A president and the 100 dead from Covid-19

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By Katia Gerab Baggio*

Bolsonaro does not govern, he does not preside, he just lies and deceives those who are deceived, by idolatry or bad faith

If Jair Bolsonaro had actually acted as President of the Republic, he would have spoken to the Brazilian population, on Saturday, August 8, on national television, through television, radio and internet stations.

But he only holds office, he does not act as president, he does not govern. Therefore, he does not deserve to be called president, despite being elected (using spurious methods, as has already been proven). Therefore, there is no government, but misgovernment.

And what would a de facto president say on national television, at this time when the pandemic has killed 100.000 people in Brazil (in fact, much more, due to underreporting on death certificates)?

I would sincerely regret the deaths and offer condolences to the bereaved families.

But, above all, it would render the Brazilian population accountable for all the measures already taken to combat the spread of the pandemic, improve care for patients (from covid-19 and other illnesses) through the structure of the SUS, and reactivate the economy. , in deep crisis.

In addition, it would provide information, in the clearest possible way, on the measures that would be adopted in the coming months, both in terms of public health, economic and social policies.

It would also hold press conferences, with journalists free to ask questions.

As none of that happens, and Jair does not allow questions — on the contrary, he attacks journalists (and all people who object to his rude and authoritarian methods and manners) with offenses and verbal violence —, there is no de facto democracy in Brazil today.

And what does Bolsonaro do? Just lives on the internet, with its truncated speech and disconnected vocabulary, to advertise a drug with no proven efficacy against covid-19. in your last live, on Thursday, August 6 — alongside the Minister of Health, active-duty general Eduardo Pazuello (interim for almost three months, who militarized the ministry in the midst of the pandemic) —, said only that he “regrets all the deaths” and added: “but let's get on with life and look for a way to get out of this problem”.

This is not an attitude of a President of the Republic. It's bar talk, corner talk, without any commitment to anything. And, much less, with the nation.

Bolsonaro does not govern, he does not preside, he just lies and deceives those who are deceived, out of idolatry or bad faith.

How to explain that millions of Brazilian men and women continue to support “that there” — according to several opinion polls —, after more than 19 months of mismanagement by an unqualified man who could never hold the position of President of the Republic? A guy who mocks and disdains the most serious problems of the population?

There were consecutive years of criminalization of politics and deconstruction of democratic values, in which the serpent's egg of neo-fascism was hatched. And there are millions receiving emergency aid, in a moment of despair and dismay.

May we have no illusions. Rebuilding democracy will not be a simple or easy task. It will be long and painful.

This period will be marked, in Brazilian history, by tragedy and the most absolute shame.

And, once again, the vast majority of the Brazilian military — by action or omission — will be co-responsible for the tragedy and shame.

* Katia Gerab Baggio Professor of History of the Americas at the Federal University of Minas Gerais – UFMG

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