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The Coronavirus Hits Brazil Hard, but Jair Bolsonaro Is Unrepentant

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a knack for stripping politics to their basics. While many leaders have been ill prepared for the crisis, and made errors of judgment about how best to protect their populations, a handful of leaders have shown an admirable degree of statesmanship: Jacinda Ardern, in New Zealand; Sanna Marin, in Finland; and Angela Merkel, in Germany, come to mind. Elsewhere, leaders with authoritarian streaks have felt unleashed; this group includes Rodrigo Duterte, of the Philippines; Alexander Lukashenko, of Belarus; and Viktor Orbán, of Hungary.

In this hemisphere, Donald Trump has alternated between public displays of foul temper and misinformation; this week he claimed that it is a “badge of honor” that the United States has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, because it means that the nation has done a lot of testing. The first couple of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, early on in the pandemic, organized rallies called “Love in the Time of COVID-19,” and the government appears to have underreported the number of cases—so far, they claim just twenty-five, with eight deaths—and to have orchestrated “express burials” of suspected victims of the coronavirus. Nayib Bukele, the young President of El Salvador, has asserted emergency powers in defiance of the Supreme Court, and deployed soldiers to enforce the strict quarantine measures he has imposed, which include thirty days’ confinement in “containment centers” for violators and for citizens and residents returning to El Salvador from abroad.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-coronavirus-hits-brazil-hard-but-jair-bolsonaro-is-unrepentant

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2020 in South America

 

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In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, Trump’s Close Ally, Dangerously Downplays the Coronavirus Risk

Three years into the Presidency of Donald Trump, even those Americans who, in a state of bruised dismay, have become accustomed to his vanity, his mendacity, and his distemper have been astonished by his public performances during the coronavirus pandemic. But, while Trump’s behavior is egregious, that of his chief imitator, the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former military officer who has been in office for fifteen months, trespasses most identifiable moral boundaries.

Bolsonaro’s efforts to emulate Trump have included the appropriation of his campaign slogan, reconstituted as “Make Brazil Great Again,” and making routine accusations of “fake news” against the news media. He regards environmentalism as an invention of communists, and has introduced a bill to allow miners and loggers into protected indigenous reserves in the Amazonian wilderness. He frequently delivers remarks that express his misogyny, racism, and homophobia. Another trait is his habit for losing his temper, especially with reporters, and he has lately made a habit of giving them the Italian arm-and-elbow gesture that translates to “fuck you.” Except for Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, it is difficult to think of another head of state as vulgar as Bolsonaro.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/in-brazil-jair-bolsonaro-trumps-close-ally-dangerously-downplays-the-coronavirus-risk

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2020 in South America, Uncategorized

 

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What Do Lula’s Release and Morales’s Ouster Signal for Latin America?

It’s been an extraordinary few days in Latin America. On Friday, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s charismatic former President, was released from prison after serving a year and a half of a twelve-year sentence. Two days later, Evo Morales, the embattled President of Bolivia, was forced to resign, at the suggestion of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and amid increasingly violent protests over the disputed results of his recent reëlection.

The Latin American chessboard became especially kinetic, as an American military man might say, in the past four weeks. A convulsive series of events began in mid-October, with unexpected angry protests in normally stable Chile. The protests, triggered by a hike in metro fares, spread widely, rocking the government of the conservative billionaire Sebastián Piñera and setting off a sort of existential crisis, across the social spectrum, over issues of inequality and inclusion. Chile’s eruption was followed, a week later, by Bolivia’s Presidential elections, in which the leftist Morales, controversially running for a fourth term, was declared the winner.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-do-lulas-release-and-moraless-ouster-signal-for-latin-america

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in South America

 

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Released Lula in for greatest fight of his life

Released Lula in for greatest fight of his life: Pepe Escobar via The Saker

He’s back. With a bang.

