Jair Bolsonaro

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Jair Bolsonaro to replace military chiefs
Jair Bolsonaro to replace military chiefs
Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR (Public Domain)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will replace the commanders of the country's army, navy and air force, the defense ministry said Tuesday. Some local media, including the Folha de Sao Paulo daily, reported that the military chiefs had quit in protest at the unexpected ministerial reshuffle. The president named Carlos Alberto Franco Franca as the new foreign minister after Araujo tendered his resignation earlier in the day.

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Brazilian Foreign Policy Ministry Ernesto Araújo resigns
Ernesto Araújo (left) with Jair Bolsonaro
Ernesto Araújo (left) with Jair Bolsonaro Credit: Palácio do Planalto (Public Domain)

The polemic Brazilian Foreign Policy Ministry Ernesto Araújo presented his resignation Monday to the President Jair Bolsonaro.

In the Brazilian Congress, the assessment is that the minister's performance isolated Brazil in the international scenario and hindered the obtaining of vaccine doses against Covid-19.

Mr. Araújo adopted in his administration the same principles as the foreign policy of former US President Donald Trump. This stance generated friction with important trading partners, such as China, the main destination for Brazilian exports, as well as the largest producer of vaccine supplies in the world.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil surpasses 300,000 Covid-19 deaths
Rio de Janeiro beach, closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Rio de Janeiro beach, closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic Credit: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil

The number of deaths in Brazil by Covid-19 passed 300,000 on Wednesday, according to reporting by the consortium of Brazilian media companies. The mark comes at the worst moment of the pandemic in the country, with more restrictive measures in several states and with the federal government facing harsh criticism for mismanagement of the health crisis.

Also on Tuesday, President Jair Bolsonaro made a televised statement to talk about his government's actions to combat the pandemic, but he lied by extolling all he did in an attempt to secure the purchase of vaccines. In the speech, Bolsonaro defended immunisation and said that "2021 will be the year of the vaccination of Brazilians", a very different tone from that adopted in other pronouncements, where he compared the virus to a "little flu".

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Brazil: Bolsonaro announces Marcelo Queiroga as new health minister
Brazil: Bolsonaro announces Marcelo Queiroga as new health minister
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Monday evening that Dr Marcelo Queiroga will be the new Minister of Health, replacing Eduardo Pazuello. The exchange takes place at the worst moment of the covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, with records of daily deaths and health systems in several collapsing states. Queiroga will be the fourth Minister of Health since the beginning of the pandemic a year ago.

Bolsonaro announced the new Minister during a conversation with supporters at the door of the Palácio da Alvorada.

Last year, Pazuello's predecessors, doctors Luiz Henrique Mandetta and Nelson Teich, left office because they disagreed with Bolsonaro's policy on treating the pandemic.

On Monday afternoon, Pazuello held a press conference to announce the purchase of 138 million doses of vaccine against covid-19 and confirmed that the president was in talks to replace him in the post.

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Brazilian Supreme Courts cancelled all convictions of former President Lula
Lula Credit: PT - Partido dos Trabalhadores (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Justice Edson Fachin of the Federal Supreme Court overturned on Monday 8 all the condemnations imposed on former President Lula during the Operation Car Wash (Operação Lava Jato). According to Fachin, the Federal Justice of Paraná, responsible for the convictions at first instance, is incompetent to judge the Guarujá triplex, the Atibaia site and the Lula Institute cases.

In 2017, the then judge Sergio Moro sentenced Lula to 9 years and 6 months in prison for passive corruption and money laundering in the case of a triplex flat. Lula, however, denies that he benefited from the flat and is trying to prove in court the suspicion of Moro - who a few years later became Minister of Justice and Public Safety in the government of Jair Bolsonaro.

With the decision, the cases will be analyzed by the Federal Court of the Federal District, which will have the autonomy to decide whether to maintain the convictions already imposed or send the cases to the criminal investigation stage.

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Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to 'stop whining' as Covid-19 deaths spike
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized social isolation measures after the country recorded more than 1,900 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours. Bolsonaro has told Brazilians to "stop whining" and asked, "You will be crying until when?" The president further called those pushing for more vaccines "idiots".

