Brazil 2019 -June 2021

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Brazil 2016-18

10 June
Trump-appointed ambassador to Brazil resigns after 14 months
(AP) — The U.S. ambassador known for friendly ties with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tendered his resignation after just over a year in the position and is leaving the diplomatic service, he said in a statement on Thursday.
After Chapman’s arrival in the capital, Brasilia, in March 2020, he quickly made headlines by cozying up to Bolsonaro’s administration …
Chapman this year increasingly shared photos and comments on social media lauding Brazil’s nature and wildlife, and called for sustainable development. That jibed with Biden’s demands for Bolsonaro to take decisive action to halt surging deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Data in recent months have signaled the continued increase of destruction, after Bolsonaro at the U.S.-led climate summit in April shifted his tone on Amazon preservation and showed willingness to step up commitment.
Thomas Traumann, a Brazilian political consultant, said by phone that Chapman’s departure could signal more U.S. pressure on Brazil regarding environmental issues.
More importantly, Traumann said, Chapman is perceived in Brazil as pro-Trump and pro-Bolsonaro, which would have limited his ability to make inroads with challengers to Bolsonaro’s 2022 reelection bid.

20 May
Bloomberg Politics newsletter: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former Brazilian president who was jailed for corruption and then cleared by the supreme court, is emerging as the main challenger to President Jair Bolsonaro in next year’s election. As Simone Iglesias reports, Lula is rapidly uniting a vast chunk of the political spectrum around his expected candidacy as Brazil reels from the death and upheaval caused by Covid-19.

5 May
Retail pushback: Europe firms threaten Brazil over deforestation
Retail chains Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Norwegian pension giant KLP urge Brazil to scrap bill encouraging more land use.
(Al Jazeera) A group of European companies including Tesco and Marks & Spencer have threatened to stop using Brazilian agricultural commodities if the country’s Congress passes a law expanding property rights for squatters on public land.
Environmental advocates warn that the proposal would encourage deforestation by rewarding land grabbers in the Amazon rainforest who occupy properties illegally, often clear-cutting areas for agricultural use in the process.

30 April
Families mourn as Brazil hits 400,000 COVID deaths
Brazilians struggle with pain of losing loved ones to coronavirus as country reaches sombre milestone.

14 April
Calls to impeach Bolsonaro are rising, but his grip on Brazil remains strong
(WaPo) As Brazil navigates some of the deadliest days in its history, a movement is growing to hold Bolsonaro accountable for the carnage he’s done little to mitigate. The Brazilian supreme court last week ordered the Senate to open an investigation into his erratic conduct during the pandemic. Prominent politicians and columnists have repeatedly called for his removal. More than 110 impeachment requests have been filed against him — dozens in April alone — and he has been accused of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.
But few see any real chance of removing Bolsonaro anytime soon. Fewer than half of the population supports impeachment proceedings — too little to spur a case. For now, a politician blamed by a plurality of Brazilians for the worst humanitarian disaster in national history is shielded — by conservative allies who have gained greater power in the National Congress, by the durable support of 30 percent of voters, and by a cocoon of right-wing digital media that enabled his rise to power and is now essential to his maintaining it.

11 April
‘Negotiating with your worst enemy’: Biden in risky talks to pay Brazil to save Amazon
Activists fear billion-dollar climate deal will bolster Bolsonaro and reward illegal forest clearance – but US says action can’t wait
(The Guardian) The US is negotiating a multi-billion dollar climate deal with Brazil that observers fear could help the reelection of president Jair Bolsonaro and reward illegal forest clearance in the Amazon.
That is the concern of indigenous groups, environmental campaigners and civil society activists, who say they are being shut out of the most important talks on the future of the rainforest since at least 1992.
Senior US officials are holding weekly online meetings about the Amazon before a series of big international conferences. Ministers and ambassadors from Britain and Europe are also involved. But rather than those who know forest protection best, their Brazilian interlocutor is Bolsonaro’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, who has overseen the worst deforestation in more than a decade.
Salles is asking for a billion dollars every 12 months in return for which, he says, forest clearance would be reduced by 30-40%. Without the extra foreign cash, he says Brazil will not be able to commit to a reduction target.
Only a third of the money would go directly to forest protection, with the rest being spent on “economic development” to provide alternative livelihoods for those who rely on logging, mining or agriculture in the Amazon. This has prompted worries that Salles will channel cash to the strongly Bolsonarist constituency of farmers and land-grabbers, rewarding them for invading, stealing and burning forest.

9 April
Brazil Top Court Orders Probe Of Bolsonaro’s Pandemic Steps
(AP) — A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ordered the Senate on Thursday to investigate the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and the full court ruled that churches can be barred from reopening during the pandemic, threatening to further strain tensions between President Jair Bolsonaro and the judiciary.
… In recent weeks, Brazil has become the epicenter of the pandemic crisis, accounting for more than one-quarter of the world’s deaths from COVID-19.

31 March
Brazil military chiefs quit as Bolsonaro seeks their support
(AP) — The leaders of all three branches of Brazil’s armed forces jointly resigned Tuesday following President Jair Bolsonaro’s replacement of the defense minister, causing widespread apprehension of a military shakeup to serve the president’s political interests.

27 March
A Collapse Foretold: How Brazil’s Covid-19 Outbreak Overwhelmed Hospitals
The virus has killed more than 300,000 people in Brazil, its spread aided by a highly contagious variant, political infighting and distrust of science.
More than a year into the pandemic, deaths in Brazil are at their peak and highly contagious variants of the coronavirus are sweeping the nation, enabled by political dysfunction, widespread complacency and conspiracy theories.

23 March
Brazil Supreme Court rules judge who convicted Lula was ‘biased’
Decision is latest victory for former Brazilian president, who had his corruption convictions annulled this month.
(Al Jazeera) The Supreme Court determined that Judge Sergio Moro, who spearheaded a wide-reaching corruption probe known as Operation Car Wash, was not impartial.
The ruling comes after a Supreme Court judge on March 8 annulled the corruption convictions against Lula, citing a jurisdictional issue with the court that heard the case, and saying he must be retried in a court in Brasilia, the capital.
That decision opens the door for Lula to run in presidential elections next year.
Brazil sets new COVID deaths record as health minister sworn in
Marcelo Queiroga is fourth health minister in hard-hit South American nation since start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bolsonaro, a coronavirus sceptic who continues to reject public health restrictions and lockdowns despite a recent surge in coronavirus infections, signed a decree on Tuesday installing cardiologist Dr Marcelo Queiroga as health minister.

