Written by IDU member party Democratas Youth President and IYDU Chairman Bruno Kazuhiro, Rio de Janeiro, June 2020
The Brazilian scenario is challenging, but Democratas has defended society
The coronavirus pandemic has made the Brazilian political scene even more polarized than it already was. On the one hand, there is President Bolsonaro, his supporters and their disbelief in the importance of social distancing and the deep gravity of the health crisis. On the other hand, we have the opposition parties, a large part of the legislative branch, the Supreme Court, important governors, leaders of social movements, specialized doctors, the main media outlets and even members of the government who disagree with the President’s position.
One of the first to disagree with the presidential neglect of the virus and its consequences was the Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, an important member of IDU member party Democratas, who was applauded by different sectors of society for the didactic, clear, rational and scientific way in which he faced the crisis and defended the public health system. Mandetta’s popularity grew and the differences in strategy against the pandemic between him and the President deepened. Bolsonaro chose to fire Mandetta and continued to advocate opening up the economy while minimizing the pandemic. Minister Nelson Teich, who succeeded Mandetta, spent very little time in the post and, currently, the fight against the coronavirus is led by a general who acts as an interim. This scenario made room for a decisive role for state governments and the national parliament.
The Federal Supreme Court even decided to give governors the competence to establish decrees that decide on the circulation of people, the operation of commerce, the suspension of classes, the offer of transportation and general rules of social behavior such as the use of protective masks. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro visits cities and commercial establishments, encourages demonstrations in his favor and still does not use protective masks.
In some states, like the State of Rio de Janeiro, measures to combat the coronavirus were quickly taken, implementing social isolation and quarantine. A modular hospital that could serve COVID-19 patients and, subsequently, be a legacy for public health, was built in the short period of two and a half months. This hospital hasthe capacity to serve 300 patients, including 120 ICU beds.
The National Congress, in turn, led the creation of emergency financial aid for Brazilians in vulnerable situations and continued to work with virtual meetings. Currently, legislatures are debating the postponement of municipal elections scheduled for October. Rodrigo Maia and Davi Alcolumbre, presidents of the House and the Senate respectively, both influential leaders of Democratas, are expected to make thoughtful decisions. As this text is written, deaths from coronavirus continue to increase in Brazil, which demonstrates that measures and behaviors advocated by the President have not helped Brazilians. On the contrary. This is only aggravated by the fact that Brazil is a developing country, with deficiencies in the health infrastructure. However, the attempt by many political and social leaders to do the right thing is noteworthy. Democratas, IDU’s member in Brazil, has done and continues to do its part in favor protecting public health in this difficult moment of history.