The Senate’s inquiry into the Jair Bolsonaro administration’s pandemic response is now fully underway, but it started not with a bang, but with a whimper. However, while we have yet to see any bombastic revelations so far, the hearings committee’s first depositions paint an unflattering picture of a president with little regard for science, who was willing to risk thousands of lives to keep his political support intact.
Many hope this inquiry will be the silver bullet that leads to Bolsonaro’s impeachment, or destroys his reputation ahead of the 2022 election, making him a beatable opponent.
Will that strategy pay off? Or will Bolsonaro once again display his electoral resilience and come out on top?
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- Filipe Campante is an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is interested in political economy, development economics, and urban/regional issues. His research looks at what constrains politicians and policymakers beyond formal checks and balances: cultural norms, institutions, media, political protest.
- Follow our Covid-19 live blog to keep up to date with the most important news related to the pandemic in Brazil and Latin America. And our Insider Live Blog, with the most relevant pieces of news on Brazilian politics.
- Former Health Minister Mandetta spoke before the committee for nearly seven hours last week. It was a tepid outing, but showed the extent of Bolsonaro’s Covid-19 denialism.
- If the Covid hearings committee is going to see any major revelations, one might expect them to come from Eduardo Pazuello, who served as Health Minister between May 2020 and March 2021. Members of the administration see Mr. Pazuello as a “walking time bomb.” His fears of being abandoned by the government could cause him to go rogue.
- A lack of vaccines has been one of the weakest points of Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response. Latin America, in general, is suffering with few jabs and has been at the mercy of geopolitical games by superpowers.
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