suecos le presentaron al mundo el concepto del “smorgasbord”, un bufé festivo que incluye una variedad de platillos calientes y fríos. Sin embargo, los brasileños fueron los que elevaron este revoltijo gastronómico a otro nivel. Al agregar un toque singular de ingenio, recurrencia y caos, le dieron al mundo algo especial: el restaurante por kilo (“quilo” en portugués).

Estos restaurantes quizá parezcan familiares, en su forma y método pueden ser muy parecidos a una cafetería, un local de comida coreana o un bufé de ensaladas. Sin embargo, son una expresión genuina de un enfoque culinario exclusivo de Brasil: son comunales, pero con un amplio margen para la creatividad individual; son cotidianos, pero lujosamente variados, y muy muy deliciosos.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente de Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro, da un discurso sobre la pandemia del coronavirus. Credit Isac Nobrega/Presidencia de Brasil vía Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

El 29 de agosto, mi país cruzó el umbral de las 120.000 muertes por la COVID-19. Con unos 900 nuevos muertos al día, todavía no hemos visto una tendencia a la baja en el brote. Quería comprender por qué muchos brasileños parecen impávidos frente a este escenario, así que decidí tomar medidas desesperadas: empecé a ver las apariciones en vivo que el presidente Jair Bolsonaro realiza cada semana en YouTube y Facebook.

Sí, ya sé que suena inútil, ridículo y masoquista, y un poco es así. Sin embargo, después de ver tres meses de videos —un total de once horas extenuantes frente de la computadora—, ahora me doy cuenta de que todo ha cambiado.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente de Brasil, Jair Bolsonaro, da un discurso sobre la pandemia del coronavirus. Credit Isac Nobrega/Presidencia de Brasil vía Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Aug. 29, my country crossed the threshold of 120,000 people killed by Covid-19. With around 900 new deaths a day, we’re yet to see a downward trend in the outbreak. I wanted to understand why many Brazilians seem unperturbed by this, so I decided to take a desperate measure: I started watching President Jair Bolsonaro’s weekly live broadcasts on YouTube and Facebook.

Yes, I know it sounds pointless, foolish and masochistic, and it kind of is. But after watching three months’ worth of broadcasts — totaling 11 strenuous hours in front of the computer — I can now say that everything has changed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Andressa Anholete/Getty Images President Jair Bolsonaro during a press conference at Alvorada Palace, Brasilia, Brazil, June 5, 2020

“So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?”

So said Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, on April 28 when a reporter pointed out that the country’s toll from Covid-19 had just surpassed China’s—reaching the grim milestone of 5,000 deaths. By the end of May, Brazil had surpassed the half-million mark for coronavirus cases, becoming the world’s No. 2 hotspot for the disease, behind only the United States; it has now topped 38,000 deaths. On Saturday, Bolsonaro’s government stopped publishing official statistics about the country’s outbreak.

“So what?” might sum up why Brazil’s response to the pandemic has been so catastrophic: I’m talking not only about the scorn with which Bolsonaro greeted the news of thousands of deaths, but also about the fact that he appears to think there should be no response at all.…  Seguir leyendo »

Gravediggers work at the Vila Formosa cemetery in São Paulo, Brazil in May. Credit Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

It’s been almost three months since my toddler left the apartment. We’ve been enduring as best as we can: We spend countless afternoons at the balcony watching the street and counting red cars; we open and close all the curtains; we pile up boxes of paper tissues and make mountains; we invent stories about our neighbors based on the smells of their cooking. Recently, she has started to play with her own shadow. This was a wise move, since both of her parents are exhausted.

Quarantining with a 2-year-old is a draining job. On top of that, my husband and I are both still working remotely — he is a tax inspector for city hall — even as we cook and clean and disinfect the doorknobs.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tom Pennington/Getty Images Texas Governor Greg Abbott displaying Covid-19 test collection vials during a press conference, Arlington, Texas, March 18, 2020

NEW YORK City—How do you tell New Yorkers to forget about the culture and booze and laughter and food and people that make this city worth living in, and go back to their tiny, overpriced apartments and stay there, alone? Some wind or snow would help, but last Saturday there was nothing but vague warnings from politicians that we should keep a safe distance from one another, which sounds like advice from someone who has never been to New York.

“I’m waiting for the government to tell me I should be more concerned,” one woman standing outside of a bar told me that night.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters against police violence in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Last year, police killings in the state reached a 20-year high.Credit...Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

It was around 5 a.m. on an average Tuesday. I was sitting on the sofa eating toast when I received a Facebook notification saying that a police raid had just begun. “Please don’t leave your homes,” I read. “If you are outside, take shelter!”

Classes were canceled that morning. Armored tanks rolled through the streets, shooting seemingly at random. By 8 a.m., according to reports, police officers broke into homes and tortured residents. Others headed to the roofs to set up sniper hideouts. The operation lasted all day. It was entirely typical.

Of course it didn’t happen where I live — a middle-class neighborhood in São Paulo, where such acts of state terror would be nearly inconceivable.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women perform, "Un violador en tu camino" or "A rapist in your path," in a demonstration against gender-based violence, in front of the National stadium in Santiago, Chile last month.Credit...Esteban Felix/Associated Press

During the jury selection process for Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial this month, dozens of women gathered outside a Manhattan courthouse to perform a version of the dance/chant known as “Un Violador en tu Camino,” or “A Rapist in Your Path.” First in Spanish, then in English, they sang: “Patriarchy is our judge that imprisons us at birth/And our punishment is the violence you don’t see.”

