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How Covid-19 Pandemic Turned into a Political Scenario in Brazil

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 Brazil has quickly climbed up the grim scoreboard of coronavirus cases tally – now the nation is with second highest death tally of 43,389. With total active cases of Covid-19 868,000, Brazil is the epicenter of the epicenter of Covid, Americas – the second in active cases toll after U.S.

The largest country in South America is rapidly climbing up all the wrong charts of Coronavirus pandemic, and its leaders seem to care the least. 

Since the pandemic hit the world, President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the deadly virus, going against all the advisories by global bodies and World Health Organization. Many times he was seen in media calling the virus as “just a little flu” and blamed the media for spreading the hysteria and panic. He adorned “no-mask” attire in public and defied all the social distancing protocols. 

After repeated attacks by media, leaders across the nations and Brazil as well, Bolsonaro has not been lately seen in public stirring up further controversies, maybe to avoid further condemn. But the fact that Brazil is suffering without a strong leader to rescue it from the unwavering pandemic storm is strengthened even more with this absence and silence. 

In April, as Brazil was witnessing rapidly rising death rate, he replied to the situation as “I am not a grave digger”. Further, when asked about surpassing China in the death tally, he said, “So what”. 

The pandemic in Brazil, since the beginning, has never been about the health crisis but rather a political game. 

Economy was a priority over health

The only stable stand of Bolsonaro during the entire pandemic has been his strategy of blaming the state governors over handling of crisis and that the imposed lockdown is the reason of shattered economy, which will be deadlier than the virus itself. 

International Relations Professor in Sao Paolo, Oliver Stuenkel says, “He doesn’t want to be seen as the person responsible for what very well may become the worst economic crisis in Brazil’s history. He has decided to not take responsibility because he sees that as his best chance to stay in the office.”

The country is now gearing towards reopening while the Brazilian people suffer immensely – with more than 1000 deaths every day. The leadership is missing. 

The most baffling and confusing bit, and probably an indication towards the confused leadership in the country – the beaches are open and so are the malls, but the country’s biggest city has been issued an extended lockdown till the end of this month. Clearly a contradictory and dangerous situation. 

Weighing between Pandemic and Politics

In the fight between politics and pandemic in Brazil, politics seems to be clearly winning. 

Political battles are the priority for President Bolsonaro when his all efforts should be towards fighting the pandemic. 

Several investigations are under process against Bolsonaro for interfering with judicial investigations to save his family. The political situation is taking front seat in Brazil making health less important. The implications of political scandals is so huge in Brazil that it is always the priority. 

Bolsonaro is facing huge criticism for his lack of action during pandemic crisis and poor leadership making Brazil suffer. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called for Bolsonaro’s impeachment. He said in an interview with CNN, “Bolsonaro has committed many crimes of irresponsibility and I think he already deserves to be punished for that.”

Brazil witnessed resignation of two health ministers in a short span of one month during pandemic. The military has gained a stronger base in the country during this crisis. The current interim health minister Eduardo Pazuello is a general. Since his appointment multiple military officials have joined the Health Ministry. 

The anger is huge against the current leadership in Brazil but the fear of where the country is heading after Covid-19 pandemic is equally worrying. 

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