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Why a Growing Force in Brazil Is Charging That President Jair Bolsonaro Has Committed Crimes Against Humanity

by VIJAY PRASHAD

Photograph Source: Prefeitura de Olinda – CC BY 2.0

Jhuliana Rodrigues works as a nurse technician at the Hospital São Vicente in Jundiaí, Brazil. “It is very difficult,” she says of her job these days. Brazil has just passed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, with 3 million Brazilians infected with the virus. “We meet colleagues and feel a heavy energy, a lot of pressure, a block,” Rodrigues says. She is the vice president of Sinsaúde Campinas, a trade union of health workers.

“We work with fear of each other,” Rodrigues says, which is why her union is part of a lawsuit filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 27. Sixty-five unions and organizations, which represent millions of Brazilians including Afro-Brazilians and the Indigenous communities, decided that their president Jair Bolsonaro’s callous attitude toward the global pandemic could not be managed within the country. Previous complaints made in the National Congress and the Supreme Court have run aground; Brazil’s prosecutor general, Augusto Aras, has not moved on any of these serious complaints. This is why the unions have gone to the ICC to charge Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity.

Brazil’s leading newspaper—Folha de S. Paulo—writes of the chaos in the country: “the main reason for the tragedy is Jair Bolsonaro.” The unions want him in the dock.

Health Workers, Afro-Brazilians, Indigenous

Bolsonaro, says the lawsuit, displayed an “attitude of contempt, neglect, and denial” toward the coronavirus; this attitude “has brought disastrous consequences.” The disrespect that Bolsonaro showed toward science and toward the World Health Organization’s advice led to the removal of two health ministers (Luiz Henrique Mandetta on April 16; Nelson Teich on May 15). Bolsonaro brought in General Eduardo Pazuello, with no medical background, to be the acting health minister; the health ministry is now peppered with officials with a military rather than a medical background.

Brazil’s Unified Health System (SUS) has been underfunded over the past five years. As a consequence of this, and of Bolsonaro’s expulsion of Cuban doctors who had come to help Brazil, there is a serious crisis, said Hugo Bethsaida Leme, who works with the Basic Health Unit in Londrina in Paraná, Brazil, and is in the National Network of Popular Doctors. “Many communities are without access to the More Doctors for Brazil Program (PMMB), which generates an overload in urgent care and emergency units with cases that could have been attended in the Basic Health Units (UBS).”

Not only has Bolsonaro not produced a sensible plan to tackle the infection, he has scuttled any attempt by the National Congress to move an agenda. Twice the National Congress sent the president laws—once to make mask use mandatory (Law no. 14.019, July 2, 2020) and then to make special provisions to break the chain of infection in Indigenous territories and among Afro-Brazilians in quilombos (Law no. 14.021, July 7, 2020); Bolsonaro vetoed both laws. “Vetoes take away access to dignified health treatment, at this time of pandemic, take away access to drinking water, access to emergency aid, basic food baskets,” the unions write in their lawsuit.

The government has spent only a fraction of the money allocated to fight the disease; it looks the crisis in the eye and laughs.

Jose Marques, one of the lawyers who helped with the lawsuit, pointed out to me that the government policy particularly discriminates against health workers, the Afro-Brazilian population in the quilombos, and the Indigenous communities. The infection and mortality rates for these three groups are higher than the Brazilian average, with the rate of death for the Indigenous twice that of other Brazilians. One of the laws Bolsonaro vetoed, Marques tells me, would have required the Brazilian state to provide potable water to the Indigenous areas; “without water,” he said, “how can the people keep themselves free of the infection? How can they wash their hands?”

Disrespect

In early June, Chief Raoni Metuktire of the Kayapó people said, “President Bolsonaro wants to take advantage of the virus; he is saying that the Indian has to die.” Both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Organization of American States urged the Brazilian government to protect the Yanomami and the Iecuan Indians from the ravages of the virus.

Marcio Monzane, the regional secretary of UNI Américas, recounted for me the terrible treatment of the Indigenous communities. The Supreme Court told the government to put in place a commission to discuss the situation of the virus in the Indigenous territories. At the meeting, Monzane said, the representatives of the Indigenous communities were “mistreated by the government.” No recording has been released of the meeting, which would have graphically illustrated the disrespect and cavalier behavior of the government officials. Because of such reports, the Supreme Court has called upon the government to hold another meeting.

After Bolsonaro vetoed the bill to ensure potable water in Indigenous areas, Bolsonaro’s vice president and former general Hamilton Mourão said that they have no need for drinking water since “they are supplied with water from the rivers that are in their region.” This is the level of callousness of the Bolsonaro administration.