10 March
Covid-19: Brazil experts issue warning as hospitals ‘close to collapse’
Health systems in most of Brazil’s largest cities are close to collapse because of Covid-19 cases, its leading health institute warns.
More than 80% of intensive care unit beds are occupied in the capitals of 25 of Brazil’s 27 states, Fiocruz said.
Experts warn that the highly contagious variant in Brazil may have knock-on effects in the region and beyond.

8 March
Judge opens door for Lula da Silva to run in Brazil in 2022
Supreme Court judge annuls former Brazilian president’s corruption conviction, restoring his political rights.
Al Jazeera’s Monica Yanakiew, reporting from Rio de Janeiro, said the court’s decision does not mean Lula has been found innocent of the charges for which he was previously convicted.
“It just means that they tried him in the wrong place and he should be retried,” she said. “But that does have a big political impact because it restores his rights to run in next year’s election.

6 March
‘Food security is security’: Brazil’s urban farm success story
Brazil’s vulnerable communities embrace urban farming as food insecurity rises during the COVID-19 pandemic.

24 January
Thousands take to streets protesting Brazil’s Bolsonaro
(AP) — Thousands of Brazilians took the streets for a second day Sunday to call for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro, who is under fire for his government’s handling of COVID-19, which has raged through the country and claimed more than 216,000 lives.
Horn-honking cars paraded through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and a dozen or more other cities as other protesters marched on foot, some calling, “Get out Bolsonaro!”
Sunday’s protests were called by conservative groups that had once backed the president, while those on Saturday had come from the left.
Bolsonaro — who is midway through his four-year term — has faced renewed criticism in recent weeks for both the crisis in Manaus and for delays in launching Brazil’s immunization campaign against COVID-19. The president has long resisted lockdown measures against the new coronavirus, arguing economic damage would be worse than the disease.
Brazil’s prosecutor-general, Augusto Aras, on Saturday asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation into Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello over the crisis in Manaus, capital of Amazonas state. Aras cited a document that said the ministry knew of a possible shortage of oxygen on Jan. 8, but didn’t start sending extra supplies until Jan. 12.

14 February
‘It’s all so cheerless’: Rio mourns loss of carnival’s noise and passion
Samba troupes fight to stay positive as cancellation of parades hurts jobs and dampens hope in the favelas
(The Guardian) The coronavirus outbreak, which has killed nearly 240,000 Brazilians, …has forc[ed] the cancellation of Rio’s official samba parades – which should have kicked off on Friday – for the first time since they started in 1932. Not even the second world war managed to extinguish the spectacular all-night processions for which Brazil’s cultural capital is famed

13 January
Brazil’s Bolsonaro sabotaged anti-COVID efforts, says Human Rights Watch
(Reuters) – Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to sabotage efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in his country and pursued policies that undermine the rights of Brazilians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.
Bolsonaro wanted to remove the authority of states to restrict people’s movements, as they sought to contain the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak after the United States, but the Supreme Court ruled against him.
The top court also intervened to stop his government withholding COVID-19 data from the public and ordered the administration to draft a plan to protect Brazil’s vulnerable indigenous peoples from the pandemic, while Congress passed a bill forcing it to provide emergency health care to indigenous communities.

4 January
Degradation of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest laid bare
The Atlantic Forest is one of the most important rainforests in the world, but its forests are very fragmented.
(SciDevNet) The alarming rate of felling of the world’s tropical forests and resulting biodiversity loss is well documented. But much less is known about the forest fragments left behind when deforestation has occurred.
Now, a study of the Atlantic Forest, an ecosystem rich with endemic species of plants and animals and home to about a third of the South American population, seeks to shed light on the state of these remaining forest areas.
More accessible to humans, these fragments are vulnerable to wildfires, logging, hunting and biological invasions, says the study published in Nature Communications.


9 July
How Jair Bolsonaro and the Coronavirus Put Brazil’s Systemic Racism on Display
Long before President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19, the pandemic was ravaging the country’s poor neighborhoods and prisons.
(The New Yorker) In Brazil, where the six richest men hold the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the population, the crisis’s disproportionate burden on poor Black and brown people has challenged the country’s popular, deep-seated illusion of being an equal, raceless society. Largely by incarcerating Black and brown people, Brazil has, in the past decade, become home to the world’s third-largest prison and jail population, overtaking Russia.
Since the arrival of the pandemic in Brazil, Bolsonaro has single-handedly created chaos: he has belittled its severity, despite overwhelming evidence of its danger; publicly defied social-isolation measures by walking among crowds and shaking hands, and encouraging others to do so; fought with and fired a health minister, and undermined the efforts of the rest of the country’s leaders. Asked about the rising number of cases in São Paulo, in an interview on March 27th, Bolsonaro replied, “I’m sorry—some people will die. They will die. That’s life. You can’t stop a car factory because of traffic deaths.”
As infection rates have risen in Brazil, a clearer picture has emerged of whose lives the President apparently deems disposable.

7 July
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus
Bolsonaro, 65, announces: ‘It came back positive’
Far-right president has repeatedly trivialized pandemic
(The Guardian) After announcing his positive result on Tuesday, Bolsonaro stepped back from the reporters he was addressing, removed his mask and, grinning, said: “Just look at my face. I’m well, fine, thank God … Thanks to all those who have been praying for me … and to those who criticise me, no problem, carry on criticising as much as you like.”
Bolsonaro’s diagnosis comes just three days after he had lunch at the home of the US ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, in the capital, Brasília.
Also present at that Independence Day celebration were several top cabinet members, including foreign minister Ernesto Araújo, defence minister Fernando Azevedo, and the president’s son, Eduardo, a politician who is Steve Bannon’s representative in South America. The men were photographed without face masks.
See Brazil condemned to historic tragedy by Bolsonaro’s virus response – top doctor (5 June)

28 June
Top Brazil newspaper in pro-democracy drive as unease grows about Bolsonaro
Folha de São Paulo urges people who support campaign to protect country’s political future to wear yellow
One of Brazil’s leading newspapers has launched a major pro-democracy campaign as unease grows about the threat many fear Jair Bolsonaro and his most militant supporters pose to the country’s political future.
Unveiling the initiative on Sunday, the Folha de São Paulo said systematic attacks from pro-Bolsonaro extremists were putting Brazilian democracy through its greatest “stress test” since the return of civilian rule in 1985.
The broadsheet urged readers to wear yellow in support of democracy and said voters needed to urgently remember the dark days of Brazil’s 1964-85 military regime, when hundreds of political opponents were killed or disappeared.
Folha’s editor-in-chief, Sérgio Dávila, said the campaign was born out of the realisation that more than half of the country’s population were too young to remember a period that for all its abominations is still celebrated by Brazil’s far-right leader and many of Bolsonaro’s devotees.