Only two days after his release from a federal prison in Curitiba, southern Brazil, following a narrow 6×5 decision by the Supreme Court, former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva delivered a fiery, 45-minute long speech in front of the Metal Workers Union in Sao Bernardo, outside of Sao Paulo, and drawing on his unparalleled political capital, called all Brazilians to stage nothing short of a social revolution.

When my colleagues Mauro Lopes, Paulo Leite and myself interviewed Lula at the federal prison, it was his Day 502 in a cell. By August, it was impossible to predict that release would happen on Day 580, in early November.

https://thedailycoin.org/2019/11/12/released-lula-in-for-greatest-fight-of-his-life-pepe-escobar/

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in South America

 

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Por trás da disputa sobre o assassinato de Marielle, há uma família despedaçada

Se por um lado é compreensível de que a possibilidade de o nome do presidente estar envolvido no assassinato mais comentado do país tenha abafado o nome da vítima, por outro é injustificável que muitos dos apoiadores do presidente a ataquem As redes sociais acordaram em polvorosa na quarta-feira, com a notícia de que o nome do presidente Jair Bolsonaro havia sido atrelado ao assassinato da vereadora Marielle Franco. Os 10 assuntos mais comentados no Twitter pela manhã tinham sido motivados pelo depoimento do porteiro (desmentido pelo Ministério Público) de que, no dia do crime, o acusado de dirigir o carro usado no atentado contra Marielle teria dito na portaria do condomínio Vivendas da Barra que visitaria a casa 58, onde mora o presidente, apesar de ter se dirigido à casa de Ronnie Lessa, acusado de ser o atirador. Mas o que mais me chamou a atenção na barafunda de ataques à imprensa, questionamentos de quem estaria na casa 58 e o resgate de acusações contra o PT, visto como nêmesis do bolsonarismo, foi que o nome de Marielle era um dos últimos da lista de assunto mais comentados, em 13º lugar.

https://epoca.globo.com/coluna-por-tras-da-disputa-sobre-assassinato-de-marielle-ha-uma-familia-despedacada-24053793

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2019 in South America

 

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Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest

One day in 2014, Belém, a member of Brazil’s Kayapo tribe, went deep into the forest to hunt macaws and parrots. He was helping to prepare for a coming-of-age ceremony, in which young men are given adult names and have their lips pierced. By custom, initiates wear headdresses adorned with tail feathers. Belém, whose Kayapo name is Takaktyx, an honorific form of the word “strong,” was a designated bird hunter.

Far from his home village of Turedjam, Belém ran across a group of white outsiders. They were garimpeiros, gold prospectors, who were working inside the Kayapo reserve—a twenty-six-million-acre Amazonian wilderness, demarcated for indigenous people. Gold mining is illegal there, but the prospectors were accompanied by a Kayapo man, so Belém assumed that some arrangement had been made. About nine thousand Kayapo lived in the forest, split into several groups; each had its own chief, and the chiefs tended to do as they pleased.

Ever since the Kayapo had come into regular contact with the outside world, in the nineteen-fifties, whites had been trying to extract resources from their forests, beginning with animal skins and expanding to mahogany and gold. In the eighties, some chiefs made easy profits by granting logging and mining rights to outsiders, but after a decade the mahogany was depleted and the price of gold had dropped. After environmental advocates in the Brazilian government brought a lawsuit against miners, the Kayapo closed the reserve to extraction. Since then, though, international gold prices have tripled, to fourteen hundred dollars an ounce, and an influx of new miners have come to try their luck.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/11/blood-gold-in-the-brazilian-rain-forest

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2019 in Reportages, South America

 

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Fearful of Lula’s Exoneration, His Once-Fanatical Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. But Lula Refuses.

The same Brazilian prosecutors who for years exhibited a single-minded fixation on jailing former President Lula da Silva are now seeking his release from prison, requesting that a court allow him to serve the remainder of his 11-year sentence for corruption at home. But Lula — who believes the request is motivated by fear that prosecutorial and judicial improprieties in his case, which were revealed by the Intercept, will lead to the nullification of his conviction — is opposing these efforts, insisting that he will not leave prison until he receives full exoneration.

