The coronavirus pandemic is one of the most challenging moments in the history of the World Health Organization (WHO). Beyond the responsibility of guiding the global response to the virus outbreak, since the first confirmed cases appeared in China the institution has been dealing with the distrust of several nations governed by right-wing populists — chiefly the U.S. and Brazil. On May 29, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was pulling his country from the organization. Days later, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro threatened to follow suit.
The most explicit threat happened on June 6, when Mr. Bolsonaro said the WHO is acting politically. “The U.S. left [the organization]. We are thinking about doing that in the future. Either the WHO works without ideology, or we will be on our way, too. We don’t need people from outside to give opinions on health here.” The departure, however, would need to be approved by Congress — which would be, at best, a long shot.