25 -26 June
World Bank Faces Protests To Not Give Abraham Weintraub, Bolsonaro’s Ally, A Job At Its Headquarters
Abraham Weintraub, one of Jair Bolsonaro’s notorious allies, has been put forward for a job as a senior executive by Brazilan authorities at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington. But the World Bank is currently facing pressure to not consider him for the £210,000-a-year job given the fact that he is known for his racist attitude and derogatory comments.
Abraham Weintraub was the education minister in Brazil before he was dismissed for calling supreme court judges “punks” who needed to be jailed.
Weintraub is known as “the worst minister in Brazilian history” and is undergoing multiple investigations, which includes alleged racism, spreading online fake news, and provocative social media videos. He was also condemned for his “ideologically charged attacks on education.”
Call to block key Bolsonaro ally from World Bank job
Abraham Weintraub is under investigation for alleged racism and spreading fake news, reports say
See: World Bank officials say they are ‘shocked’ by Weintraub’s nomination (19 June)

10 June
Coup Threats Rattle Brazil as Virus Deaths Surge
As Brazil reels from its worst crisis in decades, President Bolsonaro and his allies are using the prospect of military intervention to protect his grip on power.
(NYT) The threats are swirling around the president: Deaths from the virus in Brazil each day are now the highest in the world. Investors are fleeing the country. The president, his sons and his allies are under investigation. His election could even be overturned.
The crisis has grown so intense that some of the most powerful military figures in Brazil are warning of instability — sending shudders that they could take over and dismantle Latin America’s largest democracy.
… [Mr. Bolsonaro], his family and his supporters are also being pursued on allegations like abuse of power, corruption and illegally spreading misinformation. Yet nearly half of his cabinet is made up of military figures, and now, critics contend, he is relying on the threat of military intervention to ward off challenges to his presidency.

6 June
Amazon Deforestation Soars as Pandemic Hobbles Enforcement
A rise in illegal deforestation heightens the risk of fires in the Brazilian rainforest even more destructive than those that drew global outrage last year.
(NYT) Since coming to office, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has enabled increased razing of the Amazon rainforest.
Now, the coronavirus has accelerated that destruction.
Illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers have cleared vast areas of the Amazon with impunity in recent months as law enforcement efforts were hobbled by the pandemic.
Those recently cleared areas will almost certainly make way for a rash of fires even more widespread and devastating than the ones that drew global outrage last year. The newly cleared patches are typically set ablaze during the drier months of August to October to prepare the land for cattle grazing, often spiraling out of control into wildfires.

29 May
In Brazil, a President Under Fire Lashes Out at Investigators
(NYT) The increasingly belligerent stance adopted by the president and his allies toward the investigations has led to rising political turmoil at a time of national crisis, with the fast-spreading coronavirus sending the economy into a tailspin and causing the deaths of more than 27,000 people.
Mr. Bolsonaro has been dismissive of the disease, defying social distancing guidelines, resisting calls for stricter quarantine measures and relentlessly pushing for a quick reopening of the economy even as the outbreak has shown little sign of relenting.
Calls for Mr. Bolsonaro’s impeachment and ouster have been growing as the public health, political and economic crises all seem to spin further out of the president’s control.

27 May
Brazil Government Aide Says COVID-19’s Toll on Elderly Will Reduce Pension Deficit As Country’s Outbreak Escalates
Julio Croda, an epidemiologist who used to head the health ministry’s department of immunization and transmissible diseases, said he encountered a lack of urgency from the government when his department predicted that the elderly would bear the brunt of the coronavirus.
Croda told Reuters that when informed that older people would be more likely to die from the disease, Solange Vieira, who leads the Superintendence of Private Insurance, linked to the country’s finance ministry and who helped reform the country’s pensions, said: “It’s good that deaths are concentrated among the old.”
“That will improve our economic performance as it will reduce our pension deficit,” Veira reportedly added, according to Croda.

22 May
The Coronavirus Hits Brazil Hard, but Jair Bolsonaro Is Unrepentant
By Jon Lee Anderson
As Brazil’s rates of infection and mortality continue to climb, President Jair Bolsonaro is behaving with absolute and deterministic irresponsibility.
(The New Yorker) Bolsonaro is not only not doing anything about it; he has actively campaigned against efforts to control the pandemic, arguing that quarantining people and stopping economic activity will turn Brazil into an impoverished “African” nation. In fact, Brazil’s social and economic inequalities were well advanced before COVID-19, and redressing them was not a top priority of Bolsonaro’s government.

Coronavirus World News: Brazil, India, China, France
(TechnoCodex) Brazil’s government on Wednesday encouraged doctors in the public health care system to treat coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine — a move the country’s two recently departed health ministers refused to sign off on because the drug can cause dangerous side effects.
The guidance was issued five days after health minister Nelson Teich resigned, having lasted less than a month on the job.
Mr. Teich’s predecessor, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, was fired in April after clashing with President Jair Bolsonaro over the president’s disdain for social distancing measures and his enthusiastic endorsement of hydroxychloroquine.
Over the weekend, Mr. Mandetta warned that several Covid-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine developed dangerous heart conditions. …
Mr. Bolsonaro has yet to appoint a new health minister. The ministry is being run by General Eduardo Pazuello, an active duty Army commander with no medical experience. Gen. Pazuello has appointed several military officials to senior roles at the ministry to replace health experts who have left in recent days.
Brazil loses second health minister in less than a month as Covid-19 deaths rise (15 May)
‘I Didn’t Enter the Government to Serve a Master.’ Brazil’s Star Justice Minister on His Resignation and Clash With President Bolsonaro
(TIME) As the lead judge of Brazil’s landmark “Car Wash” corruption investigation, in 2016 Moro helped unleash a wave of anger at the political class that triggered Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment. In 2017, he convicted Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Rousseff’s hugely popular predecessor, of graft. And, last month, he plunged Jair Bolsonaro, the country’s current far-right leader, into a political crisis when he resigned his post of justice minister and accused Bolsonaro of inappropriately meddling in law enforcement. “When you look at it, Moro is arguably the most influential Brazilian of the past decade,” says Gustavo Ribeiro, a political scientist.

2 May
Brazil has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Latin America. ‘So what?’ says President Bolsonaro
While doctors scramble to treat patients, and local officials urge respect for social distancing measures, the Brazilian president has continued to hold political rallies.
(CBC) “Bolsonaro remains one of the last standing deniers of the risk posed by the pandemic,” said Jimena Blanco, a political risk analyst from consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. “With the president denying the threat of the pandemic, you get a lot of people defying lockdown measures.”
Brazil has more than 87,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 6,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, giving it the highest number of cases in Latin America.
The actual number of cases is at least five times higher due to a lack of effective testing, especially in rural areas, said Dr. Natalia Pasternak Taschner, a medical researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Sao Paulo.

24-25 April
‘A Perfect Storm’ in Brazil as Troubles Multiply for Bolsonaro
President Jair Bolsonaro was already struggling to govern effectively when his star minister resigned and accused him of criminal conduct. Whether he can overcome the latest challenge remains unclear.
(NYT) President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil was struggling to govern effectively long before the explosive resignation speech of his star cabinet minister, who basically called his soon-to-be former boss a criminal.
Several political allies — including two of Mr. Bolsonaro’s sons — are under investigation in a series of criminal and legislative inquiries. They include suspected money-laundering schemes and defamatory disinformation campaigns waged online.
In recent weeks, Mr. Bolsonaro’s strikingly dismissive response to the coronavirus pandemic, which he has called a “measly cold” that cannot be allowed to throttle economic growth, generated calls for impeachment at home and bewilderment abroad.
Turmoil in Brazil: Bolsonaro Fires Police Chief and Justice Minister Quits
Sergio Moro, the justice minister who became the face of a powerful anti-corruption crackdown in Brazil, resigned in protest after President Jair Bolsonaro fired the head of the national police.

19 April
As Bolsonaro Keeps Amazon Vows, Brazil’s Indigenous Fear ‘Ethnocide’
President Jair Bolsonaro is moving aggressively to open up the Amazon rainforest to commercial development, posing an existential threat to the tribes living there.
(NYT) He has started dismantling a system of protection for Indigenous communities enshrined in Brazil’s Constitution, with his government last year slashing the funding of the National Indian Foundation, the federal agency responsible for upholding those Indigenous rights.
As president, he has vowed not to designate “one centimeter” more as protected Indigenous lands, arguing that living in isolation is an anachronism in the 21st century and an impediment to economic growth.
“The Indigenous person can’t remain in his land as if he were some prehistoric creature,” Mr. Bolsonaro said in February.
Also in February, Mr. Bolsonaro presented a bill to Congress that could effectively legalize the illegal mining ventures that have polluted rivers and torn down large swaths of the Amazon.
The proposed legislation, which Congress has shown no appetite to advance as Brazil battles the coronavirus, would also authorize oil and gas exploration and hydropower plants on Indigenous territories. Under the plan, native communities would be consulted about projects — but would not be given veto power.

17 April
Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed coronavirus, fires Brazil’s health minister
Brazil has seen nearly 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest figure in Latin America
(Thomson Reuters) Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired his health minister on Thursday after clashing with him over how to fight the novel coronavirus, and again called for states to end stay-at-home orders that he said were hurting the economy.
Few global leaders have done more than Bolsonaro to play down the pandemic, which has killed nearly 2,000 Brazilians. He has called the virus “a little flu” and criticized state governors for imposing restrictions supported by health experts and the popular outgoing minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta.

12 April
Bolsonaro dragging Brazil towards coronavirus calamity, experts fear
Concerns grow that by downplaying threat, Brazil’s president risks public health crisis
(The Guardian) Bolsonaro is one of just four world leaders still downplaying the threat of coronavirus to public health, alongside the authoritarian presidents of Nicaragua, Belarus and Turkmenistan.
Over Easter, Brazil’s far-right leader repeatedly sniffed at his own health ministry’s distancing recommendations by going out for doughnuts, glad-handing fans and proclaiming: “No one will hinder my right to come and go.” During one outing, Bolsonaro was filmed wiping his nose with his wrist before shaking an elderly lady’s hand.
Specialists in public health and infectious diseases believe such behaviour is eroding the only measures standing between Brazil – which has suffered more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths – and a healthcare calamity.

7 April
China outraged over Brazil coronavirus comments
Beijing demands explanation after minister links coronavirus and China’s ‘plan for world domination’.
(Al Jazeera) In the latest incident to strain ties between Brasilia and Beijing, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub implied China could be behind the contagion.
“Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis?” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. “Who in Brazil is allied with this infallible plan for world domination?”

4 April
Brazil’s super-rich and the exclusive club at the heart of a coronavirus hotspot
(The Guardian) Brazil’s presidential palace has also been hit, with more than 20 members of a delegation that flew to meet Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate testing positive for Covid-19. The president, Jair Bolsonaro, claims he tested negative but has refused to make those results public.
The connection between the spread of coronavirus and Brazil’s super-rich has sparked discussion over their role in introducing the ailment to Brazil – and the gulf between rich and poor in one of the most unequal societies on earth. Many fear that while the first coronavirus wave has crashed over Brazil’s largely white political and economic elite, it is the poor and mostly black masses who will eventually suffer the most – without the luxury of being able to self-isolate at home or resort to expensive private hospitals.

2 April
Amazon land defender Zezico Guajajara shot dead
A member of a protected tribe in the Amazon has been killed by gunmen, authorities in the Brazilian state of Maranhao say.
The body of Zezico Guajajara, of the Guajajara tribe, was found near his village on Tuesday. He had been shot.
The former teacher was a supporter of Guardians of the Forest, a group formed to combat logging gangs in the area.
The killing – the fifth in six months – increases concerns about violence against Amazon forest protectors.
Brazil’s populist President Jair Bolsonaro has drawn intense domestic and international criticism for failing to protect the Guardians’ territory in the eastern Amazon region.
He has often stated support for farmers and loggers working in the area, while criticising environmental campaigners and slashing the budget of Brazil’s environmental agency.
The Guajajaras are one of Brazil’s largest indigenous groups with some 20,000 people. In 2012, they started the Guardians of the Forest to protect the Arariboia Indigenous Territory.

