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“Bolsonaro is a serial killer,” says leading opposition figure

. Jan 21, 2021
bolsonaro is a serial killer says flavio dino Maranhão Governor Flávio Dino. Photo: Valter Campanato/ABr

Countless labels have been used to describe President Jair Bolsonaro since he took office in January 2019, the majority of which have not been charitable to the far-right head of state. Accused of gross negligence in his government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Bolsonaro is seeing his once steadfast popularity begin to slide. According to Flávio Dino, governor of northeastern state Maranhão and the leading figure in the opposition Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), no politician in the world has committed more crimes and issued more threats against the Constitution than Brazil’s president.

Calling Mr. Bolsonaro a “serial killer,” “unstable,” “inhuman,” and “sadistic,” Mr. Dino tells The Brazilian Report in an exclusive interview that there are more than enough reasons to impeach the president, but that the political mood is not yet conducive to removing the head of state.

“[Mr.] Bolsonaro is a serial killer. He violates the Constitution and the law in a reiterated fashion almost every day. It’s hard to think of a president or head of state in the history of this planet who has broken the rules, breached the Constitution, and committed as many crimes as Bolsonaro has,” stressed the Maranhão Governor.

While Mr. Dino’s criticism is not restricted to the coronavirus pandemic, he points out that Brazil has been fighting two enemies during the unprecedented health crisis: the virus itself, and President Bolsonaro’s denial of its severity.

“Bolsonaro thinks that the coronavirus doesn’t exist. He actually thinks that. This incident with the vaccine is a continuation of other episodes of negligence, with inputs, preventive measures, distancing, the use of masks. The vaccine is just another chapter in the book of Bolsonaro’s negligence.”

See the main highlights of the interview below:

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

</p> <h2>Coronavirus vaccination</h2> <p>&#8220;We cannot yet say that we have a national vaccination campaign. A campaign needs a beginning, middle, and end, a specific quantity, it has the objective of eradicating the disease. Here in Maranhão, for instance, we&#8217;re only going to immunize 1 percent of the population at this time. Of course, it is an important step and it gives peace of mind to health professionals. It&#8217;s a moment of relief. But in broader terms, a national campaign demands much more than this. We do not have continuity for the coronavirus vaccine and the truth is that no-one knows what is coming, absolutely no-one.</p> <p>In my opinion, at this stage, planning should first involve obtaining inputs for the Butantan Biological Institute to produce the vaccines, then solve the problems with AstraZeneca and India, and then analyze the Sputnik [vaccine], which has an agreement with [Brazilian pharmaceutical firm] União Química. The facts show that importing vaccines at this time is difficult, because everyone is trying to protect their own domestic markets. Brazil should have bought vaccines from Pfizer back in August. It didn&#8217;t, and that was a mistake.</p> <p>The strategy at this time should be boosting the Butantan Biological Institute. This path would allow us to manufacture vaccines in Brazil, and a country of our size needs to be fabricating them at home.&#8221;</p> <h2>Doria v. Bolsonaro: the politicization of the coronavirus vaccine</h2> <p>&#8220;All of the governors made demands with regards to the vaccine. The difference with [São Paulo Governor João] Doria is that he has something the others don&#8217;t, which is the Butantan Biological Institute, and that made a difference in practice. He invested, the scientists are from São Paulo, he is the one who pays their salaries.</p> <p>Thinking in terms of Brazil, the fact that he [invested in CoronaVac] <a href="https://brazilian.report/podcast/2020/10/21/podcast-electoral-calculations-around-covid-19-vaccine/">forced the federal government to do something</a> to this end. It&#8217;s not a matter of &#8220;ah, the opposition made a mistake and let Doria shine.&#8221; But the Butantan Biological Institute is in São Paulo and there was nothing more that we governors could have done to put pressure on the federal government. Doria acted appropriately.</p> <p>There is a big problem in the federal government which is that Bolsonaro <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2020/03/17/brazil-coronavirus-deniers-positions-power/">thinks that the coronavirus doesn&#8217;t exist</a>. He actually thinks that. This incident with the vaccine is a continuation of other episodes of negligence, with inputs, preventive measures, distancing, the use of masks. The vaccine is just another chapter in the book of Bolsonaro&#8217;s negligence.</p> <p>In his place, I&#8217;d try to change course, because his popularity is falling and I think it will fall even further. But it is Bolsonaro. I&#8217;m grounded in reality. He doesn&#8217;t focus on reasonability, common sense, or stability. He is unstable, and I don&#8217;t know what an unstable person would do faced with a political loss. I think he should reach out to China or Russia, but sincerely, I think that&#8217;s unlikely.&#8221;</p> <h2>Crisis in Amazonas</h2> <p>&#8220;The <a href="https://brazilian.report/society/2021/01/06/manaus-biggest-amazon-city-back-in-coronavirus-chaos/">situation in Manaus</a> created a huge commotion, but [Bolsonaro] made jokes about it. He said that people blame him for everything that happens and that, if Rio de Janeiro runs out of Band-Aids, he&#8217;ll get the blame. And he went away laughing. How does someone not feel moved by the situation of parents seeing their babies at risk of death because of a <a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2021/01/14/hospitals-become-suffocation-chambers-amid-oxygen-shortage-in-manaus/">lack of oxygen</a>? He said that the blame lies with mayors and governors. He didn&#8217;t go [to Manaus], he thinks he has nothing to do with it, and he still makes jokes. This is inhumane, sadistic behavior.</p> <p>Indeed, Maranhão has a lot of similarities with Amazonas, even though we are in the Northeast region. We are situated in the western part of the Northeast, and the eastern edge of the Amazon basin. And we have seen an increase in coronavirus cases in the last 30 days.</p> <p>Beyond working toward vaccination, we are currently expanding our care network. The decisive aspect in Maranhão last year was our ability to treat everyone, which is why the state has one of the lowest mortality rates in Brazil. Between August and September I continued to open new hospitals and intensive care units, and there are more to come next month, all to try and avoid the situation we saw in Amazonas.</p> <p>Meanwhile, we are maintaining a regime of prevention, with all of the guidelines for the population. We are not yet considering a lockdown. The growth [in cases] has not yet reached this alarming level. But, if it is necessary, we will [impose a lockdown].&#8221;</p> <h2>Chances of impeaching Bolsonaro</h2> <p>&#8220;There are two factors at play here. First, is there a case for impeaching the president? Yes.</p> <p>Jair Bolsonaro is a serial killer. He violates the Constitution and the law in a reiterated fashion almost every day. It&#8217;s hard to think of a president or head of state in the history of this planet who has broken the rules, breached the Constitution, and committed as many crimes as Bolsonaro has.</p> <p>But on the other hand, are there <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2021/01/20/impeachment-talks-gain-steam-in-brasilia-as-bolsonaro-loses-support/">political conditions</a> in place to open an impeachment process? Until now, no. I don&#8217;t think this will be a matter that is discussed next week. But if things continue the way they are, there could be an opportunity in the future. What is lacking is a parliamentary majority in favor of impeachment.&#8221;

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Débora Álvares

Débora Álvares has worked as a political reporter for newspapers Folha de S.Paulo, O Estado de S.Paulo, Globo News, HuffPost, among others. She specializes in reporting on Brasilia, working behind-the-scenes coverage at the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches of government.

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