Explaining Brazil #174: The extent of Bolsonaro’s pandemic crimes

Members of the Covid hearings committee disagree on whether to indict President Jair Bolsonaro for genocide against indigenous groups and murder

We say in Brazil that everyone knows how parliamentary inquiries start, but no one knows how they end. That has been particularly true about the Senate’s Covid inquiry, tasked with investigating President Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response.

Minutes from Health Ministry meetings showed that the Brazilian government insisted on a denialist approach to the pandemic despite knowing that lockdowns were the best strategy — even in economic terms.

And then there was the Covaxin scandal, which showed that government officials were pushing to purchase a sketchy vaccine with several proven immunizers available on the market — with allegations and circumstantial evidence showing Health Ministry officials may have received bribes in that process.

We also found out about a terribly unethical chloroquine trial, in which patients were not told they were being given the controversial antimalarial drug to treat their Covid-19 infection, in what is one of the biggest health scandals in recent Brazilian history.

But we don’t know where the Covid inquiry will go from here, as members of the hearings committee disagree on just how far they should take their findings.

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  • Amanda Audi is a Brasília correspondent for The Brazilian Report. She is the former executive director of Congresso em Foco and worked as a reporter for The Intercept Brasil, Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo, Gazeta do Povo, Poder360, among others. In 2019, she won the Comunique-se Award for best-written media reporter and won the Mulher Imprensa award for web journalism in 2020

This episode used the music “Infados” by Kevin MacLeod.

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