The coronavirus pandemic is advancing rapidly in Brazil. 5% of the population living in six neighbourhoods of the city of Sao Paulo alone have tested positive. In the context of one of the lowest testing rates in the world. A Brazilian is dying every two minutes. This number indicates an infection rate of about a half-million people, around ten times more than official figures.
The current ICU occupancy rate in Sao Paulo public hospitals is 90%. In other major cities like Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Belem, Recife and Fortaleza the ICU occupancy rate has been over 100% since the beginning of May.
It is worth mentioning that the crisis in the health care system is the fault of years of neoliberal policies, both of the PT (Workers’ Party) and in more recent years, of the extreme-right.
Political Crisis – Health minister Nelson Teich quit on May 15, 2020. He resigned due to disagreements with far-right president Jair Bolsonaro over the use of chloroquine and ending physical distancing.
The firing and then resignation of two health ministers since the emergence of the pandemic obviously brings the ability of president Bolsonaro to rule the country into question.
In addition to insisting on ending physical distancing measures, Bolsonaro continues to support the use of chloroquine, even though it is widely understood that it has no proven efficacy in the treatment of Covid-19. On the contrary. Chloroquine has dangerous side effects, up to and including death.
Similar to Donald Trump, Bolsonaro promotes chloroquine as a “savior remedy” against Covid-19 and is using public money for its production. It is estimated that Armed Forces laboratories alone have produced 1 million pills a week.
Aware that he could be prosecuted in court for burning taxpayers’ money in the production of a medicine with no proven benefit, Bolsonaro has taken legal precautions. On May 14, he edited ‘Provisional Measure 966’, which exempts public agents from punishment for decisions taken during the pandemic.
Simultaneously, the Brazilian Supreme Court has asked the Federal Police to investigate Bolsonaro and his family for illegal interference in the Federal Police, sponsorship of a fake news network on social media and the organization of public rallies calling for the return of military dictatorship.
In order to prevent an impeachment, president Bolsonaro has strategically handed over key governmental positions to some of the most corrupt parliamentarians, guaranteeing that corruption will increase as a consequence of his efforts to protect himself.
Impeachment – There are already more than 30 impeachment processes that have been filed but the most recent is the first collective action and brings together opposition parties (PT, PSOL, PSTU, PCdoB, PCB, PCO and UP), as well as several social movement and labour organizations.
Bringing an end to the Bolsonaro government is urgent and crucial because the genocidal policies of this ultra-right government is costing thousands of lives, an unemployment and economic crisis, increased poverty, the destruction of labor rights, the environment, democratic freedoms and national sovereignty.
“CSP-Conlutas maintains that it is necessary to remove Bolsonaro, and vice-president Mourão (who would substitute Bolsonaro if the impeachment process was successful) because if the vic-president assumed power, the military and authoritarian tendencies in the running of the country would be reinforced. This fight is urgent, because we can’t wait until scheduled elections in 2022,” said Atnágoras Lopes, CSP-Conlutas.
CSP-Conlutas stands for five points to fight back the crisis:
- Lockdown quarantine to limit the spread of COVID-19;
- Basic income for all unemployed and poor people to survive during the pandemic;
- Emergency housing with provision of water and sanitation to poor people;
- Thousands of new ICU spaces with ventilators available to save lives and ensure the provision of key equipment needed to care for patients and to keep health care workers safe with adequate PPE;
- Out with Bolsonaro and his vice-president Mourão, replacing them with a workers’ government.