Any given day

Image_Elyeser Szturm

By Iury Tavares*

For Bolsonarists, the mockery that Bolsonaro pours out over the mourning of others is irrelevant – and, in a way, those who seek to reconnect with that floating third should not dedicate great energy against this rhetoric

It's a day like any other.

A video shows bodies piled up on the floor of an UPA in Belém[I]. Without time and space, Manaus opens mass graves to bury its victims[ii]. With tranquility, the Minister of Health says that the country can reach 1.000 daily deaths[iii].

It's a day like any other.

A hearse changes the route so that a mother can say goodbye to her son, who died from Covid-19, in Amapá[iv]. The Minister of Health shows that he does not know where to buy respirators abroad[v]. On the outskirts of São Paulo, cases grow 47% in one week[vi].

It's another day like any other when Brazil registers 5.000 lives lost to Covid-19 and the President says “So what? Am sorry. What do you want me to do? I am the Messiah, but I don't do miracles”[vii].

Ten days later, there are already more than 10.000 corpses[viii]. In the Rio favelas, deaths were multiplied by ten in one month[ix]. An elderly person spends a week sitting down waiting for an ICU bed. die in the chair[X].

The resigned Minister of Justice accuses the President of trying to interfere in the Federal Police, while he casually admits to having asked for an advantage to take office[xi]. But that was just another day like any other day.

In queues deep into the night, help for just R$ 600 proves to be as risky as living[xii]. The plan that promises to bring economic growth back in seven slides has no numbers[xiii]. The President calls the Federal Revenue to forgive the debts of an evangelical church[xiv].

And another day ends like any other.

Aldir, Moreira, João Gilberto, Migliaccio, Rubem die, but “Humanity never stops dying. If you say life, there is death on the side.” After all, all this “unbearable morbidity”[xv] for what? In a forward current, it seems that all of Brazil has joined hands in a line to the precipice.

The Chief Executive rides a jet-ski, causes crowds and celebrates anti-democratic demonstrations, in which there are those who invoke freedom of expression to attack the press and defend the Institutional Act that suspends freedom of expression itself.

Please let this Sunday end like any other.


Those who look at Brazil do not recognize it in its powers and vocations. Under a kind of macabre torpor, the country observes piled up bodies, empty wakes, unilateral cuts in wages, layoffs, atrocious ironies. The ground opens up at the feet of Brazilians. Shortness of breath. What else needs to happen?

The escalation of improprieties is staggering. Those who seek to find meaning are lost, as there was not enough time to rationalize a collective experience of an unprecedented dimension for this generation, aggravated by governmental inconsequence and stupidity – discussed in previous articles. Between funeral updates, queues at banks, denunciations of illegalities, lack of beds, the public spirit can anesthetize itself as a way to survive. Dead people turn numbers. Isolation becomes a detriment. The temptation to support the resumption of “normal life” is cunning, acts by desensitizing the real gravity of what the world faces and, in the neoliberal context, reproduces social inequality. Nothing is more common for those who are isolated in home office, in a middle-class neighborhood, press for reopening, while informal people crowded with their families in two rooms are precisely those defending isolation. After all, Brazil is fine: “The peak of the disease has already passed when we analyze the middle class, upper middle class. The challenge is that Brazil is a country with a lot of community, a lot of favelas, which ends up making the whole process difficult”[xvi]. Damn poor people, always them!

The alert to resist desensitization is necessary and urgent because it is the force that should drive the reaction to a president who confuses leadership with concentration of power, accompanied by generous portions of obscurantism and patrimonialism. As pointed out by Jânio de Freitas[xvii], nothing changes: the president speaks atrocities, the institutions reverberate, the president backs off and blames the press for distorting his speeches. And so, the social fabric gets used to the inhumanity of Bolsonarist discourse, with the aggressions, with the stimulus to disruption. Bolsonaro demonstrates his belief that, because he was elected, there could be no limitations on his will: “I am in charge”[xviii], “I am, indeed, the Constitution”[xx]. In the opposite direction, Angela Merkel (Germany) and António Costa (Portugal) acted as a sober and unifying voice and saw their approval grow[xx], as well as Alberto Fernández (Argentina) who extended the quarantine and framed businessmen[xxx]. If, on the one hand, the President would like to succeed in expanding state control, as done in Hungary, Poland, Russia and Turkey[xxiii], is placed alongside Belarus, Nicaragua and Turkmenistan[xxiii] in pandemic denial. It is difficult to say which country would be satisfied with posing with such groupmates in terms of quality of democracy or health crisis management.

