sabotage and dissimulation

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By Roberto Amaral e Manuel Domingos Neto*

Bolsonaro maintains his ardent attachment to the project of destroying solidary traits of human coexistence that he nurtured throughout his life.da, and which persists, being now embraced by a reasonable portion of Brazilians.

On the night of March 31, the President of the Republic pretended to change his position, starting to endorse the recommendations of the World Health Organization for people to stay at home. He pretended to abandon the foolishness and villainy that had quickly cast him as an execrable figure on the international scene. He pretended to embrace science, abandon flat-Earther raving, and show empathy. He admitted to liking General Pujol, commander of the Army, repeating a phrase from his recent demonstration. He has also tried, with extreme difficulty, to pretend that he rules.

Naive and hasty people saw his speech on national television as a “retreat” in the face of society's growing reaction of repudiation; others perceived a “framing” by the military. There were also those who understood that the President was trying to circumvent the trampling carried out by congressmen, governors, mayors, prosecutors, judges and generals, all seeking to act to alleviate the suffering of the population.

Contradicted by the mainstream media and censored by the owners of social networks, Bolsonaro, despite the game of scene, the arrangement of words and phrases, actually did not back down: he persisted in the belief that the “little flu” cannot “stop Brazil” and that everyone must go back to work.

It is a possible conclusion if we consider two basic aspects: the manipulation of the WHO director's speech and the criminal postponement of the delivery of the necessary resources to keep people at home. The WHO guideline, through the mouth of Tedros Adhanom, its director general, is that States must guarantee the most vulnerable means of survival at home. Otherwise, isolation would not be feasible. Impossible millions of people accept to die of hunger without going to the streets. Bolsonaro omitted the most relevant part of the WHO leader's speech.

On the morning of the first day of April, he woke up opening batteries against the governors and exempting himself from responsibility for the tribulations experienced by the people. Bolsonaro concealed parliamentary initiatives and judicial decisions to release the necessary resources to face the virus. The parliamentarians immediately denounced the government's delay in sanctioning the pertinent decree approved by the Chamber of Deputies.

In practice, this delay sabotages and overrides the isolation guidance. Millions of formal and informal workers will not resist prisoners. Small service companies will not be able to resist a stoppage of a few more days. Resources need to be released immediately, as well as basic food baskets for the millions of Brazilians clustered in unhealthy conditions on the outskirts of cities.

Bolsonaro's problem is not just his terrorist nature, well known to his instructors in military schools, or his notorious intellectual lack of preparation. Nor did his remarkable inability to govern or his ineptitude for negotiation and political understanding. The President's problem is not yet his extreme reactionism, his culture of hate, his aversion to what is different.

Bolsonaro's problem is his ardent attachment to the project of destroying solidary traits of human coexistence that he nurtured throughout his life, and that persists embraced by a reasonable portion of Brazilians. The man is a sociopath who, to the astonishment of many who thought they knew Brazilian society well, finds followers. A significant contingent persists, enthusiastically, supporting Bolsonaro.

A recent survey commissioned by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo indicates that 45% of Brazilians are against the impeachment of the President. This position is endorsed by 53% of those earning between 5 and 10 thousand reais. Support among evangelicals is skyrocketing: 69% reject the idea. While 55% of those who declared themselves Catholics are in favor of impeachment, only 25% of those who present themselves as evangelicals accept it.

According to the survey, support for impeachment recorded a slight increase from 44.8% to 47.7% between March 18 and 25, despite inaction in the face of the terrifying news of the effects of Covid-19, the commitment of most governors and mayors to enlighten society about the threats hanging over everyone and the fact that 84% of the population reveal fear of losing friends and family due to the disease.

Women are stronger than men in support of impeachment. The same for Northeasterners, regarding Southerners and Southeasterners. In this case, there is a reflection of the joint action of the governors, in addition to the fact that it has always been the Northeast that, since the elections, rejects Bolsonaro more firmly. While 55% of Northeasterners want impeachment, only 38% of Southerners support this initiative.

Society is stressed: 75% of respondents are in a panic. Those who are afraid of dying are 39% and those who are afraid of catching the disease are 36%. Many still do not feel their jobs are threatened. Only 9% say they have already lost their job. Consistently, the biggest concern is with people's lives (72%) and only 21% prioritize the economy.

Despite its magnitude, the pandemic has yet to spur perceptions of economic cataclysm. For 43% of Brazilians, the crisis has not yet had an impact on their income, but 61% expect a recession later this year. Data related to income reveal the collective perception. Supporters of the impeachment are the majority only among those who receive up to two thousand reais. As incomes increase, so do those who want Bolsonaro to remain.

From the revelations of the research commissioned by the Sheet, the most significant for reflection on the immediate future, which demands political arrangements to face a crisis of as yet uncalculated proportions, concerns the image of leaders. Without political references, it is difficult to imagine an emergency understanding legitimized by society. The poll paints a very favorable picture for conservatives.

For the question “Do you have a positive or negative image of these political leaders?”, the survey presented a list of nine names. Moro is seen positively by 53% of those surveyed, well above second place, his boss Jair Bolsonaro, who ties with Paulo Guedes, both with 39% of a positive image. Lula is in fourth place, with 33% and Fernando Haddad with 27%.

The other names mentioned, with the exception of Ciro Gomes (24%), form the trio of “new leaders”, all from the right field: Luciano Hulk (21%), Rodrigo Maia and João Dória, both with 20%.

This panorama, as a whole, should change quickly in view of the predictions of epidemiologists. News about the spread of the disease in the United States will certainly hit Brazilians more than the calamities in Italy and Spain. Everything indicates that the command of the Army foresees earthquakes of great dimensions. General Pujol told his commanders that the fight against the pandemic would be the most important mission of his generation.

Analysts are divided in their interpretation of his speech. Some consider that, even contradicting his superior, in this case, the captain removed from the ranks and elected president, Pujol lent him support. The fact that no one in their right mind can deny is that Bolsonaro, the arsonist provocateur, is an obstacle to the establishment of a minimally reasonable government action in a crisis of these dimensions.

Hospitals have not yet collapsed and the dead are being buried in an orderly manner. How will society react to the rapid deterioration of the coming days? If, as some say, the Bolsonaro government died, it was not buried. Who rules, then?

On the afternoon of April XNUMX, in an official statement on the Planalto, Bolsonaro seemed not to know what he was saying or doing. The President appeared like a bewildered puppet, surrounded by generals. Paulo Guedes spoke on his behalf, promising provisional measures, providing for transfers to states and municipalities. Resources are being squeezed out by forceps.

We will soon see if the “military guardianship”, as some say, contains the Cavalão, nickname that the academic colleagues gave to the insane figure who today pretends to preside over the Republic.

* Roberto Amaral he is a former president of the PSB and former minister of Science and Technology.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired UFC/UFF professor, former president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and former vice president of CNPq.

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