in Brazil, Bolsonaro increasingly isolated from its management of the health crisis

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on April 1 in Brasilia. UESLEI MARCELINO / REUTERS

And suddenly Jair Bolsonaro tried to put on the clothes of a head of state. “We are facing the greatest challenge of our generation. My concern has always been to save lives ”, he affirmed Tuesday March 31, solemn, in a televised address to the nation. Consensual speech, your tone surprisingly posed: the far-right leader seemed to finally take stock of the coronavirus crisis. "I reaffirm the importance of collaboration and the necessary union of all, in a great pact for the preservation of life", he added, unifying like never before.

The speech took the political class by surprise. "Which President of the Republic should we trust? ", asked the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria. For three weeks, in fact, Jair Bolsonaro had been working first to minimize the severity of the epidemic (which claimed 241 lives in Brazil), described as " grippette ». He doesn't risk anything anyway ("With my athletic past, if I was contaminated, I wouldn't have to worry"), and the Brazilian even less: "He never catches anything. He jumps into a sewer, swims, comes out… and nothing happened to him ”said the president.

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"Are some going to die?" Yes of course. I'm sorry, but this is life. You can't stop a car factory because there are road deaths every year, " also launched, opposed to the containment or closure of non-core economic activities, decreed by several States. On Sunday March 29, the president even allowed himself to leave his palace in the Alvorada forr "talk to the people" and visit several shops that have remained open in Brasilia, disregarding health regulations. Posted on social networks, the controversial videos of the visit were quickly deleted by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"He is alone, lost in his labyrinth"

So who should we believe? Doctor Jair or Mister Bolsonaro? On Friday, the far-right leader finally regained his usual accents, calling the press " vulture »arguing that Brazil " can't bear to stay at the stop for two or three months " and comparing the virus to a simple " rain " who will be content with " wet 70% (Population). "

By again holding this populist discourse, often insane, Jair Bolsonaro certainly manages to re-mobilize his electoral base, willingly conspiratorial. But his foot changes are first of all a sign of the deleterious climate reigning at the top of the state. The pandemic has indeed burst a purulent abscess, which has been infected month by month since coming to power. "What is happening today is more than a new episode: it is an institutional crisis", says Fernando Limongi, a political scientist at the University of Sao Paulo (USP).


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