1 April
Bolsonaro, Isolated and Defiant, Dismisses Coronavirus Threat to Brazil
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called the virus a “measly cold,” is the sole major world leader continuing to question the merits of lockdown measures to fight the pandemic.
(NYT) As coronavirus cases and deaths mount in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has remained defiant, the last notable holdout among major world leaders in denying the severity of the coronavirus.
Brazilians, he declared last week, are uniquely suited to weather the pandemic because they can be dunked in raw sewage and “don’t catch a thing.”
Defying guidelines issued by his own health ministry, the president on Sunday visited a busy commercial district in Brasília, the capital, where he called on all but elderly Brazilians to get back to work.
Then he insisted that an anti-malaria pill of unproved efficacy would cure those who fall ill with the virus that has killed more than 43,000 people worldwide.

26 March
Brazil’s president fiddles as a pandemic looms
(The Economist) If the virus in Italy jumps between generations living together, in Brazil it started by hopping between classes, which are socially distant but physically close. One vector may be the populist president, Jair Bolsonaro. On March 15th, after his communications secretary tested positive for the virus, he ignored quarantine orders and took selfies with fans. When the first Brazilian died of covid-19 on the next day, he denounced “hysteria” about the virus.
Other leaders are less complacent. Voting remotely for the first time, congressmen proclaimed a “state of calamity”, which lets the government breach constitutional spending limits. … But workers against the disease must block out signals from a president who continues to disparage their efforts. On March 25th he told Mr Mandetta to stop calling for large-scale social distancing. In a televised speech on March 24th, he urged local governments to abandon “scorched-earth” strategies of closing schools and shops, and blasted the media for spreading “the sensation of fear”.
As The Economist went to press, Brazil had 59 covid-19 deaths and 2,554 confirmed cases. But testing has mostly been limited to patients in hospital. The true number is probably much higher.

Brazil’s Best Kept Secret: The Pantanal
The Amazon rain forest may get all the attention, but when it comes to wildlife, South America’s biggest biodiversity star is the Pantanal.
(National Geographic) Part national park, part UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland, covering over 70,000 square miles—an area the size of Washington State—in the smack-dab center of South America.
Brazil can lay claim to most of the region, but, as nature recognizes no political boundaries, the Pantanal spills into neighboring Paraguay and Bolivia. And though it’s often overshadowed by the Amazon rain forest to the north, the Pantanal quietly boasts the highest concentration of wildlife on the continent.

Brazil sends armed forces to north-east to quell violence from police strike
Bolsonaro issued a warning: ‘it’s going to get ugly’
A local senator was shot after driving into a picket line
Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has dispatched army and national guard troops to the north-eastern state of Ceará in an attempt to quell a brewing security crisis triggered by a police officers’ strike.
Military police strikes in Brazil are illegal – and often very bloody: a 2017 strike in Espírito Santo state saw more than 200 murders in three weeks. According to the G1 news site, Ceará, a costal state of nearly 9 million people, recorded 51 homicides in 48 hours of the strike. Nine of the state’s 43 military police barracks have been occupied by masked men.
But with growing political power and a sympathetic president, analysts see more chances of amnesties for the illegal strikes and less chance of punishment. In 2018, Brazil elected four senators and 32 congressmen from police backgrounds.
Police in at least six other states are currently negotiating over pay and working conditions. Minas Gerais state recently approved a 41% pay raise for its police even though its public accounts are among the worst in the country.
Sérgio de Lima noted that police protests had been most radical in states led by opposition governors. “The governors become hostages,” he said.

19 February
Evangelical gangs target Afro-Brazilian religions in hate crimes
Religious leaders say a federal government which relies on evangelical support is not doing enough to protect them.
In Rio de Janeiro, the situation has become serious enough to prompt the creation of a department to deal with religious hate crimes.

27 January
Scores dead as heavy rains bring landslides and evacuations in Brazil
More than 30,000 people have been displaced by heavy rains in south-east Brazil that have killed 54 people and left 18 missing.
The storms have caused floods and landslides, submerging entire neighborhoods and sending homes tumbling down hillsides in the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. Rains subsided by Monday, but were expected to resume later this week in some areas.


5 December
The Amazon Is Completely Lawless’: The Rainforest After Bolsonaro’s First Year
Deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest, an important buffer against climate change, has soared under President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.
(NYT) Brazil’s space agency reported that in one year, more than 3,700 square miles of the Amazon had been razed — a swath of jungle nearly the size of Lebanon torn from the world’s largest rainforest.
It was the highest loss in Brazilian rainforest in a decade, and stark evidence of just how badly the Amazon, an important buffer against global warming, has fared in Brazil’s first year under President Jair Bolsonaro.
He has vowed to open the rainforest to industry and scale back its protections, and his government has followed through, cutting funds and staffing to weaken the enforcement of environmental laws. In the absence of federal agents, waves of loggers, ranchers and miners moved in, emboldened by the president and eager to satisfy global demand.

8 November
Brazil’s former President Lula released from jail after court ruling
(BBC) A judge ordered the release of Lula after the Supreme Court ruled that convicted criminals should go to prison only if they have exhausted their appeal options.
He was mobbed by supporters outside a prison in the city of Curitiba where he has been held for a year and a half on corruption charges.
He was favourite to win last year’s presidential election but was imprisoned after being implicated in a major corruption scandal. The race was won instead by far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula will be barred from standing for office because of his criminal record.
He has consistently denied all the accusations against him and claims they are politically motivated

30 October
‘This will not stick’: Brazilian president lashes out over alleged links to left-wing politician’s killing
(WaPo) The explosive reports, coupled with Bolsonaro’s emotional and profane response, threaten to further isolate him during a vulnerable time in his presidency. The country has lurched from one environmental disaster to another. He’s openly feuding with the president-elect of Argentina, one of Brazil’s most important trading partners. Bolsonaro was assailed this week for posting — then quickly deleting — a video that showed him as lion being attacked by a pack of hyenas representing his critics in the media and government, including Brazil’s Supreme Court.

27 October
Brazil Suffers Major Oil Spill Down The Coastline And People Are Cleaning It Up By Hand
(Greenandgrowing) On the heels of massive fires decimating the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is now suffering an environmental disaster in the form of an oil spill that has contaminated 1,300 miles of pristine coastline. And the government isn’t doing anything about it.
Thus far, there is no cause of the oil spill and no word on how long the spill will last, but what is certain is that this oil spill is an ecological catastrophe and it demonstrates that the government under President Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t care about protecting the environment under any circumstance whatsoever.