Brussels Not Brasilia

Supreme Court Judge Gilmar Mendes accused the Bolsonaro government of genocide. This is a serious accusation. The 1988 Constitution, Mendes wrote on May 21, “does not authorize the president… to implement a genocidal policy in the management of health care.” Then, on July 11, Mendes criticized the number of military men in the Ministry of Health; the army, he said, “is associating itself with genocide.”

Several lawyers and lawmakers sent complaints to Prosecutor General Augusto Aras, but he refused to open an investigation. “The complaint will stay on his desk until the end of the Bolsonaro period,” Monzane told me. What Aras has done is perfectly legal, but it goes against the general spirit of the legal fraternity, Marques informed me.

“There is no space in Brazil to present a case against Bolsonaro’s policies,” Monzane told me. Marques agrees: “It is clear to us that it is not possible to have these actions prosecuted inside the country.” Therefore, the unions have taken their complaint to the International Criminal Court in Brussels. When I asked the ICC if they are going to pursue this case, they said only that they have received the complaint.

At the Abyss

The lawsuit says that Bolsonaro’s disregard for the danger of the pandemic has put “the Brazilian people at the edge of the abyss.”

Jhuliana Rodrigues has spent the past four months without seeing her 11-year-old daughter; as a nurse with poor resources from the government for sufficient personal protective equipment, Jhuliana does not want to endanger her child. She knows that Bolsonaro has let down the health care workers, who are on the frontlines of fighting the epidemic. But her duty is her duty.

“If I don’t continue working now,” Jhuliana told me, “what would I do? Health professionals are chosen and do their jobs with love, dedication, care of human beings. Just as we already live with multi-resistant bacteria, COVID-19 will be with us for a long time.” Health workers, such as Jhuliana, must be at work. They get no support from their government, which is why they have now approached the International Criminal Court. They hope that someone will listen to them.

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Chinese Participation in 5G Auction Could Save Brazilian Economy

By Lucas Leiroz de Almeida

Agribusiness is the center of the Brazilian economy, corresponding to more than 20% of the national GDP. In fact, Brazilian economy has suffered a heavy blow in recent years, with the country being subjected to an advanced process of deindustrialization. At that time, the agricultural sector is one of the few that still stands, further increasing its importance for the country. The pandemic strongly threatened Brazilian agribusiness and, at first, affected exports, but, contrary to initial expectations, the market overcame difficulties and emerged victorious from the crisis, mainly due to the heightened tensions in the US-China trade war.

In June, the data of Brazilian exports in agribusiness broke a record, with more than 10 billion dollars – about 25% more than the same period last year. There is a country that is of central importance in this overwhelming growth of Brazilian exports: China. With the growth of the trade and tariff war between Beijing and Washington, China has found in Brazil an excellent source of supply for its demand for agribusiness products.

Another factor that strengthened the ties between Brazil and China was the Chinese need for the Brazilian meat market, mainly due to the increase in cases of African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease in Asia, which led Beijing to increase exports from Brazil – which broke a record and exceeded in more than 10% of the records in 2019. Still, China was the first country to overcome the crisis caused by the pandemic, which made it seek to fill its demands in this sector sooner. China currently buys about 40% of all Brazil exports. As Brazil competes with the USA in agribusiness, the Sino-Brazilian partnership, from a strategic point of view, only tends to be strengthened.

But relations between Brazil and China could be affected by the geopolitical dispute between Beijing and Washington. As it is known, the Bolsonaro government has maintained an automatic alignment relationship with the United States. Brazil did not cut relations with China, but, on several occasions, it was involved in diplomatic crises and diverse tensions that obstructed many possible economic cooperation. The biggest Chinese interest now is the technological sector, with concern about Huawei’s participation in the Brazilian auction of 5G technology. Bolsonaro at first had vetoed China but reversed his decision to apologize for the diplomatic crisis generated by his son – who offended China with conspiracy charges about the new coronavirus. Since then, a scenario of internal tensions has been created, where one part of the government insists on stopping Chinese participation, while another, more strategist, supports such participation.Brazil’s Squabble with China Brings Unexpected Results Which Annoy US

The main problem is that it is not known precisely when the auction will take place – which has already been postponed several times due to the pandemic and, until it occurs, tensions will continue and Chinese participation will be uncertain. The main fear of representatives of Brazilian agribusiness is that, if China is vetoed, there will be economic retaliation applied precisely in this sector – which is to be expected, since it is the most important sector of the Brazilian economy. Currently, Brazilian agribusiness truly depends on China – not only due to the increased demand for meat and other products, but for years, China has been the largest buyer of Brazilian soybeans, being an indispensable partner in Brazil.

