With Brazil surpassing 100,000 Covid-19 confirmed cases and registered over 10,000 new infections a day, much of the population is growing frightened and pleading for fellow Brazilians to obey social isolation rules. But one Brazilian in particular — who happens to be the president — seems less keen on keeping people at home. With Brazil regarded as the world’s new epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jair Bolsonaro continues to flout World Health Organization recommendations, often meeting with his supporters on the ramp outside the presidential palace. If exposing people to the risk wasn’t enough, let’s remember that the president is legally required to publish his Covid-19 test results, but he refuses to.
Meanwhile, there are some curious elements to these demonstrations in front of Mr. Bolsonaro’s place of business. At the weekend, several of the president’s supporters were seen holding U.S. and Israeli flags instead of the Brazilian flag. For a government that has “Brazil Above Everything” as its motto, that sounds a bit incoherent. Mr. Bolsonaro gloats of having a close friendship with U.S. President Donald Trump, though some would call it more of an abusive relationship.
In bilateral meetings, Brazil caved to many of the U.S.’s demands, such as giving up its status as a developing nation at the World Trade Organization and agreeing to more access for American pork and wheat in Brazil. In return, the U.S. would vouch for Brazil to become a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
But when push came to shove, the White House only backed the accession of Argentina and Romania. In December, Mr. Trump even announced he would raise tariffs on Brazilian steel as punishment for what he considered to be a voluntary effort of the Brazilian government to devalue its currency, which was not the case.
Now, Mr. Trump is sending ventilators to Mexico and Paraguay, two countries with whom the U.S has developed nothing but a normal diplomatic relation. Yet Brazil hasn’t received any such help, despite having a subservient leader who keeps telling people to go out and live a normal life.
“Denial and subservience” is the real motto. And Uncle Jair wants you to help him!