Coronavirus

Bolsonaro’s beef with governors reaches new highs

A lack of political coordination is preventing Brazil from tackling the coronavirus crisis

governors President Jair Bolsonaro (left) and São Paulo Governor João Doria. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR
President Jair Bolsonaro (left) and São Paulo Governor João Doria. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Even before the coronavirus outbreak reached Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro had a fractious relationship with state governors. But the debate about the right approach to contain the pandemic brought the situation to a boiling point. Since mid-March, Bolsonaro has been pushing for the relaxation of quarantine rules across the country, in order to “avoid a full-scale economic collapse.” On the opposing side, many governors insist the restrictive measures are necessary to contain the pandemic. 

Some of the highlights of this back-and-forth sparring include the president calling governors “job exterminators,” and 20 of 27 state administrators issuing a joint open letter...

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