Still, there is a fundamental political factor. Although the ideological wing of the government is absolutely opposed to the cooperation relations between Brazil and China, Bolsonaro was elected with strong support from agribusiness representatives, who have a great parliamentary base. Without this support, the electorate of the current president would be insufficient to guarantee the election. Now, this same sector demands from Bolsonaro an attitude that confronts that demanded by the ideological wing. Without the support of agribusiness, Bolsonaro will not be able to re-elect himself in 2022 and even perhaps he will not even finish his term. So he has no alternative but to give space to China in 5G and maintain neutrality in the trade war, which, on the other hand, will remove support from the ideological sector. Thus the coalition that elected Bolsonaro is broken.

Currently, Brazil does not have a third choice: it either gives up participation to China or adheres to alignment with Washington in the trade war while its economy is ruined. The most strategically acceptable choice is visible, but there is no guarantee that this will be Bolsonaro’s decision. In short, China can at this moment save Brazilian agribusiness and consequently the national economy. But for that, the government should allow Huawei to participate in the 5G auction.

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Brazil: Car Wash Case: Brazil’s Authorities and FBI Colluded Illegally

FBI agents walking down a street.

The Intercept Brasil and Agencia Publica revealed the FBI-Car Wash Task Force illegal agreement.

The Workers’ Party (PT) denounced in the Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office the illegal cooperation agreement signed between the Car Wash (CW) task force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

RELATED: Leaked Chats Show Collab Between Brazilian Prosecutors, DOJ

The PT lawyers Eugenio Aragao and Angelo Ferraro pointed out that the CW task force acted illegally as it did not respect the Justice Ministry’s authority and promoted a selective criminal process against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Both lawyers delivered a communication of criminal offense against the CW coordinator in Curitiba, the attorney Deltan Dallagnol, who is accused of prevarication, abuse of authority, and criminal condescension.

“Unmasked and demoralized, prosecutors and former judge Sergio Moro will have to face justice,” said the PT President Gleisi Hoffmann, who signed the lawsuit against Dallagnol.

 “By unofficially sharing information with FBI agents, the CW task force disrespected national sovereignty and illegally used confidential data from Brazilian companies,” Aragao said, assuring that the suspicions against Dallagnol are very serious because they show that the CW task force was acting completely illegally and was out of control.


Pierre Le Duff@pierre_le
American ambassador wearing a cow-boy hat interviewed by Globonews. Investigation from @TheInterceptBr and @agenciapublica about FBI involvement in Brazil’s operation Car Wash is widely ignored by mainstream media

Image

According to the PT lawyers, the Federal Public Ministry has no constitutional or legal authority to spontaneously and autonomously promote foreign relations. The PT also intends to file a public civil action against the Car Wash attorneys.

Aragao pointed out that Dallagnol was outlaw despite being warned that direct cooperation with FBI agents, without the consent of the central authority of the Executive Branch, was an illegal practice. That was not, however, the first time that the CW task force acted outside the law.

The Federal Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an agreement signed by the CW task force and the Petrobras company for a million-dollar donation destined to the creation of a foundation that would be administered by the Curitiba’s lawyers.

Prior to the lawsuit filed by the PT, local outlets The Intercept Brasil and Agencia Publica revealed that the CW task force signed an illegal collaboration agreement with the FBI.

Thanks to this pact, which remained hidden from the Brazilian prosecutors and federal authorities, the FBI agents could access data from the Car Wash Case.

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As Pandemic Soars in US and Brazil, Red Cross Federation Chief Slams Trump and Bolsonaro for Anti-Science Responses

The remarks from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies president Francesco Rocca for lawmakers to heed science came as Trump said the coronavirus is “going to sort of just disappear.”

by: Andrea Germanos,

The President of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Francesco Rocca, speaks during a press conference on Greece-Turkey border near Kastanies, on the Greek side on March 5, 2020.

The President of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Francesco Rocca, speaks during a press conference on Greece-Turkey border near Kastanies, on the Greek side on March 5, 2020. (Photo: Sakis Mitrolidis/ AFP via Getty Images)

The head of the Red Cross federation on Wednesday expressed grave concern about the continuing spread of the coronavirus in the Americas and criticized Brazil and U.S. government leaders for their disastrous science-rejecting responses to the pandemic thus far.

Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), made the remarks at a virtual press conference in Geneva where he warned that “we haven’t yet reached the peak of this outbreak.”

