Power

Behind Bolsonaro’s threats to leave the World Health Organization

After Donald Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. out of the WHO, Jair Bolsonaro threatened to do the same, but for purely ideological reasons

bolsonaro who Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. Photo: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

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...

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