The Stream

Brazil: Will playing pandemic politics help or hurt Bolsonaro?

Country faces mounting coronavirus death toll and prospect of increased military power.

On Wednesday, June 17 at 19:30 GMT:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the severity of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, calling it a “little flu” while remaining at odds with state governments and health officials trying to contain the spread of the disease. The country now has the second-highest death toll from COVID-19, behind the United States.

How is Bolsonaro’s pandemic response affecting him politically? Even as the death toll climbs, Bolsonaro continues to fight against quarantine restrictions and is urging citizens to get back to work. The right-wing leader is also facing a number of other crises, including an inquiry into abuse of power, anti-police brutality protests, and growing calls for impeachment. With so many ongoing political threats, the president’s critics fear he could potentially use this moment of instability to hold on to power by utilising the nation’s armed forces – a cause for concern for those wary of the country’s return to military dictatorship.

In this episode, we ask: What will be the cost of pandemic politics in Brazil? Join the conversation.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Juana Kweitel, @JuanaKweitel
Executive director, Conectas

Marcelo Lins, @MarceloLins68
Journalist, GloboNews
Teresa Bo, @TeresaBo
Senior correspondent, Al Jazeera English

Read more:
Brazil’s coronavirus death toll now world’s second-highest – Al Jazeera
Brazil protests: Mass rally against gov’t response to outbreak – Al Jazeera