Emmaus International

Erivania Queiroz Santiago, director of Emmaus Amor e Justiça (Love and Justice) in Brazil and National Delegate for his country, tells us about how President Jair Bolsonaro is managing the pandemic. As the victim of a complete health fiasco, Brazil is now the second most affected country by coronavirus.

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Brazil is an exceptional case, in the midst of a pandemic caused by Covid-19. As if the severity of the widely spread disease was not enough, Brazilians are having to cope with political instability in a country marked by extreme social inequality. We are living through a pandemic within a socio-economic context, with an insane president, who is insensitive and unable to govern and look after our nation, bringing nothing but harm to Brazilians, particularly the most vulnerable.

"He runs the country like a reckless driver, driving a car at high speed and putting all our lives at risk."

New cases emerged in Brazil in March, as a wave of Covid-19 infections hit the entire world. The WHO declared that all nations needed to be united to combat this pandemic. Acting against this advice, the Brazilian Federal Government resisted and ignored the situation, thus hindering our ability to immediately fight against this new coronavirus.

President Jair Bolsonaro even minimised the pandemic, calling it a “just a bit of flu”, whilst the country moved from a health crisis to a leadership crisis. The position of Minister for Health has changed hands twice during the pandemic and the former Minister for Justice, Sérgio Moro, resigned from his post as he stated the President wanted to interfere in Federal Police matters to protect his relatives and friends.

At the current time, Brazil has no health minister. There are over 800,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 40,000 deaths. In addition to a lack of health minister, the government decided to manipulate the data on the number of infections and deaths caused by Covid-19, obscuring any transparency regarding those who have died. Deleting this data is interfering with the actions and measures taken to fight the coronavirus. In addition, there are almost instantaneous attacks on mainstream media in Brazil, who are now performing the role of communicating the manipulated data and who have adopted a strong critical stance of the government.

There are also protests against the national parliament and the Federal Supreme Court, calling for them to close. As sympathisers of the 1964 military dictatorship and the AI-5 decree [a decree issued in 1968 understood as the framework that ushered in the darkest period of the dictatorship in Brazil], the government’s supporters don’t seem to believe that they are living through a huge health crisis and that the country is suffering right now.

Erivania Queiroz Santiago,
Director of Emmaus Amor e Justiça (Love and Justice) in Brazil

Copyright : AFP