Rocca said the effects of partisan rhetoric and policies out-of-line with science on the pandemic were clear.

“America as a continent is paying the highest price for this kind of division or not following the advice coming from the scientific community,” he said. President Donald Trump in the U.S. and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have faced sustained criticism over their handling of the coronavirus. Bolsonaro, who notably dismissed it as a “little flu,” has, like Trump, refused to wear a face mask in public gatherings.

The two countries lead the world in coronavirus cases. As of press time, the Johns Hopkins tracker showed the U.S. with the highest number of confirmed cases—over 2.6 million. Brazil is a distant second with over 1.4 million confirmed cases. The countries also have the highest number of Covid-19 related deaths; the U.S. has had over 128,000 such deaths and Brazil over 60,000.

According to Rocca, Bolsonaro “underestimated the consequences of Covid, and his country is living the consequences.”

“If the scientific community is saying that it is important to avoid to shake hands, and to wear masks, I think that the leaders should follow and listen,” Rocca said when asked about Trump’s mask refusal.

Rocca added that other world leaders too “have been irresponsible” in their response to the coronavirus pandemic and said politicians must “start learning to follow the advice coming from the scientific community.”

Rocca’s remarks came the same day Trump said the virus would “disappear.”

“I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus,” Trump told Fox Business. “I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”

The U.S. is on a string of record-setting single-day totals for the coronavirus, hitting a fourth record on Tuesday with over 48,000 new cases and over 50,000 cases on Wednesday.

According to the nation’s top infectious disease expert, the daily figure could go even higher.

Speaking before a Senate committee hearing Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he “would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”

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Brazil records more than 42,000 new infections and 1,220 deaths from the Corona virus

Brazil records more than 42,000 new infections and 1,220 deaths from the Corona virus

Brasilia: The Brazilian Ministry of Health said today, Thursday, that it had recorded 42,619 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 1,220 deaths.

According to the ministry’s data, the total number of people infected with the virus in Brazil has reached more than 1.7 million since the outbreak of the epidemic, while the number of deaths reached 69,184 people. (Reuters)

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Bolsonaro Will Politicize His “Alleged” Coronavirus Infection to Regain Lost Popularity

By Paul Antonopoulos

It is only natural for many people to think Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro testing positive for COVID-19 is a karma for his insistence on minimizing the risks of the disease and a near non-existent management of the pandemic that has led to the death of more than 67,000 Brazilians. But from the perspective of political manoeuvring in Brazil, by receiving a positive test result could also work in Bolsonaro’s favor as his popularity plunges because of his handling of the pandemic.

The pro-American leader could use the contagion to his advantage, and if all goes well, he will become the embodiment of the argument he has been defending since the beginning of the pandemic – the virus is nothing more than a “minor flu” that passes in a few days and should not be exaggerated. It can even help him demonstrate that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment method, a claim that still divides scientists. The first thing he did after confirming that he was infected was to say that he had already taken the first tablet of the inexpensive anti-malarial tablet that can also supposedly treat coronavirus. Bolsonaro’s infection has not at all changed his policies or thoughts towards coronavirus and hydroxychloroquine. He remains the biggest supporter of using the drug and continues to downplay the severity of the disease despite tens of thousands of Brazilians dying.

“Everyone knew that [the virus] would affect a considerable part of the population sooner or later. For example, if I hadn’t had the test, I wouldn’t know the result, right? And it just turned positive. It tested positive,” he said.

After urging people to continue life as normal by not social distancing as he endlessly takes selfies with his supporters and only using a mask when absolutely necessary, Bolsonaro has not reflected on his policies once testing positive. During Bolsonaro’s announcement that he was infected, he took the opportunity to continue his recurring criticism against authorities for not having calibrated the economic impact that social isolation measures would have.Bolsonaro Needs Help to Overcome Coronavirus Pandemic Despite Loyalty to Trump

“Life continues. Brazil has to produce. You have to start the economy. Some criticized me in the past, saying that the economy recovers, life does not. Look, that is an absolute truth. I know that nobody recovers their life, but if the economy does not work it leads to other causes of death, suicide in Brazil. That was completely forgotten,” he said.

Bolsonaro will spend the next few days in his official residence, the Alvorada Palace, being treated by doctors, a luxury that many Brazilians do not have access to. Bolsonaro will recover like the vast majority of coronavirus sufferers and will likely continue to denounce rival mayors and governors who have been determined to “destroy the economy” with their “exaggerated” restrictions.