The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs
One person shouldn’t have the power to set policies that doom the rest of humanity’s shot at mitigating rising temperatures.
(The Atlantic) When Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election last year, having run on a platform of deforestation, David Wallace-Wells asked, “How much damage can one person do to the planet?” Bolsonaro didn’t pour lighter fluid to ignite the flames now ravaging the Amazon, but with his policies and rhetoric, he might as well have. The destruction he inspired—and allowed to rage with his days of stubborn unwillingness to douse the flames—has placed the planet at a hinge moment in its ecological history. Unfortunately, the planet doesn’t have a clue about how it should respond.
In part, the problem is the dismal state of international institutions, which haven’t been so tattered since World War II. In the face of global critics begging Bolsonaro to stop the destruction of the Amazon, he shouts about the threats to Brazil’s sovereignty. For that complaint to land, he would need democratic legitimacy, and this revanchist has none; yet those critics do nothing more than sputter inconsequential rage.
It is commonplace to describe the Amazon as the “world’s lungs.” Embedded in the metaphor is the sense that inherited ideas about the sovereignty of states no longer hold in the face of climate change. If the smoke clouds drifted only so far as the skies of São Paulo, other nations might be able to shrug off the problem as belonging to someone else.

10 September
Brazilian Official Who Fought to Protect the Amazon ‘Assassinated’ in Front of His Family
Maxciel Pereira dos Santos was shot twice in the head on Friday while riding a motorbike through the Amazon
Santos worked for a Brazilian government agency called the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), which is tasked with protecting the land and interests of the indigenous people. The INA, a union that represents workers for the agency, said that Santos was killed in retaliation for his work at the Vale do Javari reservation, according to the Telegraph.
Santos was the chief of environmental services at the Vale do Javari reservation for over five years, and was essentially the head of the local enforcement authority that patrolled the area to protect native tribes from violent groups of raiders that frequently attack tribes so their land can be taken for development.

4 September
Bloomberg: Those who criticize Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to make his son ambassador to the U.S. are “envious of the access” he would have in Washington, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo says. He told Samy Adghirni in an interview that Trump knows very few ambassadors by their first name — so the fact the U.S. president met over the weekend with Eduardo Bolsonaro is proof of the special treatment he’d receive.

30 August
Loggers are lighting fires inside the territory of uncontacted Amazon tribes
(Quartz) This has happened during every dry season in recent years, fragmenting the tribe’s reserved land piece by piece, according to Survival International, an organization dedicated to protecting forest people. Loggers enter the Awá’s territory and light fires to burn the underbrush, so they can more easily access and fell the large, old-growth hardwood trees.

27 August
Brazil Angrily Rejects Millions in Amazon Aid Pledged at G7, Then Accepts British Aid
(NYT) Hours after leaders of some of the world’s wealthiest countries pledged more than $22 million to help combat fires in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s government angrily rejected the offer, in effect telling the other nations to mind their own business — only to later lay out potential terms for the aid’s acceptance and then, on Tuesday evening, accepting some aid from Britain.
For Mr. Bolsonaro, who has governed as a far-right populist stoking nationalist sentiment, the defiant rebuff of the G7 aid played well to his base. But an outright rejection of any outside help might also have undermined the nation’s efforts to control the fires, possibly further eroding Mr. Bolsonaro’s plummeting popularity.
Mr. Bolsonaro is facing his own problems at home, where approval of his government has plummeted: 39.5 percent of Brazilians evaluate it as bad or terrible, up from 19 percent in February, according to a poll by MDA/CNT, which conducted the survey between Aug. 22 and Aug. 25.
Approval of the president’s personal performance has also dropped substantially, according to the same poll, with 53.7 percent of Brazilians evaluating it as bad or terrible, up from 28.2 in February.
Despite the widespread attention to the fires in the Amazon, the Bolsonaro administration was rated worst in its management of the health sector. The environment was rated second-worst.

Brazil to reject G7 aid after Bolsonaro rages at ‘colonialist’ leaders
(The Independent) Brazilian officials say the government will reject more than $22m (£18m) pledged at the G7 summit in Biarritz to help fight raging Amazon wildfires.
Brazil did not immediately provide a reason for refusing the money, but its president Jair Bolsonaro has previously accused Mr Macron of adopting a “colonialist” mindset at the summit of leading developed nations in France.
Mr Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, told the G1 news website that “we appreciate [the offer], but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe”.
Brazil’s environment minister had initially welcomed the offer of funds from the G7, as well as a separate £10m pledge from the UK and £9m from Canada.
Other groups have also offered support for the Earth’s largest greenhouse gas sink. Earth Alliance, a new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, is pledging $5 million in aid, saying the Amazon is one of the “best defences” against climate change.
It appears the change of heart came after Mr Bolsonaro met with his ministers late on Monday. The Brazilian president, who previously claimed without evidence that NGOs may have started the fires in order to discredit his government, suggested the West was trying to gain access to his country’s natural resources.

26 August
Amazon fires: Brazil’s President is committing ecocide. We must stop him
By Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock
(Globe & Mail) The crisis in the Amazon rain forest holds at least two important lessons for humanity. First, decisions by one government about environmental management can have life and death consequences for people all over the world. And second, it is urgent that the international community find ways to influence rogue states whose irresponsible policies accelerate global warming and undermine the collective effort to address the existential threat posed by climate change.
Brazilian warplanes dump water on Amazon fires as outcry mounts
G7 leaders stepped up presure on president Jair Bolsonaro to tackle destruction of precious rainforest
(The Guardian) French president Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that the G7 was nearing a deal to provide “technical and financial help” to countries affected by the Amazon fires.
Bolsonaro announced the military would move in on Friday after several days of criticism from the public and world leaders that Brazil’s government was not doing anything to fight the fires. But outside Rondonia, the government had yet to provide any operational details for other states. The defence ministry said in a briefing on Saturday that 44,000 troops were available in Brazil’s northern Amazon region but did not say how many would be used where and what they would do.
23 August
What a change of tune in a few hours!
Brazil president plans to send in army to contain Amazon fires
Under increasing international pressure to contain fires sweeping parts of the Amazon, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro authorized use of the military to battle the huge blazes while thousands took to the streets to protest his environmental policies.
Emmanuel Macron says he will block EU trade deal with Brazil over Amazon forest fires
France will block an EU trade deal with Brazil and its neighbours over the country’s handling of fires in the Amazon rainforest, a spokesperson for Emmanuel Macron has said.
Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has been criticised around the world for his response to the fires, which scientists say are man-made and campaigners have linked to businesses looking to exploit the land.
“The president can only conclude President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka summit,” a spokesperson for the Elysee told the Reuters news agency.
“In these conditions, France will oppose the Mercosur deal as it is.”
Conservationists say Mr Bolsonaro, who was elected on a pro-business platform, has encouraged the setting of fires as part of his pro-business programme. Brazil’s space research centre, Inpe, has detected 72,843 fires in the Amazon so far this year – an 84 per cent rise compared to 2018, when Mr Bolsonaro was elected. The president has said his country cannot fight the fires.
Brazil’s climate change skeptic government says warnings about the fires consuming the Amazon are ‘sensationalist,’ ‘hysterical,’ and ‘misleading’
(Business Insider via Yahoo) Brazil’s government is calling warnings about the record fires in the Amazon “sensationalist,” and claiming the fires are not an international problem.
Brazil’s government has ministers that reject climate change, and its president, Jair Bolsonaro, has advocated using the rainforest for industrial activity.
The equivalent of three football pitches worth of the Amazon is currently burning every minute, spurring international leaders to call for actions to save the rainforest.
But Bolsonaro called the fires an “internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries,” and rebuked calls from French President Emmanuel Macron for the issue to be discussed at this weekend’s G7 summit.
The government is painting itself as the subject of an international smear campaign as activists and political leaders around the world urge action and decry state policies that have allowed increased clearing of the forest for farming and logging, which has likely been the source of many of the fires.
Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, accused French President Emmanuel Macron of trying to “make personal political gains in an internal matter” after the French leader called the fires an “international crisis.” Macron called on Thursday for the fires to be discussed at the G7 summit of world leaders, which begins on Saturday.