Like someone stepping on eggshells, the Legislative and Judiciary calibrate the containment vector. The Federal Supreme Court recognized the competence of States and Municipalities to determine the isolation rules and suspended the appointment of Alexandre Ramagem to the General Directorate of the Federal Police, on suspicion of misuse of purpose. Congress worked to approve the emergency aid and increased the amount paid to R$600 – it is worth remembering that the government's initial proposal was R$200. revenue drop. Without any type of recomposition, there could be a shortage of money to keep the public machine running. Thus, the Legislature and the Judiciary, with caution, force Bolsonaro to do exactly what he does not want: to govern.

On another latent front, do the impeachment moving forward requires precise political calculation. As painful and cruel as it may be, it is necessary to build certainty that the process will advance – at the expense of more time, which means more deaths – otherwise such an effort will be frustrated and will re-energize the Bolsonarist base. Given the Brazilian history, it is not possible to remove a President with 30% approval[xxv]. With that, the reintroduction of the physiological centrão to the federal machine can have a double effect: guaranteeing the minimum of votes to block the impediment and forming a bloc to approve authoritarian proposals[xxiv] of the government under the discourse of persecution. The risk of a failed impeachment process could be high for Brazilian democracy.

Aside from discussions about impeachment or emergency measures, opposition forces seem neutralized. His proposals and ideas do not reverberate. The Bolsonarist strategy of distributing polemics, incidents and illicit acts monopolizes the narrative. The government itself acts in opposition to itself. The president's retreats are evidence of a calculated cooldown to, shortly afterwards, increase pressure and show his teeth. There is no respite period. It's a permanent conflict, where you have to denounce new enemies all the time or rehash enemies: PT, Moro, TV Globo, Congress, WHO, the Supreme Court. However, to be fair, the media does not make room for opposition representatives, as it should. In solid democracies, the least that the media do is to pass on government actions to opponents. Last year, for example, during the rise in deforestation in the Amazon, how many times did you listen to Marina Silva, one of the most relevant voices in the world on the subject?

The scenario is no different in the political crisis. Rarely, center or left actors are consulted. Normally, the counterpoint is made by Maia, Doria, Witzel, normalizing the debate completely to the right of the political spectrum. Naturally, the left would play the role of opposition, but a moderate center, since, as a result of the corruption scandals, there is still resistance from the left[xxv]. The difficulty, in this case, is that, traditionally, the center does not have great potential for social mobilization. Even so, there is an opportunity for the action of thoughtful voices that connect with the electorate lost in 2018 from the exposure of the unpreparedness of the Bolsonarist faction uninterested in administering the res publica. The priority should be on propositional issues, showing evidence of the mistakes made and possible alternative public policies. Note that the federal government only sent 11% of the promised ICU kits to the states[xxviii]. Thus, the effort must be released from the moral axis. Focusing on behavioral or identity guidelines, for example, would mean not having learned anything from the last election, as it is in the low moralism that Bolsonarism reaffirms itself.

The pandemic also imposes a new situational context for mobilization. The new rules make it impossible to use a tool that the left knows well: street demonstrations. Ironically, now, it is organized Bolsonarism that makes use of the technique. Stimulated by the President to go out into the cities, the group reigns noisy and histrionic, since, sensibly, those who oppose the reopening at any cost do not march in marches. In the same sense, the call for a policy of proximity, eye to eye, after the 2018 defeat, should not be recovered anytime soon. Without large demonstrations, without caravans, without direct contact, the political clash will inexorably migrate to another arena.

It will be necessary to strengthen the counterpoint in the field where the extreme right is comfortable and efficient, as they have already recognized the centrality of social networks. That's why they encourage speech against the traditional press. O common brazilian shifted his attention to influencers on YouTube, profiles on Twitter, memes on WhatsApp. The left needs to make an effort to advance over territory it had a right to know-how until a few years ago, while the moderate center What emerges from escaping polarization needs to find cohesion if it wants to be competitive. Nor should the path to building an effective alternative slip into a digitally-signaled disinformation machine. The massive and violent dissemination of fake news by robots on social networks set the dangerous tone for the union between democracy and artificial intelligence[xxviii].

In addition, it is also possible to use a digital activism to put pressure on representatives. If politicians are unable to measure the population's moods by demonstrations, voters can, in the period of social isolation, intensify emails, demands for social networks, signatures of petitions. It may be a simple or even naive action, but it is a pressure point available to signal existing discontent. Equally, focus should be placed on who applies the law. The limits for Bolsonarist abuses are in respect for the Constitution, applied by the Judiciary. It is important to remember, even if it is obvious, that the Brazilian Magna Carta enshrines the powers of the Union as independent and harmonious with each other, in which each one has the capacity to limit the action of the others. Reckless interference with another Power is pernicious, but when it prevents abuse it is perfectly legal.

