By Esquerda Online
As of April 17, Brazil is reporting 30,891 confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,952 Covid-19 deaths. However, public health experts believe that Covid-19 deaths may be twice as high as official counts indicate while coronavirus infections are likely twelve times as high, meaning that Brazil is on the cusp of joining southern Europe and the United States in the first ranks of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s dismissal of Minister of Health Luiz Mandetta represents a hardening of the government’s deadly policy. As more than1,000,000 have signed a petition for impeachment and backroom maneuvers by the military and political elite to discipline Bolsonaro prove unsuccessful, Brazilians are on edge. And in a country whose majority black population has only limited access to health care and suffers from extraordinary rates of poverty, what Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor calls The Black Plague for African-Americans may prove even more deadly in Brazil.
Bolsonaro’s performance during the health crisis has been widely criticized, a fact confirmed by all opinion polls. The president embarked on a denialist and criminal policy with respect to the coronavirus, one that failed to recognize the importance of social isolation and mass testing as the main measures to prevent extensive Covid-19 contagion.
Throughout the crisis, Mandetta fluctuated between advocating social isolation and adapting to Bolsonaro’s policy. For this reason, even though he hesitated, Mandetta earned the highest approval rating among government officials.
His forced resignation demonstrates that Bolsonaro will not accept anyone in his government who defends, even if only partially, the isolation measures indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
We have nothing in common with Mandetta politically – a politician from the Democrats (DEM), an advocate for privatization of public health, and until now an ally of the extreme right – but we must denounce his removal because it represents another step forward in Bolsonaro’s policy that will lead to a massacre. This government deliberately intensifying a genocide of the Afro-Brazilian population in a country where 80 percent of those who use the Public Health System (SUS) identify themselves as black men and women.
Brazil faces two deadly threats: the new coronavirus and a genocidal president who is facilitating the spread of disease, misery, and unemployment. Bolsonaro must be removed from power as soon as possible as a precondition for saving our lives, our jobs and wages, and our rights. Once again, we must return to our windows and balconies to raise out voices and shout: Bolsonaro out!
At the same time, we believe it is necessary to call for new, direct, and free presidential elections as soon as possible. Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão is a far-right general who has always defended the dictatorship, he is not an alternative. We must not put our trust any general. The Brazilian people must exercise their democratic right to elect a new government to face this very serious health, economic, and social crisis.
We believe that a united left must present an independent political alternative, in order to have a government of, by, and for the exploited and oppressed. Although they differ in various ways, both the Bolsonarist neo-fascism and the traditional rightwing – represented by the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) and the Democratis (DEM) – want to make the working class pay the bill for this crisis.
Save people, not profits!
Bolsonaro Out Now!