President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree Monday to dispatch Brazilian soldiers to the Amazon in a bid to curb surging deforestation, just two months after withdrawing troops from the region and days after his Environment Minister resigned. Amazon deforestation has been ticking upwards for several years, but surged since the 2018 election of Bolsonaro, who repeatedly called for development of the rainforest.
The Copa America football tournament has been given the go-ahead to kick off in Brazil despite high numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country. Brazil is hosting the competition after the withdrawal of Colombia and Argentina and the first game is due to be played on Sunday at the Mané Garrincha stadium in the capital, Brasilia. President Jair Bolsonaro has staunchly supported Brazil hosting Copa America.
Twenty-five people, including one police officer, were killed in a police anti-drug raid in a slum on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, according to state police, despite a Supreme Court order banning such operations other than in “absolutely exceptional” circumstances during the pandemic. Human rights groups and academic researchers say the widely criticized raid in the Jacarezinho favela was among the deadliest operations in the history of Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil has recorded more than 4,000 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time, as a more contagious variant fuels a surge in cases. Hospitals are overcrowded, with people dying as they wait for treatment in some cities, and the health system is on the brink of collapse in many areas. The country’s total death toll is now almost 337,000, second only to the US.
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is facing the biggest crisis of his presidency after the heads of the army, navy and air force all quit and the country recorded its highest daily Covid-19 death toll. The unprecedented resignation of the defence chiefs is being seen as a protest at attempts by Mr Bolsonaro to exert undue control over the military. Mr Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted over his response to Covid-19.
Health systems in most of Brazil’s largest cities are close to collapse because of Covid-19 cases, its leading health institute warns. More than 80% of intensive care unit beds are occupied in the capitals of 25 of Brazil’s 27 states, Fiocruz said. Experts warn that the highly contagious variant in Brazil may have knock-on effects in the region and beyond.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday he tested positive for the novel coronavirus after months minimizing the severity of the pandemic and defying medical experts, even as the virus has killed more than 66,000 people in his country. The right-wing populist gave the news to reporters at his official residence standing just inches away from him, adding to criticism of his cavalier approach to the outbreak in Brazil.
The Brazilian government has been accused of totalitarianism and censorship after it stopped releasing its total numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths and wiped an official site clean of swaths of data. Health ministry insiders told local media the move was ordered by far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, himself – and was met with widespread outrage in Brazil, one of the world’s worst-hit Covid-19 hotspots.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday the idea of creating an international alliance to save the Amazon rainforest would be treating Brazil like “a colony or no man’s land,” calling it an attack on the country’s sovereignty. On Twitter, Bolsonaro questioned the intentions behind French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to garner support for an international action plan to help preserve the Amazon.
Spanish police have arrested a member of the air force traveling with the Brazilian president’s advance party for the G20 summit in Japan after 39kg of cocaine was discovered in his luggage during a stopover in Seville. Bolsonaro confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday night, saying he had been informed of the airman’s arrest by the defense minister.