“There’s plenty of competition, but the most ineffective world leader responding to coronavirus right now goes to Brazil President [Jair] Bolsonaro. This weekend he’s blasting governors taking lockdown measures. Will seriously damage his mandate,” tweeted on Monday Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm.
Mr. Bremmer is probably right. Mr. Bolsonaro over the last few days has actively dismissed the dangers of the Covid-19 outbreak, endorsed anti-democrat street protests against lawmakers and Supreme Court justices (greeting and touching supporters––directly exposing as many as 300 to the virus––despite 22 members of his entourage on a recent trip to the U.S. testing positive for the virus), and has undermined the actions of his Health Ministry—donating protection masks and respirators to Italy while local hospitals report a lack of equipment. And according to a report, he even “didn’t read or ignored” a January intelligence memo alerting him to the potential risks of a pandemic.
However, the Brazilian leader perhaps has a rival for this vaunted title: left-wing Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO.