Brazil: Pandemic in a country Ruled by a Genocide

By Verónica O’kelly, Alternativa Socialista / PSOL – ISL Brazil

While the entire world is debating how to fight the monstrous pandemic, in our country, President Jair Bolsonaro leads the #ElBrasilNoPuedeParar (Brazil cannot stop) campaign and tries to save himself from a political crisis that puts his continuity in power at risk.

As I write this article, the official (not so credible) numbers report 4,256 cases and 136 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 22 new deaths were registered, raising the mortality rate to 3.2%. But the truth is that these numbers are only a reference to reality because the federal government’s denialist policy causes a bleak scenario with overflowing hospitals, health care workers denouncing lack of supplies, and infected or dead people who are not counted because they do not do the tests to know the true expansion of the virus. British medical journal Lancet published a study done by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 27 countries, in which it reveals that 9 out of 10 cases are not detected in Brazil, which implies a dangerous scenario for the coming weeks. Following current policies, 1,152,283 deaths are forecast.

Bolsonaro and his entire government are genocides who cannot continue ruling our country. That is why there are more and more of us shouting loudly: Bolsonaro, Mourão and all your government has got to go!

Crisis Committee Emptied, Governors and Ex-Allies Confronted

The Crisis Committee formed to face the pandemic was emptied in a few days by the president and does not fulfill any function. The governors who maintain emergency measures in their states, confront with Bolsonaro, even recent allies like Caiado, governor of Goias or Doria, of São Paulo. The previous told the press that “if Bolsonaro does not stop, there will be civil disobedience and the people will break everything.” The confrontations are constant, including members of the cabinet itself. While the health minister, Mandetta or the economy minister, Guedes take measures against the pandemic, the president advocates not stopping country and returning to work to produce.

Bolsonaro’s response is to double down by convening caravans of cars against Doria, going out to visit the markets with his “I defend you job” speech or advocating a supposed “cure” with hydroxychloroquine that is still being studied and lacks any scientific confirmation of its effects But he says “thank God the cure is there.” He also makes perverse statements such as “the crisis will unfortunately come. The country only becomes immune after 60% or 70% gets infected.” Last Thursday, the 26th, Bolsonaro allowed the reopening of lotteries, churches and religious temples, against the measures taken on the 20th, but the measure was suspended by the courts within a few hours.

The Left Opposition Celebrates Crumbs

Faced with the comings and goings of government measures and the profound weakening of the Bolsonaro government, the left defends a parliamentary and institutional solution to the crisis that is affecting the working people most cruelly. That is why they celebrate the R $ 600 of Basic Income for informal or unemployed workers, which was voted a few days ago, compared to the R $ 200 that the government intended to give. Today they issued a public letter signed by Guillerme Boulos, Fernando Haddad, Ciro Gomes, Tarsus Genro, among others, in which insufficient and superficial measures are proposed to address the critical situation that the vast majority of the people are experiencing. It does not  have a word about the public debt that implies 38% of the national budget. They do not even name the demand that many workers have been making to force companies to preserve life and decree quarantine. Nothing is said, of course, about the need to strengthen the struggles that are taking place, nor to encourage mobilization for the popular will to be expressed. In short, a statement that invites you to trust the institutions and parties like the PT or the PCdoB that have already governed the country and today govern many states where they demonstrate their commitment to corporations and capital. Unfortunately, the PSOL leadership, led by the Alliance, signed this letter and do so on behalf of the entire party, without having even consulted all the currents that make it up, let alone the rank-and-file.

An Anti-Capitalist Solution in Favor of Our Lives

The coronavirus pandemic highlights the cruelty of the capitalist system that favors profits against the lives of 99% of the population. Health care is just another product that is commercialized in the market and, therefore, moves under the logic of capital, putting medical scientific advances at the service of rich medical corporations and laboratories.

In our country, the logic of a mixed public and private system favored the latter with privatizations, subsidies and benefits to the detriment of the public state system. Today, the so-called Unified Health System is an empty shell that cannot respond to the basic every day demands of health care, much less will it be able to face a pandemic. That is why the health minister, Mandetta said that the system will collapse, though he later contradicted himself due to the pressure of a desperate Bolsonaro in the face of the growing economic crisis. Our proposals against coronavirus are:

  • No to the payment of the public debt. All that money must go to the health care system and to resolve the social problems created by the pandemic.
  • Budget injection to the SUS. Immediate hiring of health professionals at the federal, provincial and municipal spheres at all levels and functions.
  • Massive population tests to identify and contain Covid-19 contagions.
  • Disposition of all the beds of the private health care network for the population. Private hospitals and clinics that refuse to serve the population must be nationalized without compensation.
  • Make hotel rooms and beds available for homeless people.
  • For a state single-payer, universal, free and quality health care system.
  • Nationalize banks and foreign trade to halt capitalist speculation with the hunger of the people.
  • Prohibit layoffs and suspensions by law, and any company that does not comply must be nationalized and placed under the control of its workers.
  • A DIEESE minimum wage for all unemployed and informal workers.
  • Renationalization of all public companies.
  • Price freeze of all water, electricity, telephone and internet bills and of all products in the basic food basket. Price freeze of fuels, cooking gas, IPTU and IPVA.