At the beginning of the pandemic Bolsonaro was already in the spotlight due to allegedly being infected with coronavirus. He had just returned from an official trip to Miami and more than 20 members of his party had been infected, including some very close ministers. Bolsonaro said that tests had been done and that they were negative. Doubts increased as the government did everything possible to not show the official results. Bolsonaro appealed in all legal instances until the Supreme Court forced him to show the results. In the end, after all the drama and speculation, his test results were shown to be negative.

It is curious that with a negative result Bolsonaro fought fiercely to defend his privacy. Now, with a positive result and when his popularity is drastically falling, he had no problem calling a press conference and calmly answered all questions from reporters. It is not accidental, and he will utilize this to push his agenda to return Brazil to normalcy at a time when tens of thousands of Brazilians are being infected every day.

When the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, Bolsonaro followed the footsteps of US President Donald Trump who brushed off the severity of the virus and insisted that the US would be back to full normalcy by Easter – which as we know did not occur. Bolsonaro has always defended the US and advocates for the maintenance of a Washington-led unipolar order. This policy has seen Brazil sever relations with Venezuela, make attempts to relocate the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and not take the coronavirus seriously. It is therefore unsurprising that Brazil today is one of the worst countries in the world in handling the coronavirus with the second most total cases and deaths, behind only the US in both metrics.

By Bolsonaro openly declaring he is infected with coronavirus before speculation and rumors can take hold like what happened months earlier, he is attempting to control the narrative since he will most likely recover from coronavirus in the shortest period of time and will then emphasize that it truly is a “minor flu,” thus justifying the reopening of the economy. Bolsonaro promised economic growth and political stability when he was elected – he failed in both promises long before coronavirus even started, and both problems have only exacerbated because of the pandemic. He can now blame coronavirus for his failings, and use his own recovery as an example of why Brazil must be returned to full normalcy. This is all in the attempt to recover his declining popularity.

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Brazil production, profit and death

BRUMADINHO: ISRAEL'S PUBLICITY STUNT IN BRAZIL | Latuff Cartoons

 By: Alvaro Michaels

The resignation of health minister Nelson Teich, on 15 May, in protest at the preposterous medical suggestions of President Bolsonaro, less than a month after his predecessor was sacked, has shaken Bolsonaro’s position. The previous minister, Luiz Mandetta, refused to back Bolsonaro’s demands that shops and schools reopen. With more than 24,500 reported Covid-19 deaths (27 May), in a country where such reporting is hopelessly inadequate, Bolsonaro has sought to keep everyone working, whatever the personal cost. His contempt for workers’ lives is undeniable; when asked about the deaths he replied, ‘So what?’

The Covid-19 outbreak has dramatically exposed capitalism, and so its ruling classes, to a simple choice: protect workers or force them to work, irrespective of the consequences. Desperate to renew accumulation, plans to return to work are concocted everywhere. What we see is the basic demand of capital: work, whatever the conditions, or starve. In the imperialist states, there exists a thin cushion of state credit to suspend the exploitation of workers for a few months. In Brazil this barely exists. Bolsonaro represents the real pressure of capital on labour; work and be damned. For example, in the slums of Brasilia unemployment, hunger and lack of money will see major riots, with inevitable looting, if the shutdown continues. The favelas have been abandoned by central government – 70 million people live in Brazil’s slums – many areas lacking water, making the fight against the coronavirus impossible. The health system is incapable of dealing with the load, thousands dying without treatment. The poorest, and so weakest, are hit first, whether working or not. Black Brazilians successfully went to court in Rio on 4 May to get details of the ethnicity of Covid-19 victims recorded. These details were excluded from a third of reports, concealing the class impact of disease.

Bolsonaro denied any problem. Only from 17 March did individual states begin declaring a variety of responses, but with Bolsonaro calling the pandemic a ‘little flu’, insisting it was all an exaggeration and that everyone could carry on as normal. However, just in case, he has blamed the Chinese Communist Party. Polls indicate that 64% of the population reject his handling of the crisis and some 49% want him impeached. On 19 May a virtual demonstration was organised by five ‘left-of-centre’ political parties – Sustainability Network, Green Party, Brazilian Socialist Party, Democratic Labour Party and Citizenship calling for the president’s impeachment. Pot -banging protests from shutdown neighbourhoods are regular. Ex-president Lula accused Bolsonaro of ‘leading Brazil to the slaughterhouse’.

Teich’s resignation came after that of ex-justice minister Sergio Moro. Moro is trying to salvage his own reputation following exposures by The Intercept of his collusion as judge with prosecutors in Lula’s trial. Abandoning a sinking ship, Moro seems to be preparing himself to be Bolsonaro’s successor, under a typically rightist ‘anti-corruption’ flag.

