Lula: “Thankfully, nature created the coronavirus”

Lula: "Thankfully, nature created the coronavirus"
Lula speaks to supporters. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva caused a frenzy on social media when trying to make a point about the importance of state-financed health services. During a video-conference with left-wing magazine Carta Capital, the former leader said the following about the pandemic that has killed almost 19,000 Brazilians:

“I see these people’s message, when I see them thinking it’s nice to ‘have to sell everything that is state-owned,’ that ‘anything state-owned is terrible.’  Thankfully, nature, against human will, created this monster called the coronavirus. Because this monster allows the blind to see that only the state is capable of solving some crises. This coronavirus crisis, only the state can solve it — as it was in 2008.”

You can watch the clip (in Portuguese), for yourself.

After backlash, Lula apologized. He said his remarks were “out of touch” and “unfortunate,” adding that he was trying to stress the importance of Brazil’s public health service.

On social media, a wide range of politicians compared Lula’s remarks to those of Jair Bolsonaro — recalling when the president dismissively answered “so what?” to a question about the mounting number of Covid-19 deaths. They promoted the term “Bolsopetismo,” a portmanteau of the words Bolsonaro and petismo, that is, one who supports the Workers’ Party, known in Brazil by the acronym PT.

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