It is clear that the conjectures described so far for confronting Bolsonarist pusillanimity are under stress in the completely adverse context of the Covid-19 pandemic. If, in pre-crisis conditions, it was already imperative that political forces act in a coordinated way to contain abuses, in the current situation, it is even more urgent. Omission costs lives. With this, the institutionalities need to be considered, but not impeding the containment of the necropolitics ongoing.

For Bolsonarists, the mockery that Bolsonaro pours out over the mourning of others is irrelevant – and, in a way, those who seek to reconnect with that floating third should not dedicate great energy against this rhetoric. As much as it is devastating to recognize, the portion that shares the same thoughts already existed at family barbecues, at bar tables, in conversation on the sidewalk, but without a representative or party capable of shamelessly shouting what they only confessed to themselves. in the dark of the room. Bolsonaro never hid his true face. If there's one thing you can't accuse him of, it's being a hoax.

*Iury Tavares Master in Political Science and International Relations from Universidade Nova de Lisboa.


[i] SANTIAGO, Abinoan. Video shows bodies with suspected covid-19 on the floor of the UPA in Belém. 2020. Available at: -de-upa-de-belem.htm. Accessed on: 24 Apr. 2020.

[ii] COSTA, Flávio; REBELLO, Aiuri. After boom in burials, Manaus opens mass graves for victims of covid-19. 2020. Available at: -de-covid-19.htm. Accessed on: 21 Apr. 2020.

[iii] UOL (São Paulo) (ed.). Covid-19: Teich warns that it is possible to reach 1.000 deaths per day in Brazil. 2020. Available at: -deaths-per-day.htm. Accessed on: 30 Apr. 2020.

[iv] SANTIAGO, Abinoan. Covid: hearse with victim changes path for mother to say goodbye to her son. 2020. Available at: -ao-son.htm. Accessed on: 12 Apr. 2020.

[v] MATTOSO, Camilla. In a tutored meeting, governors see the Minister of Health lost and collapsing because of respirators: The impression was unanimous of the strong control imposed by Bolsonaro on Teich, who says he cannot buy equipment abroad. Newspaper. Sao Paulo, p. 1-1. 01 May 2020. Available at: Ministro-da-saude-perdido-e-colapso -because-of-breathers.shtml. Accessed on: 01 May 2020.

[vi] GOMES, Rodrigo. Covid-19 cases on the outskirts of São Paulo skyrocket 45% in a week: the 20 richest neighborhoods had an increase of 20%. increase in deaths from covid-19 and suspected cases is also greater among the poorest. The 20 richest neighborhoods had an increase of 20%. Increase in deaths from covid-19 and suspected cases is also greater among the poorest. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 29 Apr. 2020.

[vii] GARCIA, Gustavo; GOMES, Pedro Henrique; VIANA, Hamanda. 'And? Am sorry. What do you want me to do? ', says Bolsonaro about deaths from the coronavirus; 'I am the Messiah, but I don't do miracles': This Tuesday, Brazil totaled 5.017 deaths from Covid-19, according to official figures, and surpassed the total number of deaths in China, the country of origin of the coronavirus pandemic. 2020. Available at: -por-coronavirus-no-brasil.ghtml. Accessed on: 28 Apr. 2020.

[viii] VEJA (São Paulo) (ed.). Brazil surpasses milestone of 10.000 deaths from coronavirus: There were 730 new deaths in the last 24 hours and the total reached 10.627; confirmed cases rise to 155.939. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 09 May 2020.

[ix] BARRETO FILHO, Herculano. Covid: deaths advance in favelas and surpass the 3rd city with the most deaths in RJ. 2020. Available at: -one-month.htm. Accessed on: May 10, 2020

[X] ÁVILA, Edimilson. Elderly man with suspected Covid-19 dies in hospital in RJ after spending days in a chair: Luiz Edmundo, 70 years old, ended up dying without getting a place in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 2020. Available at: -rj-after-staying-in-chair-days.ghtml. Accessed on: 08 May 2020.

[xi] PERON, Isadora; CAMAROTO, Murillo; VIEIRA, André Guilherme. Moro resigns and reveals Bolsonaro's 'political interference' in the Federal Police: The former minister stated that “the president said more than once that he wanted to have someone he could call and collect information” in the PF. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 24 Apr. 2020.

[xii] CASTRO, Natalia. Taxpayers spend the night under the rain in RJ in search of emergency aid of R$ 600. 2020. Available at: -search-of-auxilio-emergencial-de-r-600.ghtml. Accessed on: May 07, 2020.

