Bolsonaro’s administration is over. For quite some time now, it’s true. But it was this past week that things passed the point of no return.
What former Justice Minister Sergio Moro did — and let there be no mistake, he was the administration’s greatest political asset — was not only a resignation act but also a nationwide, prime time broadcasted DELAÇÃO PREMIADA for Brazil’s most important newspaper, namely focusing on the President’s attempt to turn the Federal Police into his personal Gestapo so that his sons’ crimes are protected from investigations. By doing so, the former senior Cabinet member lays down the track for the President’s impeachment, whose legal aspects were almost explained by the former Judge in his morning press conference (not to mention other impeachment petitions already written and filed in the House of Representatives).
While all hell breaks loose in Brasília, it might be a good idea to remember that today the new coronavirus killed hundreds of people. Yesterday, hundreds more. In Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, for instance, local authorities have been forced to fire refrigerated containers to store corpses. The Health Minister, though, seems to be on the run from the national conversation. Sworn in a bit lost, Nelson Teich has not been able to form his own team yet e finds serious trouble in getting down to work, wasting time that costs lives. As if his operational lethargy was not enough, the Minister has also been prohibited by President Bolsonaro from engaging in press conferences, interviews or any other form of public accountability on the government’s effort to combat and prevent the pandemic.
Truth be told, he actually did appear in a press conference earlier this week, not as Health Minister, though, but as Financial Health Minister: every time Nelson Teich starts talking he does so to problematize not the fight against coronavirus, but the economic crisis that the pandemic will unleash — as if it was anyone’s fault but his own boss, the President.
After all, let us remember, even if it might be repetitive, that the Emergency Aid with 600 reais authorized by the National Congress to the most vulnerable is far from reaching the pockets of everyone who is entitled to it before mid-May, as only a few million have had access to it as of now.
Over the next few weeks, we might see resignations from other Cabinet members that are crucial to Bolsonaro’s political sustainability in Planalto Palace. Paulo Guedes shall soon clean up his drawers in his Economy Ministry. For the economist, the current scenario might actually be desirable. For quite some time now he has been isolated, to the point that he was not informed, let alone invited, to the Pro-Brasil Plan press conference that presented the administration Economic Recovery Plan — built without the input of the Economy Ministry.
The Plan, designed by the Generals in the Cabinet, is not quite a Plan, though it certainly wished it would be treated as such. It is actually a 7 slides PowerPoint presentation (including cover) illustrated with some very few drawings, but no relevant data, no planning, no concrete action proposal. Tereza Cristina, the Agriculture Minister and a critical political bridge between Bolsonaro and key agribusiness stakeholders is also planning her exit for the next weeks.
Following this path, Bolsonaro’s administration and, which is even worse, Brazilian society wastes precious energy and time with the several ways in which the President tries to harm the country. The discussion should be about expanding ICU beds or structuring a mass national testing system for the new coronavirus or other priority agendas.
This is why the President’s impeachment or resignation is so important. Because Brazil cannot afford to waste time with the wrong answers.
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