In the past few weeks, Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, has been downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, using the same slogans as President Trump. The problem is, Trump was forced to change his tune faced with the growing number of U.S. deaths. But Bolsonaro continues repeating the same lies that are costing millions of Brazilian lives.
This is not only the fault of Bolsonaro’s government. He is following the same strategies of Brazil’s very first government, which encouraged wealth accumulation, excesses for the rich, and a disregard for the basic needs of the population. Like those who went before, Bolsonaro today defends the policies of the Vale mining company which is forcing workers to work in unsafe conditions, or the automobile company Caoa Chery, which is laying off workers without giving them any compensation.
Bolsonaro has threatened to cut workers’ salaries by 20% for the duration of the crisis, in addition to threatening four months of unpaid vacations. While recently he announced that workers have to go back to work in the middle of the outbreak. He is not proposing support for the majority of workers who live paycheck to paycheck. Nor for those who become sick, or who have sick or elderly relatives to take care of, or who need to take care of their children or younger siblings who are at home because schools are closed.
Just like in the rest of the world, Bolsonaro and the Brazilian bosses don’t think they need to pay attention to what ordinary working people need, that is, unless the workers take action to force them to do so.
featured image credit: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters