Bolsonaro ally admits to advising president but denies “parallel health ministry”

president Osmar Terra. Photo: Edilson Rodrigues/SF/ACS/CC BY 4.0
Osmar Terra. Photo: Edilson Rodrigues/SF/ACS/CC BY 4.0

The Senate’s Covid hearings committee is questioning Congressman Osmar Terra today. A physician, he is accused of being a member of the government’s so-called “unofficial Health Ministry,” a committee made up of doctors and politicians who advised President Jair Bolsonaro on pandemic-related matters — but held no title within the administration.

“The relationship I share with the president is one of friendship. I was a cabinet minister. I like the president. When he asks me something, I say my piece about it,” said Mr. Terra. “The president speaks his mind, the way he understands it. I have no power over the president,” he says. Osmar Terra added that Mr. Bolsonaro listens to several experts before forming his opinion, but that this habit “doesn’t mean there is a parallel cabinet.”

A bonafide Covid denialist, Mr. Terra said in April 2020 that the pandemic was about to end. “The epidemic is not falling, it’s plummeting. The number of new cases is going down at an astonishing pace. Two, three more weeks, and it’s over. […] It’s time to celebrate.” 

That was 498,500 deaths ago.