Bolsonaro’s Brazil is “an open gas chamber …

From Brasilia

Chico Buarque and the theologian Leonardo Boff They denounced in a letter addressed to the UN and the International Criminal Court that Brazil, devastated by the coronavirus, became an “open gas chamber” that condemns “our population to extermination.” In addition to comparing the government of Jair Bolsonaro with the regime of Adolf Hitler, the document indicates that the country is moving towards an almost biblical catastrophe of which the latest statistics show. The president is a “man without humanity, he denies science, hatred of the other is the reason for his exercise of power.” This “monstrous genocidal government ceased to be a threat to Brazil to become a global threat (…) to civilization.”

Brazil is the second country in the world in deaths from covid-19, with 265 thousand victims, and a total of 10.9 million infected, which places it in third place in the ranking led by the United States. According to an inconclusive study by the World Health Organization, the country could jump to the top of the death row by the end of 2021. This Saturday the mark of ten thousand dead in a week was passed, the highest figure since the start of the pandemic. According to some experts, worse figures are expected in the coming days due to the shortage of vaccines coupled with the official lack of interest in buying them.

The state of San Pablo, governed by the conservative Joao Doia and with a population similar to that of Argentina, entered on Saturday the “red phase” of social isolation, the most severe, in order to win the “war” against the disease. The city of São Paulo registers 80.8 percent occupancy of intensive therapy rooms. In Rio de Janeiro, whose municipal government decreed intensified isolation, 90.3 percent of the intensive care rooms are occupied. To make matters worse, the slight “lockdown” decreed by the Rio mayor, Eduardo Paes, on the right, is sabotaged by the governor of Rio, Claudio Castro, a stalwart of the president.

Bolsonaro spent last week questioning the vaccine, attack social isolation and lead events with dozens of people without a mask. This Saturday he went to the Brasilia Air Base where, again without a mask, he gave a brief speech to a group of officials before his shipment to Israel.

The dissemination of the Amazonian strain, or variant P1, reached a large part of the national territory in less than two months, causing the collapse of hospitals in several states, even those located in the border regions, something that “puts neighboring countries at risk”says the document. Ten South American countries border Brazil along 17,000 kilometers of fairly porous borders. The Amazonian variant is already highly contagious, it is estimated that those that will arise from it may have a higher transmissibility and be more resistant to vaccines.

According to researchers such as Atila Iamarino, the P1 mutation is favored by the “wrong government” policy that prohibited traffic controls between states and by the lack of intensive testing programs. The press uncovered more than six million hidden tests in a warehouse near São Paulo International Airport late last year. By that time, only five million Brazilians had undergone these studies. General Eduardo Pazuello, Minister of Health, acknowledged the veracity of the information, promised to donate part of the tests to Haiti and send the rest to the states.

Bolsonaro likes to fill his mouth with nationalist speeches, abundant in mentions of a sovereignty guaranteed with the military presence on land and sea borders. An argument invoked, together with that of national security, to justify the skyrocketing of the budget for the Armed Forces to the detriment of funds for Health. In the new Defense strategy, the conflict hypotheses are concentrated on the borders, prioritizing the Amazonian ones, where military exercises have been carried out with increased frequency. One of the last military tests coincided with the arrival in the country of the then US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in the final days of the administration of President Donald Trump. In addition to supporting Trump’s reelection, Bolsonaro launched it against Democratic candidate Joe Biden to whom he threatened to respond “with gunpowder” if United States troops entered the Amazon.

The Covid crisis contradicted that rhetoric by exposing a sovereignty deficit: the national state was overwhelmed in part of the territory, especially in the Amazon forest. Manaus, the most important city in the Amazon, was the first capital devoured by the pandemic in mid-January when dozens of people died from lack of oxygen despite the fact that Minister Pazuello was informed about the lack of this input. Given this, the United States government announced the intention of sending teams to Manos where several trucks arrived with oxygen tubes donated by Venezuela. Bolsonaro, irritated, attacked the government of Nicolás Maduro.

The concrete thing is that as the pandemic continues to advance, Brazil becomes increasingly vulnerable in the eyes of the world, where some governments fear the export of a supervirus. Washington sent a signal, or perhaps a warning, through infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci, an adviser to President Biden. “The best thing is to vaccinate and do it in the largest number of people as quickly as possible”, Fauci recommended to the Brazilian authorities with whom, he said, he would like to talk on the subject.

Nothing indicates that Bolsonaro is willing to receive advice from Biden or the WHO, which has just reiterated its “concern” about the Brazilian situation. Rather, the ruler repeated in recent days his bet on the consumption of hydroxychloroquine, a drug for malaria that has no proven efficacy against the coronavirus and his expectation in a “miracle spray” used in Israel for the treatment of cancer patients . The EXDO-CD24 nasal spray was applied to only 30 patients infected with SARS CoV-2, of which 29 were cured immediately, said the president who sent a delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo to Israel.

In contrast to this miraculous bet, reality indicates that only 8.1 million Brazilians have been vaccinated so far, just over four percent of the population. The government signed a single contract to buy immunizanes, with the British laboratory AstraZeneca. The bulk of the vaccines applied are from the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, bought by São Paulo.

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