Unió Europea i el Món, Cooperació Pau i Drets Humans

An alarm call to Europe: save Brazil

Open letter to members of parliament across Europe concerning the genocidal actions and the attack on Brazilian democracy by the government of Jair Bolsonaro

Maria Dantas, MP of Esquerra Republicana in the Congress of Deputies
Maria Dantas, MP of Esquerra Republicana in the Congress of Deputies

Brazil has just passed the figure of half a million people infected and 29,341 confirmed deaths due to Covid19 as at 31 May. The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) advised the presidency of the Republic about the efficiency of a lockdown in the face of the advance of the pandemic and of the lack of intensive care units throughout the country and the large quantity of non-notifications, warning of the enormous gravity of the situation. But Brazil is heading for the top of the pandemic curve in a political context that only worsens the situation.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s Amazon region has recorded this year record levels of illegal deforestation and the weakening of environmental protection agencies. So far, 76 indigenous peoples have been victims of the pandemic, with 1,747 infections and 167 deaths, spread across 14 states of the Brazilian federation, according to the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB). Clearly, for the Bolsonaro government, any means are acceptable to sacrifice the Amazon rainforest and indigenous peoples. All for economic interests.

In the midst of this landscape of devastation, Brazil has come under the leadership of denialists of the climate crisis and of the coronavirus, who spread conspiracy and flat-earth theories, who summon the far-right onto the streets to face up to what they call “communism”, “globalism”, “gender ideology”, “feminazis” and the “antichrist”. Their leader, President Bolsonaro, campaigns daily against WHO-recommended precautions, undermines the social distancing measures implemented by state governors and city mayors, campaigns explicitly against the lockdown and promotes demonstrations in favour of people coming out of their homes and going back to work. On the basis of this attitude, he made the Minister of Health resign because he resisted Bolsonaro’s orders and supported World Health Organisation directives. Less than a month later, another Minister of Health voluntarily abandoned the post, once again because he did not want to follow Bolsonaro’s orders to add Hydroxychloroquine to the protocols of Brazil’s universal health care system.

The Minister of Justice and Security also abandoned his office and denounced Bolsonaro for wanting to interfere in the Federal Police. As a result, the Supreme Court demanded as evidence the video of the 22 April Cabinet meeting. This video shows a series of presumed crimes by the president and several ministers, including the following declarations. Bolsonaro: “Whoever doesn’t accept my things, my flags (...): family, God, Brazil , arms, freedom of expression, free market. Whoever doesn’t accept this is in the wrong government. (...) We need to open the arms question here. I want everyone armed! An armed people will never be enslaved!”. The Minister of the Environment, speaking of the Amazon: “We must make an effort while we are in this quiet moment of press coverage, because they’re only talking about Covid, to bring in the cattle, to change all the rules and simplify the laws, (...) to approve the illegal reforms of deregulation, simplification, make all the reforms...”. From the Minister of Education: “I myself would put all these vagabonds in prison. Starting with the Supreme Court!”... “I hate the term indigenous peoples, I hate that term. I hate it. Or ‘the gypsy people’. There is only one people in this country: the Brazilian people!”. The Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights: “So, we are having a confrontation, we have already opened more than five thousand legal procedures in our ministry and we are demanding the arrest of some Governors and mayors” (because these state Governors and city mayors have decreed confinement measures). Or the Minister of Finance: “We have to sell this shit now!” (on the Bank of Brazil), among others.

There are 210 million people in the hands of an erratic management of the pandemic and of a serious institutional political crisis. The British magazine, The Lancet, an authority in the field of science and medicine, stated that “the biggest threat to Brazil’s COVID-19 response is its president, Jair Bolsonaro”. Their editorial highlights his attitude against lockdown, his contempt for thousands of deaths, the political crisis provoked by the president in a time of pandemic, the dismantling of Science and Public Health, and declares that Bolsonaro “needs to drastically change course or must be the next to go”. The magazine is right, because Bolsonaro insistently refuses to accept expert recommendations, promotes a drug that according to the WHO could be lethal, and pushes for companies to reopen and for workers to return to their jobs. The president’s only concern is the economy, because he wants to be re-elected in 2022.

The Bolsonaro government’s attitude of downplaying the seriousness of the Brazilian dictatorship, the verbatim quotes from Joseph Goebbels in official videos, the daily insults against the press, the political class, the black population, indigenous peoples, the LGTBIQ + population, women, the poor, make up the ideology and staging of a genocidal government project, which uses eugenicist actions as public policies.

The Speaker of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies already has on his table more than 36 requests for Bolsonaro’s impeachment, presented by various parliamentary groups and more than 400 Brazilian civil society organisations. Several manifestos have been presented from the legal, academic, scientific and social world, rejecting the Bolsonaro government and calling for unity of action in defence of the values, principles and republican structures of Brazil, which are being eliminated by this government.

The international community must take action and adopt a clear position concerning the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, in the face of the advance of the Covid 19 pandemic in Brazil, the increasing deforestation in the Amazon, and the threats to indigenous peoples and human rights in general. It cannot remain silent in the face of the situation of the Brazilian people knowing that, in just a few weeks, two health ministers left office, the Minister of Justice resigned due to the president’s interference with the Federal Police, the Minister of Environment wants to take advantage of the crisis to expand mining and agriculture in protected lands of the Amazon rainforest and the president wants to “arm” the population so they can take to the streets against lockdown.

I call for help in the face of the genocidal actions, and the attacks on democracy, the rule of law and Brazilian republican structures, being committed by Jair Bolsonaro and his government. It is not possible to continue accepting this in silence. A statement from parliamentarians around the world is needed.


Madrid, 31 May 2020


Maria Dantas

Member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain

Republican Parliamentary Group - ERC