20 August
Brazil forest fires rage as farmers push into the Amazon
Forest fires are surging in Brazil, with thousands being recorded this week alone. Scientist Carlos Nobre from Sao Paolo University says politics is to blame for the alarming increase.
(DW) Nearly 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018, according to the latest figures from INPE, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, which monitors forest fires in the Amazon region. The number is the highest since records began, and an 83% increase on the number of fires in the same period last year. President Jair Bolsonaro suggested Wednesday, without citing evidence, that nongovernmental organizations could be setting them to make him look bad.

16 August
Norway halts Amazon fund donation in dispute with Brazil
International concerns grow over deforestation surge since Jair Bolsonaro took power
(The Guardian) Norway has followed Germany in suspending donations to the Brazilian government’s Amazon Fund after a surge in deforestation in the South American rainforest.
After weeks of tense negotiations with Norway and Germany, the Bolsonaro government unilaterally closed the Amazon Fund’s steering committee on Thursday. The fund has been central to international efforts to curb deforestation although its impact is contested.

7 August
Bolsonaro rejects ‘Captain Chainsaw’ label as data shows deforestation ‘exploded’
Data says 2,254 sq km cleared in July as president says Macron and Merkel ‘haven’t realized Brazil’s under new management’
(The Guardian) The far-right populist repeated claims that his administration – which critics accuse of helping unleash a new wave of environmental destruction – was the victim of a mendacious international smear campaign based on “imprecise” satellite data showing a jump in deforestation.
According to a report in the Estado de São Paulo newspaper, Amazon destruction “exploded” in July with an estimated 2,254 sq km (870 sq miles) of forest cleared, according to preliminary data gathered by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, the government agency that monitors deforestation.
That is an area about half the size of Philadelphia and reportedly represents a 278% rise on the 596.6 sq km destroyed in July last year.

28 July
Under Brazil’s Far Right Leader, Amazon Protections Slashed and Forests Fall
(NYT) The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.
Protecting the Amazon was at the heart of Brazil’s environmental policy for much of the past two decades. At one point, Brazil’s success in slowing the deforestation rate made it an international example of conservation and the effort to fight climate change.
But with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, a populist who has been fined personally for violating environmental regulations, Brazil has changed course substantially, retreating from the efforts it once made to slow global warming by preserving the world’s largest rain forest.
While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.
Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.
In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.

14 July
He’s the Rush Limbaugh of Brazil. He has Bolsonaro’s ear. And he lives in rural Virginia.
(WaPo) For years, Olavo de Carvalho has recorded and uploaded lectures and rants from his home office in rural Virginia for consumption in his native Brazil — videos, blog posts and social media riffs laced with obscenities, homophobia and dark proclamations about a globalist conspiracy bent on enacting what he calls a “worldwide socialist dictatorship.”
Now that message is enjoying its moment. Carvalho, 72, a self-styled philosopher living in a self-imposed exile in the United States, is credited by supporters and critics alike for providing the intellectual spark that ignited the rapid rise of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — the newest member in a global cadre of right-wing populists, from Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Hungary’s Viktor Orban to the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to President Trump.
… Carvalho is poised to take his message beyond Brazil. Former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who says he’s met with Carvalho frequently, wants to install him as a lecturer at a training camp in Europe for the next generation of right-wing thinkers, if such a project moves forward, and feature him in televised debates. “A seminal thinker,” Bannon called him in an interview.

7 July
João Gilberto obituary
One of the most important figures in Brazilian music who was known as the father of bossa nova
An evening with João Gilberto, the bright wallflower of bossa nova
(The Guardian) João Gilberto, who has died aged 88, was one of the most important and best loved figures in Brazilian music, who played a key role in the development of bossa nova in the late 1950s and early 60s.
Along with the composer Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim, he created a romantic, reflective new style in which samba rhythms were mixed with influences from the American “cool jazz” scene. As a guitarist, he pioneered a new technique that mixed the syncopated plucking of acoustic guitar chords with jazz-influenced harmonies and chord progressions, while as a singer his style was laid-back and understated.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has so far issued no official reaction to the death of a national hero – neither in print nor on the social media he is so fond of.
Brazil pays homage to ‘greatest artist’ Gilberto
Tributes pour in after the legendary artist, who pioneered bossa nova music, dies at the age of 88 in Rio de Janeiro.
… During Brazil’s military dictatorship years from 1964 to 1985, a time former army captain Bolsonaro often speaks of with nostalgia, the regime at times banned protests, engaged in censorship and tried political prisoners before military tribunals.
Large numbers of opposition members and artists were arrested, and many of them went into exile. Among them were Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.