Moro resigned claiming that Bolsonaro was interfering in police investigations into allegations that one of his sons, Carlos, who runs an online fake-news network, called for a shutdown of Congress and the Supreme Court. On 19 April, supporting these calls, Bolsonaro had climbed onto a lorry outside army headquarters in Brasilia to attack these very institutions. These acts have prompted a formal probe into the president, which could lead to his impeachment, alongside other criminal investigations into the family’s associates. Brazil’s Supreme Court released an expletive-laden video of Bolsonaro demanding that he could choose the police officers he wanted.

The courts may not back Moro, and fighting back, Bolsonaro has abandoned his earlier pledge not to give legislators benefits, such as government jobs for their allies, in exchange for political support.

The stupid economy

The World Bank reckons Brazil’s economy will shrink 5.3% this year due to the pandemic, the biggest crash in over 50 years. In fact, this crisis came in two stages: the economic recession from 2014 and its failed recovery and now the slump provoked by the pandemic. Brazil’s desperate economic situation demands a major assault on the working class. Bolsonaro’s agenda is saturated with a desperate sentimentality for the 1964 to 1990 period of military government. Seven military men sit in his cabinet of 22. The economy minister, ‘Chicago Boy’ Paulo Guedes, wanted to slash spending, simplify taxes and privatise state enterprises. Horrified, he now has to promise monthly payments of US$116 (R$600) to tens of millions of informal workers and US$232 to mothers responsible for supporting their families. The impact of the aid is expected to be US$8.5bn for three months. By 26 March, the total stimulus package was US$150bn, more than the projected savings from his pensions’ reductions. On 7 May Congress ratified a constitutional amendment, allowing the central bank to begin the ‘emerging market’ world’s biggest quantitative easing programme, to finance the spending. Direct ‘monetary financing’ was previously banned. It can now provide cash for a range of private and public assets, including both government and corporate bonds. State debt will rise to about 90% of GDP this year, up from 76% last year, and the government will have to force down the interest rate to reduce debt costs. None of this will stop the deepening polarisation between the poor and rich, already the worst in the world, and the political crisis accompanying it.

Alvaro Michaels


The Amazon

During the recent rainy season, the Amazon had just 75% of typical rainfall. With less rain, it is easier to deforest because machinery can enter the forest. Land grabbers deforest one year, set fire the next, to transform forest into farmland and pastures. The soil is now drier, temperatures are higher, and groundwater is depleted. This context has made the Covid-19 crisis much worse, with Manaus, capital of the region, severely hit by the virus. Within the forests, movement of loggers and miners has spread the sickness to the indigenous tribes. These people are medically abandoned by the state, (they were being treated by Cuban doctors, now expelled). They suffer constant assaults on their lands and lives from small farmers clearing the way for the larger companies, all encouraged by the tragically dangerous Bolsonaro.

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Brazil Bans Release of COVID-19 Death and Infection Toll

Dozens of people participate in a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 7, 2020.

 Brazil, with some 210 million inhabitants, is the seventh most populated country in the world.

Brazil’s government stopped publishing the total accumulated COVID-19 deaths and infections, in an attempt to hide the real extent of the disease in Latin America’s largest country.

RELATED: Brazil: Health Workers Protest Against Bolsonaro

After months of criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic, the government decided to withdraw a Ministry of Health website, which provided daily figures on deaths and infections.

The site was launched a while later, but totals of infections by state and for the entire country no longer appeared. Now the website only shows the figures for the previous 24 hours.

The national press has claimed that Brazilian statistics have been manipulated at times, so it may be impossible to ever know the real extent of the pandemic in the country.


The Washington Post@washingtonpost
As coronavirus deaths in Brazil surge, Bolsonaro limits the release of data

The latest official data recorded over 34,000 deaths, the third highest figure in the world and surpassing Italy.

Nearly 615,000 infections were also counted, putting them in second place behind the United States. 

 Brazil, with some 210 million inhabitants, is the seventh most populous country in the world.

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Amazon Rain forest Hit By Killer Droughts

By: ROBERT HUNZIKER

Photograph Source: Neil Palmer/CIAT – Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0

Over the past 20 years, like clockwork, severe droughts have hit the Amazon every five years with regularity 2005, 2010, 2015. Of course, droughts have hit the Amazon rainforest throughout paleoclimate history, but this time it’s different. The frequency and severity is off the charts.

