Politics

‘Trump of the South’: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused of ‘crimes against humanity’

It is not known if anything will come from the 1,200-page report. The 11-member panel, seven of whom are opponents of the Trumpian-styled pompous leader, must all agree on the charges for the next step and be taken in federal prosecution. 

Reacting to the report, Bolsonaro defended himself. “We know that we are guilty of absolutely nothing. We know that we did the right thing from the first moment,” he said, according to the BBC

Initially, the panel recommended that the Brazilian president be charged with genocide with respect to the Amazon’s Indigenous groups, who were slaughtered in the months after hospitals in the region ran out of oxygen. A day later, The Times reported that several senators said the claims were too extreme. 

If you feel as if this is all some kind of sick deja vu, you wouldn’t be wrong. Bolsonaro, who remains unvaccinated is known for encouraging large-scale unmasked gatherings and forgoing vaccines for hydroxychloroquine. He’s called the virus a “little flu” and joked that vaccines would turn people into alligators.

Last month, he and his health minister Marcelo Queiroga were forced to eat pizza on the street while in New York for the United Nations meeting. Queiroga, a cardiologist, tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later. He received the CoronaVac vaccine, made by Beijing-based Sinovac in early 2021.

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After being diagnosed with COVID-19 himself in 2020, the president doubled down on his sheer ridiculousness. He posted a video on Facebook that appeared to show him swigging his hydroxychloroquine down with water, saying, “I’m one more person it’s working on. I trust hydroxychloroquine.”

“Many of these deaths were preventable,” Renan Calheiros, the centrist Brazilian senator who was the lead author of the report told the Times. “I am personally convinced that he is responsible for escalating the slaughter.”

A renowned vaccine denier, Bolsonaro dismissed more than 100 emails from Pfizer as months rolled along with a country desperate for help. The BBC reported that in March he told Brazilians to “stop whining”  about COVID, just a day after the country saw a record rise in deaths over a 24-hour period.

Despite his seeming desire to kill the population he needs in order to get a second term, his lack of pandemic response is working against his popularity. 

Calheiros told the BBC that the panel wanted to punish those who contributed to “this massacre of Brazilians.” Let’s hope they can, along with all of the other world leaders (aka Trump), who irresponsibly put themselves and their own need to stay in power above the health and lives of the people they work for. 




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