5 July
Brazil: calls grow for Bolsonaro ally to quit after ‘devastating’ report on leaks
In new disclosures, conservative magazine Veja says Sergio Moro, who led Operation Car Wash, guilty of serious ‘irregularities’

4 July
‘A Brutal Violation of Press Freedom’: Glenn Greenwald Targeted With Investigation by Brazilian Government After Reporting on Corruption
(Common Dreams) “Criminally investigating journalist Glenn Greenwald for reporting on corruption within the Bolsonaro government is a shocking violation of his rights as a reporter.”
The Brazilian government is targeting one of its biggest critics, journalist Glenn Greenwald, in a move that has been decried by observers as an intimidation tactic designed to stifle opposition to right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
The government’s finance ministry’s money laundering unit was asked by federal police to investigate Greenwald’s finances, O Antagonista reported Tuesday. The right-wing Brazilian news site said that the investigation would focus on whether Greenwald paid for access to leaked records he used in reporting on the Bolsonaro government’s “Operation Car Wash” sting.
The fallout from Greenwald’s reporting is having a major affect on Brazilian politics. On Tuesday, Moro appeared in front of the Brazilian Congress to answer questions on “Operation Car Wash” in a hearing that devolved at one point into near-violence.

3 July
Brazil: huge rise in Amazon destruction under Bolsonaro, figures show
Brazil pressured to protect Amazon under trade deal terms
Deforestation in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon rainforest rose more than 88% in June compared with the same month a year ago, the second consecutive month of rising forest destruction under the rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro.
According to data from Brazil’s space agency, deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest totaled 920 sq km (355 sq miles)..
In the first 11 months, deforestation has already reached 4,565 sq km (1,762 sq miles), a 15% increase over the same period in the previous year.
Environmentalists have warned that Bolsonaro’s strong support for development in the Amazon and criticism of the country’s environmental enforcement agency for handing out too many fines would embolden loggers and ranchers seeking to profit from deforestation. Revealed: rampant deforestation of Amazon driven by global greed for meat

9 May
‘Exterminator of the future’: Brazil’s Bolsonaro denounced for environmental assault
Activist and politician Marina Silva warns Brazil’s rainforest protections being destroyed but vows ‘we can’t let that happen’
Jair Bolsonaro is transforming Brazil into an “exterminator of the future”, the activist and politician Marina Silva has warned, as she and seven other former environment ministers denounced the far-right president’s assault on rainforest protections.
The eight former ministers – who served governments across the political spectrum over nearly 30 years – warned on Wednesday that Bolsonaro’s government was systematically trying to destroy Brazil’s environmental protection policies.
“We are watching them deconstruct everything we’ve put together,” said José Sarney Filho, who served as environmental minister under the rightwing presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Michel Temer.
“We’re talking about biodiversity, life, forests … the Amazon has an incredibly important role in global warming. It’s the world’s air conditioner; it regulates rain for the entire continent.”

21 February
Simon Baptist: The first test for Bolsonaro
(The Economist) One of the most notable election results of 2018 was the victory of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election. Although his popularity was mostly on the back of a tough stance on law and order, he did articulate a reformist economic policy that was welcomed by international investors (although his subsequent speech at Davos disappointed many of them). I am more sceptical than the markets about whether he will manage to deliver on his promises: he lacks a majority in Congress for passing unpopular reforms, and his first couple of months in office have been marked mostly by confusion, miscommunication, infighting and scandal, which doesn’t bode well for governability or reform prospects.
A key test is about to come from proposed pension reforms, which are required if the country is to avoid a debt-sustainability crisis. The reforms do not currently have enough support to pass, but there will be a few months of debate, negotiation and amendment before a final vote. If this is successful, then it could be the start of a positive chain of events where other important policy areas are also addressed, and the optimism that surrounded Brazil a decade ago could return. If not, Bolsonaro is likely to revert to a relaxation of gun laws or a rollback of LGBT rights in order to appease his supporters.

15 January
Brazil’s Bolsonaro signs decree loosening gun ownership rules
President said the decree had been drafted ‘so that good citizens can have peace inside their homes’
Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has signed a decree making it easier for citizens to keep a firearm at home in a country with one of the world’s highest murder rates and a record 63,880 intentional violent deaths a year.

1 January
Brazil’s controversial new president embraced by Trump administration

Bolsonaro declares Brazil’s ‘liberation from socialism’ as he is sworn in
Far-right populist invited lawmakers to help country free itself from ‘ideological submission’ in speech
(The Guardian) Jair Bolsonaro has announced Brazil’s “liberation from socialism, inverted values, the bloated state and political correctness” after being sworn in as the country’s 42nd president.
His words delighted a crowd of more than 100,000 – many of whom had travelled to its modernist capital for the event, convinced the far-right populist can rescue their troubled country from virulent corruption, rising violent crime and economic doldrums.
“We have a unique opportunity before us to reconstruct our country and rescue the hope of our compatriots,” he said. “We are going to unite the people, rescue the family, respect religions and our Judeo-Christian tradition, combat genre ideology, conserving our values.”
He also referred to campaign promises such as freeing up gun possession. “Good citizens deserve the means to defend themselves,” he said. Bolsonaro said he was counting on Congress support to provide “legal support” for police to do their work; he has promised impunity for police who kill criminals. “They deserve it and must be respected,” he said.
Bolsonaro has enjoyed the support of Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector, which he said will have an “increase in efficiency” with “less bureaucracy” – words which will alarm environmentalists and indigenous activists concerned by his plans to reduce to streamline environmental licensing and allow commercial mining and farming on protected indigenous reserves.
These fears seem justified, in one of his first acts as president, just hours after being sworn in, Bolsonaro took the power to identify and demarcate indigenous reserves from the National Indian Foundation (Funai), giving it to the Ministry of Agriculture, according to local media reports.
Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration: the day progressive Brazil has dreaded
Brazil’s new president will feel emboldened to roll back rainforest protections and legitimise police’s use of deadly force
Perhaps no area faces a greater shake-up than the environment. To the horror of the environmentalists he so loathes, Bolsonaro has repeatedly signalled a desire to roll back environmental protections and make it easier to destroy the world’s biggest rainforest. Deeds have accompanied those words.
Since his stunning election, Bolsonaro has ditched plans to host key UN climate talks next year and appointed a foreign minister who believes climate change is a Marxist plot. As president, he looks set to take a sledgehammer to Brazil’s hard-earned reputation as a global leader in the fight against climate change and herald a new era of wrecking in the Amazon.
Foreign policy will also be upended, as Bolsonaro’s Brazil seeks a snug and historic allegiance with Donald Trump’s US and jettisons longstanding friendships with nations ruled by leftists, such as Cuba and Venezuela. “Everything we can legally and democratically do against these countries, we will do,” Bolsonaro recently vowed.

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