Recent data is starting to show 2020 as another dire year. “The old paradigm was that whatever carbon dioxide we put up in [human-caused] emissions, the Amazon would help absorb a major part of it,” according to Sassan Saatchi of NASA’s JPL. (Source: NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage, NASA Earth Science, Aug. 9, 2018)

But serious episodes of drought in 2005, 2010 and 2015 are causing researchers to rethink that idea. “The ecosystem has become so vulnerable to these warming and episodic drought events that it can switch from sink to source depending on the severity and the extent,” Saatchi said. “This is our new paradigm,” ibid.

According to a detailed study: “Several studies indicate that the region has been suffering severe drought since the end of the last century, as in 1997/1998, 2005, 2010 and 2015. The intensity and frequency of these extreme drought episodes in the AB during the last years, approximately one episode every five years with a significant increase in the coverage area, is remarkable.” (Beatriz Nunes Garcia, et al, Extreme Drought Events Over the Amazon Basin: The Perspective from the Reconstruction of South American Hydroclimate, Departamento de Meteorologia, Instituto de Geociências, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Nov. 7, 2018)

This year 2020 is shaping up to be a repeat performance, another “remarkable event.” Recent studies indicate: “The data suggests 2020 could be a particularly dire year for the Amazon.” (Source: “14 Straight Months of Rising Amazon Deforestation in Brazil,” Mongabay d/d June 12, 2020)

All of which begs the question: How much more abuse can the magnificent rainforest handle for how long?

However, hard-hitting droughts are not the only negative hitting the Amazon rainforest. Failure by political forces is also pounding the rainforest, as the Bolsanaro regime gooses abuse and overuse. As a result, people are striking back. Civil society groups and public prosecutors in Brazil are taking President Jar Bolsonaro’s government to court for failing to protect the rainforest.

“The Amazon rainforest — 60 percent of which lies in Brazil — is one of the world’s great carbon sinks. Preserving its trees and plants is crucial to meeting international targets that limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” (Source: To Stop Amazon Deforestation, Brazilian Groups Take Bolsonaro to Court, Deutsche Welle, June 13, 2020)

Meanwhile, hydrologic studies clearly indicate the Amazon rainforest is “drying out.” Nothing could be worse.

Matthew Rodell, a scientist and hydrologist who works with NASA’s GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) satellite system monitors water levels stored deep beneath Earth’s surface. The data is important for predicting droughts on a worldwide basis.

Based upon current images, GRACE’s satellite shows an Amazon that is in tenuous condition in an unprecedented state of breakdown.

Within only the past few months, the world’s two leading Amazon rainforest scientists made a startling announcement. Thomas Lovejoy (George Mason University) and Carlos Nobre (University of Sao Paulo) reported: “Today, we stand exactly in a moment of destiny: The tipping point is here, it is now.” (Source: Amazon Tipping Point: Last Chance for Action, Science Advances, Vol. 5, no. 12, December 20, 2019)

Tipping points are equilibrium between life and death.

Of recent, GRACE’s images detected large areas of Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado biomes in what’s classified as “Deep Red Zones,” meaning severely constrained water levels. According to Rodell: “If we see normal to low precipitation this year, then there is potential for drought… I would be concerned.” (Source: Satellite Data Show Amazon Rainforest Likely Drier, More Fire-Prone This Year, Mongabay, April 23, 2020)

Rodell’s statement “If we see normal to low precipitation, then there is potential for drought,” is like a slap to the face, a wake up call, implying “normal precipitation” by itself will not get the job done. Problem: Precipitation has been way below normal for way too long.

Today’s potential for a fourth major drought within only two decades magnifies into a virtual horror show when conjoined with the recent record. According to NASA, damaging episodes of three-100/yr droughts back-to-back-to-back, 2005, 2010, 2015 have already undercut and damaged the stability of the Amazon ecosystem. Of major concern, it’s already starting to lose its special “carbon sink” status. That’s unprecedented.

The rainforest doesn’t react like it used to. It does not have enough time between droughts to heal itself and regrow. Throughout all of recorded history, this has never been witnessed. In a word, it’s a horribly dreadful discovery. (Source: NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage, NASA Earth Science News Team, August 9, 2018)

In many respects, the Amazon ecosystem is a facsimile of the larger biosphere but more sensitive to climate change, similar to the Arctic. In other words, some ecosystems are ultra-sensitive to changes in the climate system and thus serve as proxies or early warning signals prior to recognition of the looming threat by civilization at large. Meantime, whilst climate change disrupts ecosystems on the fringes of civilization, society comfortably exists in artificial complexities of concrete, steel, glass, and wood within a vast chemically induced world that only recognizes the danger of collapsing ecosystems after it’s too late. Then, it is too late!