In seeking his release from prison, Lula’s prosecutors are almost certainly not motivated by humanitarian concerns. Quite the contrary: those prosecutors have often displayed a near-pathological hatred for the two-term ex-President. Last month, the Intercept, jointly with its reporting partner UOL, published previously secret Telegram messages in which the “Car Wash” prosecutors responsible for prosecuting Lula cruelly mocked the tragic death of his 7-year-old grandson from meningitis earlier this year, as well as the 2017 death of his wife of 43 years from a stroke at the age of 66. One of the prosecutors who participated publicly apologized, but none of the others has.

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/04/fearful-of-lulas-exoneration-his-once-fanatical-prosecutors-request-his-release-from-prison-but-lula-refuses/

Fearful of Lula’s Exoneration, His Once-Fanatical Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. But Lula Refuses.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2019 in South America

 

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At the U.N., Jair Bolsonaro Presents a Surreal Defense of His Amazon Policies

By tradition, the Brazilian President is the first leader to speak at the General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly, and on Tuesday morning it was the turn of Jair Bolsonaro, the outlandish, far-right, populist leader, who came to power last January. In what was just his second major address on the world stage—he appeared at Davos three weeks after his inauguration—Bolsonaro gave a predictably defiant defense of his country’s policies regarding the environment, especially the Amazon rain forest, sixty per cent of which lies within Brazil’s borders. For non-Brazilians, hearing Bolsonaro speak on the topic must have been a surreal experience (similar, perhaps, to hearing Donald Trump, yesterday in New York, tout himself as a champion of religious freedom). This summer, the Amazon’s forests went up in flames. But, on Tuesday, Bolsonaro asserted that the forests were “practically untouched,” and blamed a “lying and sensationalist media” for propagating fake news about their destruction. He also decried the notion that the Amazon is “a heritage of humankind.”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/at-the-united-nations-jair-bolsonaro-presents-a-surreal-defense-of-his-amazon-policies

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2019 in South America

 

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How Brazil’s Army Wants to “Occupy” the Amazon

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is planning to push industrialization and development in the interior of the country’s Amazon basin. It is far from a new project. For more than a century, a series of Brazilian governments have sought to move into the country’s interior, developing — or, to be more precise, colonizing — the Amazon. From the populist president-turned-dictator who made one of the early industrial pushes into the forest in the 1930s to the military dictatorship that ruled the country for two decades from 1964 until 1985, the justifications have largely been the same — economic gain and geopolitical paranoia — as were the often poor results.

Take the dictatorship’s push. Known as Operation Amazon, the colonization plan hatched during the military government envisioned integrating the territory into Brazil through building roads and developing agricultural and corporate enterprises — all accomplished by settling people from the south, southeast, and northeast of the country and the coasts in the forest.

https://theintercept.com/2019/09/20/amazon-brazil-army-bolsanaro/

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in South America

 

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On the Road to Interview Lula, Into a Brazilian Black Hole

We were just beginning to hit cruising speed in our wide-ranging, 2 hour and 10 minute world exclusive interview with former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in his prison at the Federal Police building in Curitiba, in southern Brazil.

And then it hit us hard when he told us: “The US was very much afraid when I discussed a new currency and Obama called me, telling me, ‘Are you trying to create a new currency, a new euro?’ I said, ‘No, I’m just trying to get rid of the U.S. dollar. I’m just trying not to be dependent.’”

It was the foundation stone of what would build into a complex, rolling Hybrid War coup, from NSA spying on the Brazilian government and leading national companies, to the Car Wash corruption investigation (now demolished as a monster racket) to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the imprisonment of Lula, and the emergence of the Purveyor of Chaos, Jair Bolsonaro.

https://www.yerepouni-news.com/2019/09/09/pepe-escobar-on-the-road-to-interview-lula-into-a-brazilian-black-hole/

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2019 in South America

 

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