Brazil is facing its worst phase of the pandemic yet, leaving its health system in crisis, and, in response, some cities and states have imposed their own restrictions.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian markets rattled by Bolsonaro's removal of Petrobras chief
Petrobras horizontal logo, international version
Petrobras horizontal logo, international version Credit: Petrobras - Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.

Brazilian markets plunged on Monday after President Jair Bolsonaro removed the head of state-controlled oil company, the latest sign that his government is rolling back market-friendly policy initiatives to shore up his sinking popularity.

Bolsonaro's decision on Friday to replace the University of Chicago-educated economist at the helm of Petroleo Brasileiro SA after a feud over fuel prices surprised even his inner political circle, according to two government officials familiar with the episode.

Bolsonaro's popularity is dropping to near record lows after a program of cash handouts expired in December, with an MDA poll published Monday showing his approval rating fell 8 percentage points to 32.9% over the past four months.

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Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Brazilians celebrate arrival of Venezuelan oxygen supplies to struggling Manaus
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Venezuela had announced on January 14 that in light of the humanitarian crisis provoked by a drastic increase in Covid-19 cases in Amazonas, it would send 130,000 litres of oxygen to support the struggling public health system. In addition to the oxygen tanks, the Venezuelan government also formed a brigade with 107 Brazilian and Venezuelan doctors, graduates of the Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine in Caracas, to help combat the pandemic in the State.

Brazil has been one of the worst impacted countries during the pandemic, which progressive movements have largely attributed to the mismanagement of the public health crisis by the federal government under far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

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Bolsonaro and López Obrador recognized Joe Biden’s victory six weeks after election

Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro and Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador have both recognized Joe Biden’s victory, six weeks after Biden was elected president in the United States. Both populist leaders faced heavy criticism for their hesitation.

"Greetings to President Joe Biden with my best wishes and the hope that the US continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. I will be ready to work with the new government," Bolsanaro, who has been a Trump admirer, tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
With deaths on the rise, Jair Bolsonaro states "we are living the end of a pandemic"
Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro Credit: Alan Santos/PR

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the country is facing the end of the pandemic. The statement was made at a time when 22 of the 27 states face a rise in Covid-19 deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 179,032 people have died due to Covid-19 in Brazil, and the country does not yet have a detailed vaccination plan against the disease.

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Leak exposes data from 16 million suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Brazil
Leak exposes data from 16 million suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Brazil
Credit: Christiaan Colen (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

A leak of a file containing access information to internal systems of the Brazilian Ministry of Health exposed data on 16 million people for almost a month.

The data includes taxpayers id and telephone numbers, address, medications and even a history of pre-existing diseases. It is noteworthy that, among the names on the leaked list, are President Jair Bolsonaro; the Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuello; the governor of the state of São Paulo, João Dória; the Mayor, Rodrigo Maia; and the president of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre. They have all been diagnosed with Covid-19.

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Jair Bolsonaro loses interest in re-election after Trump's defeat
Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro

Following Trump's defeat, Jair Bolsonaro broke his silence to announce that he might not run for re-election because "there is an advance from the left" in South America.

“See how the world is. In South America, there are several countries again painted in red. Many times, the President has no way to change, as I would like to happen, the destiny of Brazil. Some people want the destination to be another, and they may be right," Bolsonaro said on Facebook.

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Brazil: Mourão contradicts Bolsonaro and says the federal government will buy Chinese vaccine
Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão
Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão Credit: Bruno Batista /VPR

Contradicting the President Jair Bolsonaro, Vice President Hamilton Mourão stated the country will “of course” buy a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine that is being tested in the country. In an interview to the Veja magazine, the Brazilian vice president reduced the controversy over the "Chinese vaccine" to a political fight between Bolsonaro and the governor of Sao Paulo, João Doria (PSDB).