Because of fabricated/artificial life styles, humans are the last living organisms to see and feel, and indeed, truly comprehend the impact of climate change. Artificial life styles masquerade the bigger issues. Artificiality thus breeds ignorance and stupidity, as reflected in political elections. It’s the “Steel, Glass, Wood, Chemically Induced Syndrome,” and it’s deadly.

Meanwhile, Amazon deforestation is on a bender. According to INPE (National Institute for Space Research in Brazil National Penitentiary Institute) it’s up 40% since January.

“The rise in deforestation troubles scientists who fear that the combination of forest loss and the effects of climate change could trigger the Amazon rainforest to tip toward a drier ecosystem which is more prone to fire, generates less local and regional rainfall, sequesters less carbon from the atmosphere, and is less hospitable to species adapted to the dense and humid forests of lowland Amazonia.” (Source: Rhett A. Butler, 14 Straight Months of Rising Amazon Deforestation in Brazil, Mongabay, June 12, 2020)

The question arises what is the impact of deforestation?

For starters, hands down, it’s the leading cause of extinction on the planet. Secondly, forest loss contributes approximately 15%-20% to increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions as loss of forests mass removes one of the planet’s natural carbon sinks. Additionally, forests play a critical role in the hydrological cycle, all the way north to Iowa’s cornfields with remarkable “rivers in the sky.”

A long list of additional major benefits could be enumerated, but suffice it to say that, of significant interest, scientists have discovered up to one-half of all trees greater than 4 inches in diameter in the Amazon are more than 300 years old, some 1,000 years old.

Ergo, artificial life supplants hundreds and thousands of years of nature with one quick cut of a buzz saw, but in all honesty, 300-year-old trees take quite a bit longer than one quick cut.

Posted in Brazil, EnvironmentComments Off on Amazon Rain forest Hit By Killer Droughts

Brazil’: What’s the World Health Organization Good For?’ Bolsonaro Asks

Burial in the Campo da Esperanca cemetery, Brasilia, Brazil, June 5, 2020.

The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull Brazil out of the United Nations agency.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to withdraw his country from the World Health Organization (WHO) if this United Nations agency maintains its current “ideological bias” in the strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Democracy Defenders Are Pot-User Terrorists, Bolsonaro Says

“The U.S. left the WHO and we are analyzing to do the same. Either the WHO works without ideological bias or we are going to withdraw as well,” said Bolsonaro, although he did not explain the political behavior that the international organization supposedly has.

Regarding epidemiological measures, however, the Brazilian president has expressed on multiple occasions his desire to avoid quarantines or physical distancing measures.

He also defends the use of chloroquine in the treatment of all COVID-19 patients, which is not recommended by the WHO since this antimalarial medicine’s efficacy has not been scientifically proven in the case of the new coronavirus.

“We don’t need outsiders to give us clues about health in here,” the former Capitan stressed, adding that “What is the WHO good for?”

Fabiana Anjos@FapsSilva

RT @emirsader: No recorde de mortes, Bolsonaro libera fuzis do Exército para a subversão – 05/06/2020 – UOL Notícias https://noticias.uol.com.br/colunas/reinaldo-azevedo/2020/06/05/no-recorde-de-mortes-bolsonaro-libera-fuzis-do-exercito-para-a-subversao.htm …No recorde de mortes, Bolsonaro libera fuzis do Exército para a subversãoNum dia trágico para a saúde dos brasileiros como esta quinta-feira, não se diga que o pre…noticias.uol.com.br3:37 PM – Jun 6, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Fabiana Anjos’s other Tweets

For the deadly record: On Thursday, a tragic day for the health of Brazilians, President Jair Bolsonaro showed that he is not concerned about death. He decided that the Army’s industry IMBEL will sell 5.56 and 7.62 rifles to civilians.

When questioned about the critical comment that the U.S. President Donald Trump made about Brazil’s COVID-19 strategy, Bolsonaro preferred not to respond.

“He is my friend, he is my brother. I spoke to him this week. We had a wonderful conversation. I send a hug to Trump. Brazil wants to deepen our relationship more and more. I push for his reelection,” the Brazilian president stated.

On Friday, Trump said that Brazil is going through “a difficult time” for having followed Sweden’s strategy against the coronavirus, that is, for not confining its population but exposing it to the virus to increase the number of people immunized.

Posted in BrazilComments Off on Brazil’: What’s the World Health Organization Good For?’ Bolsonaro Asks

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