More than a year into a disastrous pandemic response, Brazil’s Senate began a damning probe yesterday into President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic.
With 11 million Brazilians pushed into extreme poverty since the pandemic began, the inquiry outcome could topple a politician whose cunning and cronyism have been rewarded with a decades-long career, The Intercept reports.
On the laundry list of deadly blunders being investigated:
- Withholding federal funds from the COVID response
- Discouraging mask use
- Rejecting offers from vaccine manufacturers
- Fighting against lockdowns
- Cutting funding for science and health
The testimony so far has not minced words:
Brazil’s former health minister said he repeatedly warned Bolsonaro’s actions could lead to the death of 180,000 Brazilians by the end of 2020, The Guardian reports. He was fired in April 2020.
One opposition commission member thinks the administration’s actions amount to “crimes against humanity.”
Researchers say Bolsonaro’s strategy appeared designed to spread the virus, rather than contain it, Deutsche Welle reports.
What will come of the inquiry?
If it concludes that Bolsonaro’s administration was accountable for the disastrous outbreak, criminal cases or impeachment proceedings could follow.
Even if not, the high profile rebuke could well mobilize Brazilians against Bolsonaro in the 2022 presidential election.
‘I warned Bolsonaro’, ex-Brazil minister testifies in COVID probe – Al Jazeera
Brazil COVID-19 inquiry told of Bolsonaro's blind faith in chloroquine – Reuters
Racism is Fueling Brazil's COVID-19 Crisis – Newsweek (commentary)‘
Calamity of maternal deaths’: Covid concern grows for Brazil’s pregnant – The Guardian
Brazil: Vaccinating the Amazon against Covid – BBC (video)