The chaotic management of the pandemic and oxygen drive the petitions for ‘impeachment’ against Bolsonaro | International

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A protest against the Bolsonaro government, in Brasilia, on January 24.ADRIANO MACHADO / Reuters

The death of suffocated patients in hospitals in Amazonia due to lack of oxygen and the slowness with which vaccination is progressing in Brazil have given new political impetus to those who want to see President Jair Bolsonaro away from power. Its popularity is eroding. Last weekend, there were protest caravans called by left and right movements. And requests for impeachment they are multiplying, already around 60 applications. The pressure is mounting, but right now the odds that any of them will even be debated by Congress are extremely slim.

The most fervent detractors of the Brazilian president dream that the pandemic will lead to his downfall, as happened to the also populist and crown-skeptic Donald Trump. Official figures indicate that one in every 1,000 Brazilians has died of covid (217,000 deaths among the 210 million inhabitants) and almost nine million have been infected. It is the second country in deaths and the third in cases. With each state deciding how to combat the pandemic in its territory in the absence of direction from the federal government, Brazil is experiencing a second wave, with cases increasing in more than half of the territory.

History shows that in Brazil some impeachment they are successful, unlike the US Two of the five presidents elected at the polls since the restoration of democracy in 1985 were removed from office in a political trial. If the far-rightist followed in his footsteps, his current vice president, General Hamilton Mourão, would hold office until the next presidential elections in 2022.

Even for a citizenry accustomed to the excesses of Bolsonaro, Manaus is something else. The news that the Government was warned days in advance that there was a shortage of oxygen in Manaus and did nothing has been a shock, not only for those who since the first infections criticize that it prioritized the economy and sabotaged quarantines. The oxygen crisis in the Amazon capital, with at least 50 suspicious deaths, has coincided with the start of vaccination, weighed down by the lack of doses and the fiascos of diplomacy to get them in time.

That cocktail has resulted in a new wave of requests for impeachment that the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, has warned that he does not intend to process. Maia, from the center-right, has less than a week left in office because the presidencies of the two Houses of Congress are renewed next Monday. The current presidents and the candidates to succeed them do not see a popular outcry or sufficient parliamentary support to submit the matter to their honorable Members at this time.

The rejection of Bolsonaro's management has increased in the last month, coinciding with the worsening of the epidemic and with the end of direct aid to a third of the citizens that will return millions to poverty. The increase in discontent is eight points to 40% or 60%, depending on the polls. Its popularity is diminishing, but it is still very considerable. A third of Brazilians praise the presidential administration.

Lula da Silva's Workers Party and PSOL, which disputes the leadership of the left, took their own to the streets against Bolsonaro last Saturday. They were caravans of cars, in accordance with the uses of the coronavirus era. But the news is that on Sunday several of the most active movements in the 2016 impeachment of Dilma Rousseff circulated against Bolsonaro, whom they supported until very recently. Some analysts see a turning point. Columnist Helio Schwartsman writes in Folha de S.Paulo this Tuesday that the next few days we will see if “the change of mood has come to stay (…) In any case, it is a mistake to believe that the volatile support of the centrão (parties without ideology that exchange parliamentary support for positions) is sufficient protection against a genuine turn in public opinion ”.

The management of the pandemic by the Government has been negligent to say the least, as shown by the attitude of the president, his Minister of Health (the third in the epidemic). India's delay in shipping the purchased doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford injection and the news that the government did not even respond to an offer from Pfizer months ago have fueled outrage.

Bolsonaro, who suffered from covid, announced a long time ago that he does not plan to be vaccinated, but in recent days he modulates his speech. He is grateful for the Chinese collaboration for immunization, which this Tuesday has now considered necessary to reactivate the economy. The IMF has improved its forecast for Latin America and estimates that Brazil will grow by 3.6%.

The Supreme Court has opened an investigation against the Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, whom Bolsonaro has dispatched to Manaus without a return date. Authorities are opening new hospital beds in the city and trying to stabilize the oxygen supply to the region as they seek to contain the dizzying spread of the disease with ten days of confinement.

One of the reasons why it is believed that the Bolsonaro clan chose a military man as number two of the patriarch's candidacy was to cool the spirits of those who wanted to activate the constitutional mechanisms to remove him.


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