[xiii] KUPFER, Jose Paulo. Pro-Brasil is still just a PowerPoint, but Guedes has already closed the door. 2020. Available at: -the-gate-of-guedes.htm. Accessed on: 22 Apr. 2020.

[xiv] TOMAZELLI, Idiana; FERNANDES, Adriana. Bolsonaro pressures Federal Revenue to forgive debts of evangelical church: The International Church of Graça de Deus, founded by RR Soares, accumulates R$ 144 million in debts, in addition to two processes of R$ 44 million in Carf; agency resists the request. 2020. Available at:,bolsonaro-pressiona-receita-federal-a-perdoar-dividas-de-igreja-evangelica,70003287839. Accessed on: 30 Apr. 2020.

[xv] MOURA, Edward. Regina Duarte sings 'Pra Frente Brasil' and complains about the morbidity of the coronavirus: 'You have to look forward, you have to love the country' said the secretary, in a controversial interview with CNN Brasil. Newspaper. São Paulo. May 07, 2020. Available at: -brings-unbearable-morbidity.shtml. Accessed on: 08 May 2020.

[xvi] MOURA, Julia. Peak of Covid-19 in the upper classes is over; the challenge is that Brazil has a lot of favelas, says president of XP: Benchimol assesses which country is doing well in the measures to control the pandemic. Newspaper. São Paulo. May 05, 2020. Available at: -altas-ja-passou-says-president-of-xp.shtml. Accessed on: 10 May 2020.

[xvii] FERNANDES, Bob. Jânio de Freitas: “Bolsonaro’s conduct is illegal, threatening and extremely dangerous, unacceptable”. Youtube, 06 May 2020. Available at <>. Accessed on: 10 May 2020.

[xviii] URIBE, Gustavo et al. 'I'm in charge', says Bolsonaro when announcing an appeal against the decision of the STF that barred Ramagem in the PF: President disavowed the Attorney General's Office, which stated that it would not appeal the suspension of the appointment. Newspaper. São Paulo. 29 Apr. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 29 Apr. 2020.

[xx] CARVALHO, Daniel. I am the Constitution, says Bolsonaro when defending democracy and freedom one day after a pro-military coup act: After criticism from various sectors, such as political leaders and ministers of the Supreme Court, the president denied being in favor of AI-5. Newspaper. São Paulo. 20 Apr. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 20 Apr. 2020.

[xx] LARGUESA, Antonio. Costa leads European popularity in managing the coronavirus: In a sort of ranking assembled from polls also carried out in Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany, the Portuguese prime minister appears at the top of popular confidence in the response to the covid-19 crisis. 06. Business Journal. Lisbon. 2020 Jun. 07. Available at: Accessed on: 2020 Apr. XNUMX.

[xxx] RESENDE, Márcio. Argentine president extends total isolation and warns businessmen against layoffs. RFI. Issy Les Moulineaux. 30 mar. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 01 May 2020.

[xxiii] BBC NEWS MUNDO (Brazil) (ed.). European leaders who are using the pandemic to concentrate more power: Some European leaders are taking advantage of the current public health crisis to stifle dissent and strengthen their power. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 01 May 2020.

[xxiii] TUON, Ligia. Economist: Bolsonaro's stance on Covid-19 could be the beginning of his end: British magazine says that president isolates himself in the wrong way in a group of denialists today summarized by the leaders of Belarus, Turkmenistan and Nicaragua. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 01 May 2020.

[xxv] GIELOW, Igor. Support for impeachment reaches Bolsonaro early, but not yet at the level of Collor and Dilma, indicates Datafolha: Desire for the process measured by the institute shows similarities and differences between presidents. Newspaper. São Paulo. 01 May 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 01 May 2020.

[xxiv] BARROS, Celso Rocha de. Bolsonaro promotes Brazilian corruption from theft to armed robbery: President is buying the center to approve authoritarian agendas and, above all, to avoid impeachment. Newspaper. São Paulo. May 11, 2020. Available at: Accessed on: May 11, 2020.

[xxv] Doria, Pedro. Conversations with the Environment: Marco Aurelio Ruediger. Youtube, 30 April 2020. Available at <>. Accessed on: 02 May 2020.

[xxviii] VARGAS, Mateus et al. Coronavirus: federal government only sent 11% of promised ICU kits to states. 2020. Available at: -promised.htm. Accessed on: 01 May 2020.

[xxviii] If candidates manipulated voters in several countries, specialists are already especially concerned about the deepfake – technique that can replace faces and voices in realistic videos.

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