On Wednesday, October 28, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) authorised the import of raw material for the Butantan Institute to produce 40 million doses of CoronaVac.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil and record fires: Bolsonaro government withdraws firefighters
Fires in the Pantanal region
Fires in the Pantanal region Credit: Sílvio de Andrade (Public Domain)

The Brazilian environmental authority IBAMA has recalled all the forces fighting forest fires and justified its drastic step with lack of money. "I am ordering the withdrawal of all forest fire brigades to their respective bases," said a letter quoted by the news portal G1.

At the end of August, IBAMA had already announced the complete cessation of fire fighting due to the blockade of financial resources.

Research by the organisation Human Rights Watch, recently showed that the environmental authority is imposing virtually no more fines on illegal loggers.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
The Brazilian Health Minister, Eduardo Pazuello, tested positive for Covid-19
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello
Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello Credit: Erasmo Salomão/MS (Public Domain)

The Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. Pazuello becomes the 12th member of Jair Bolsonaro's cabinet to be infected with the new coronavirus.

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Bolsonaro announces that Brazil won't buy Covid-19 vaccine from China
Bolsonaro announces that Brazil won't buy Covid-19 vaccine from China
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

"We won't buy the vaccine from China," says Bolsonaro on his Facebook page on Tuesday after the Ministry of Health had announced the purchase of 46 million doses of CoronaVac, a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac.

The same day, earlier, the Ministry of Health had announced the purchase of 46 million doses of CoronaVac, a vaccine developed by Chinese pharmacist Sinovac. The company has an agreement with the government of São Paulo to supply the ready vaccine and also to transfer the production technology to the Butantan Institute (see details below).

"Everything will be clarified even today. We will not buy the vaccine from China", said the president.

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Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues is caught with cash hidden between the buttocks
Chico Rodrigues
Chico Rodrigues Credit: Agência Senado (Public Domain)

Chico Rodrigues, Jair Bolsonaro's deputy leader in the senate, was caught by the Brazilian Federal Police with R$30,000 (€4,572) concealed between his clenched buttocks. The police raid Wednesday was part of an operation against the misappropriation of public funds for fighting Covid-19.

Rodrigues, a Senator for the state of Roraima, released a statement claiming "I have a clean background and a respectable life. I’ve never been involved in any kind of scandal."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro rejects Biden's offer of $20 billion to protect the rainforest
Jair Bolsonaro rejects Biden's offer of $20 billion to protect the rainforest

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rejected a $20 billion offer made by Joe Biden, during the US presidential debate Tuesday, about stopping deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Bolsonaro stated that the government is already taking "unprecedented actions" to protect the forest.

The Brazilian president wrote on Twitter that "The greed of some countries about the Amazon is a reality. However, the externalization by someone who disputes the command of his country clearly signals giving up a cordial and fruitful coexistence.”

Bolsonaro's right-wing government has been widely criticized for its approach to environmental regulations and its handling of destructive fires in the rainforest.

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Jair Bolsonaro leaves hospital after bladder stone surgery
Jair Bolsonaro, after the surgery
Jair Bolsonaro, after the surgery

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro left the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo after a surgery to remove a bladder stone. The surgery was scheduled for Friday morning.

During an interview to CNN, Bolsonaro said: "Why did I operate on a Friday? Not to lose 2 or 3 working days. I have a lot of work. That's why I thought it was better to have the surgery over the weekend."

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Report points to a serious risk to academic freedom in Brazil
Universidade de São Paulo
Universidade de São Paulo Credit: Rafael Vianna Croffi (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A report released by the Global Public Policy Institute(GPPi) highlights offensives on several fronts against Brazilian professors, researchers and institutions. The academic freedom to research and teaching, in an environment with didactic and scientific autonomy in public universities, is guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution but is under threat in the country.

According to the document, the corrosion of academic freedom began to accelerate in the last electoral campaign, with the then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro disseminating aggressive rhetoric against universities, which according to the current president would be the focus of "leftist indoctrination".

The report states that "Top-down measures from the Brazilian government, administered through legal, institutional channels and combined with constant discursive attacks, have created an increasingly hostile environment for academics, who constitute a significant opposition group to the federal government."