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Political Crisis Gains Momentum Over Health Crisis in Brazil

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Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil registered its first COVID-19 case as early as in February following which the total number of infected cases in South American country has crossed 1.19 million. At the same time, it became the second country, after the United States, to record more than 50,000 Coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic outbreak began.

This has come in the wake of growing political chaos in Brazil and President Jair Bolsonaro’s mishandling of the pandemic crisis. From minimizing the severity of the global health crisis to downplaying Coronavirus as a “little flu” and accusing the media of hysteria, Bolsonaro’s response to COVID-19 pandemic led Brazil into becoming one of the worst-hit countries across the world. Taking note of Jair Bolsonaro’s irresponsible attitude towards safety measures during the COVID-19 times, a Brazilian federal judge on Tuesday ordered the President to comply with local rules to wear a face mask when he is outdoors.

Two of Bolsonaro’s Health Ministers – both doctors – were forced to leave their posts amid surging cases and disagreements with the President over the pandemic response. Furthermore, reports have emerged suggesting that the Brazil government is underreporting the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths on the official website. Earlier this month, COVID-19 data was taken down from the official website for a day. While it was re-published the next day, all the past numbers on the infected cases had been deleted. This move by the Bolsonaro government invited huge criticism from global institutions with people accusing the administration of trying to cover the impact of COVID-19 on human lives in the country.

Along with the health crisis, Brazil is facing an unprecedented political crisis. Amid all this, tensions between the Brazilian judiciary and Bolsonaro has intensified with the Supreme Court investigating allegations against the President that he interfered in federal police investigations to safeguard his family. He is also being investigated over allegations of disinformation and intimidation. 

Thousands of angry Brazilian protesters have taken out demonstrations across several regions in the country against their President and his government’s chaotic response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In response, another section of protestors, supported by Bolsonaro, have carried out demonstrations against the Supreme Court and the Congress over the past few weeks. 

Now, it has become crucial for Brazil to employ all efforts in combating the spread of the virus. With Bolsonaro emerging as a major obstacle in combating the virus in Brazil, threats of a military coup are penduluming around the far-right President which can dismantle the largest democracy in Latin America. Notedly, Brazil’s emerging democracy is facing the risk of failure.

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