Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has outdone even President Trump in denying the coronavirus’s lethality. While Trump hems and haws about testing and recently mused that he wants the U.S. economy “open by Easter,” Bolsonaro has gone a step further, arguing “I’m sorry, some people will die, they will die, that’s life. You can’t stop a car factory because of traffic deaths.”
In a nationally televised address, Bolsonaro referred to the coronavirus threat as media “hysteria” and claimed he would only catch a “little cold” from the virus. As the Guardian reports, “Bolsonaro claimed a wave of pot-banging protests, which entered their sixth night on Sunday, were a part of a media-backed plot to topple him as two opinion polls suggested widespread discontent with Bolsonaro’s behavior.”
The statement below signed by a multitude of Brazilian left-wing parties was published by a wide variety of outlets, including Brasil de Fato. No Borders News publishes it here as part of our ongoing international coronavirus coverage.
We, the undersigned political parties, publicly repudiate the attitude demonstrated by the President of the Republic Jair Bolsonaro when he visited public markets and businesses in the Federal District (the site of the capital city Brasília), thereby encouraging the population to disregard local sanitary measures put in place following guidance from his own Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The President of the Republic insists violating all the actions taken by heads of state from around the world in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the Federal District is suffering the third highest total of coronavirus infections among Brazilian states. Thus, Bolsonaro’s defense of non-compliance with health guidelines may cause the number of victims to grow in our city, threating our health system with total collapse. The president’s criminal and irresponsible discourse will cost lives, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable and among those living in peripheral communities.
We must emphasize that there is no dichotomy between our people’s health and the economy. Countries that have so far had the best success in the COVID-19 crisis have adopted social distancing measures, increased the number of ICUs, and implemented massive testing of their population, while the state in those countries has acted to guarantee people’s employment and income.
For this reason, we are studying appropriate legal measures with respect to the attitude of the President of the Republic in order to safeguard lives in our city, even as we are mobilizing political actions. Moments like the one we are living in Brazil, and especially in the Federal District, highlight and reinforce the links that unite progressive forces in the defense of the lives of our people and a free and just society based on solidarity.
Federal District, March 29, 2020
Brazilian Socialist Party, PSB
Workers Party, PT
Party for Socialism and Freedom, PSOL
Communist Party of Brazil, PCdoB
Brazilian Communist Party, PCB
Revolutionary Communist Party, PRC
Democratic Labor Party, PDT
Green Party, PV