This performance, which quickly went viral, was created last year by the Valparaíso, Chile-based feminist collective Lastesis, and is based on the work of the Argentine-Brazilian anthropologist Rita Segato. The lyrics describe how the state upholds systematic violations of women’s rights, through institutions such as the judiciary and the police.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil posing for a selfie in November. Despite being surrounded by scandal and corruption, he has been able to suppress dissent.Credit...Adriano Machado/Reuters

This year has been marked by widespread social convulsion in Latin America.

Since mid-October, Chileans have been in the streets; what started as demonstrations over a subway fare hike quickly broadened into protests over enormous economic inequality. The right-wing president, Sebastian Piñera, ordered a militarized police force to suppress the protests, causing more than a dozen deaths and the partial blinding of more than 200 people.

In Colombia, students, workers and indigenous people have been demonstrating since late November against rumored pension cutbacks and changes to labor laws. Protesters accused the center-right president, Iván Duque, of failing to address issues like corruption, economic inequality and the murder of human rights activists.…  Seguir leyendo »

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rôndonia State, Brazil.CreditCreditUeslei Marcelino/Reuters

When I first set foot in the Amazon rain forest, in the Anavilhanas Archipelago, northwest of the city of Manaus, I experienced something that can only be described as awe: an overwhelming sense of connection with the universe. Cheesy, I know. But this is something that we rarely feel — only upon seeing a clear tropical night sky, or the ghostly flickering of the northern lights or even the vastness of a French Gothic cathedral.

From the outside, the Amazon is a massive, undistinguished canopy of trees, but once you’re inside it, it is indeed a “monumental universe,” in the words of the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.…  Seguir leyendo »

Estudiantes protestando en contra de los recortes al gasto federal en educación superior, en Curitiba, Brasil Credit Rodolfo Buhrer/Reuters

De acuerdo con el presidente Jair Bolsonaro, la educación brasileña deja mucho que desear. “Todo va cada vez más cuesta abajo”, dijo el mes pasado a periodistas durante un viaje a Dallas. “Queremos salvar la educación”.

Este parecería un argumento razonable si Bolsonaro anunciara, por ejemplo, un nuevo plan de educación o un aumento sustancial en el gasto dirigido a las escuelas públicas. Sin embargo, por el contrario, el mandatario estaba aludiendo a un “congelamiento” de 1500 millones de dólares al presupuesto para la educación en Brasil —el gobierno insiste en llamarlo así, en vez del recorte que es; esto se debe, en teoría, a que los fondos quedarán disponibles cuando mejore la situación económica—.…  Seguir leyendo »

"Who commissioned the murder of Marielle?" asked a banner last month, one year after the murder of the city councilwoman and human rights activist Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes. Credit Ian Cheibub / Picture alliance, via Getty Images

A little more than a year ago, a member of Rio de Janeiro’s City Council was murdered with four shots to the head and neck. The councilwoman, Marielle Franco, was headed home from an event when a car pulled up and someone opened fire, killing her and her driver. It was obvious from the beginning that this was a premeditated, professional assassination. Ms. Franco was a black, feminist L.G.B.T. activist, a fierce human-rights defender who wasn’t afraid to take on sensitive issues: the use of state violence in favelas, for instance, or the involvement of police and politicians in Rio’s paramilitary groups.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace cinco años, una mujer brasileña en trabajo de parto fue detenida por la policía y obligada a parir por cesárea.

La mujer, Adelir de Goes, ya había tenido dos cesáreas previas (un procedimiento demasiado común en mi país) y esperaba parir a su tercer hijo vía vaginal, pero su bebé venía de nalgas. Los médicos pensaron que un parto vaginal podría poner en riesgo la vida del infante.

Obtuvieron una orden judicial para practicar una intervención quirúrgica forzosa. De Goes había dilatado casi por completo y se preparaba para ir al hospital cuando nueve policías tocaron a su puerta para llevársela.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuban doctors heading home in Brasilia last month, after criticism by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil prompted Cuba’s government to sever a cooperation agreement.CreditCreditAdriano Machado/Reuters

A few weeks ago, the Cuban government announced it would withdraw from the Brazilian medical program Mais Médicos, which sends doctors to remote, underserved areas in Brazil. It’s estimated that millions of citizens could be deprived of primary health care after the departure of roughly 8,600 Cuban doctors from the country. The decision was prompted by demeaning remarks made by Brazil’s right-wing president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly questioned the qualifications of Cuban doctors: “We have no proof that they are really doctors and able to take on these functions,” he said recently. This is false: All foreign doctors working for the program need to present their degrees and their licenses to practice medicine abroad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cientos de miles de personas en Brasil se manifestaron en contra del candidato de ultraderecha Jair Bolsonaro con la consigna #EleNão (Él no) en São Paulo, el 29 de septiembre de 2018. CreditGustavo Basso/NurPhoto, vía Getty Images

En septiembre, a pocas semanas de la primera vuelta electoral en Brasil, Cabo Daciolo anunció una nueva estrategia para las elecciones presidenciales: dijo que iba a pasar veintiún días de ayuno y rezo en las montañas.

Daciolo es uno de los más de diez candidatos presidenciales para la primera vuelta del 7 de octubre y sus retiros espirituales no son la única estrategia poco convencional. También grabó un video en el que les pide a sus partidarios que ya no donen fondos para su campaña sino que recen por el país. Dice que una de sus prioridades es proteger a Brasil de la dominación de “banqueros, el Nuevo Orden Mundial, los illuminati y los masones”.…  Seguir leyendo »