Photo: Empresa Brasil de Comunicação, Wikimedia Commons.
Brazil’s Covid-19 pandemic is today the biggest around the world even though the continent of South America is far away from the Wuhan region of China, where began the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019.
By the way, before the Carnival, our famous party, we had some cases of contamination, but, as the population’s health never was a real interest to government, airports stayed open with president Jair Bolsonaro saying “Just a little flu”.
Brazil becomes a leading pandemic country in its worst moment. We have have a facist president that doesn’t care about the Brazilian people and, mainly, African Brazilians. Whether this population is the main “target” because the conditions of isolation is difficult in Black communities, the majority of the people are poor, public hospitals always under duress, so, then we have a perfect combination for the horror. Asked about this reality, Bolsonaro says, ”And what?! I don’t do miracles”.
When a I say that the population’s health never was a priority for government it’s because, for many years, the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol have been increased by advertisements on TV.
The government has no problem with these commercials. Then it launched the hypocritical “War against drugs”. The so-called War against drugs is just war against Black people. This is similar to the discredited War on Drugs conducted in the U.S. that’s destroyed African American communities and caused mass incarceration.
What is happening now in Brazil is a cowardly genocide. The people can’t leave their homes while the police arrive and shoot people in slums like Cidade de Deus, and Complexo do Alemão. In Complexo do Salgueiro, a little boy, João Pedro, 14 (the same name of my nephew), was brutally murdered.
Death has been trivialized. We’ve always been on our own. Who protects us are the Black Gods and our powerful ancestry.
Indeed, Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t care about the Brazilian people. He has complained that the social isolation measures will destroy the economy. All that matters to him is that the minority economic elite don’t go bankrupt.
Bolsonaro was elected. There is a lesson for Black people and all voters to beware of demagogic candidates like Bolsonaro that say that they will govern “for everyone”.
Brazil is breaking down. Some claim “the economy will recover.” We are going to be doomed; a country with a vast majority living in wretched conditions.
How do we fight Covid -19 in Brazil? We start with Jair Bolsonaro. He rejected all the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). He continues flouting and discouraging the measures of physical distancing and lockdown, taking photographs of himself hugging the people on the streets.
Nobody knows if Bolsonaro is contaminated or not. Like Donald Trump in the U.S., he also promotes Chloroquine as a cure against the Coronavirus. He defies the scientific community.
But why? Renato Spallicci, the CEO of ASPEN, a company that manufactures Reuquinol that has Hydroxychloroquine as an active principle, is a “Bolsonarista”; a supporter of Bolsonaro.
The president is an unprepared, hypocritical, demagogue, and, his fans, the majority of the poor, continue supporting him.
He is dogged by reports of corruption and he and his family’s relations with militias.
He appoints unqualified officials including as ministers of Culture and Health.
Bolsonaro is the face of COVID-19 in Brazil.
I hope all African Descendants around the world just look to African and the African Diaspora history to remember our powerful ancestry. We were builders, fighters, resisters, survivors and victors.
We have lessons of endurance and triumph whether from the real life República dos Palmares in Brazil or the fictionalized Wakanda.
We can and must determine our destiny.
Paulo Mileno is an artist and writer in Brazil.