The results of the first round of the general elections in Brazil surprising everyone, given the numbers in the polls on voters’ intentions carried out by various institutes in the weeks prior to election day. In the Oct. 2 vote, former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva almost made the 50% cut to win without a run-off, garnering 48.4% of the valid votes (57 million votes), but the surprise was that current president Jair Bolsonaro obtained 43, 2% of valid votes (51 million votes), a figure that far exceeded the projections in the polls up until the eve of the elections and demonstrated a degree of resilience and social penetration of the Brazilian extreme right that the progressive camp did not imagine existed.
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) that investigated president Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid 19 pandemic presented its report in October 2021. The conclusions of the investigation are bad news for the Brazilian president. The Covid CPI calls for the indictment of the president for at least nine crimes, among them crimes against humanity.
Indigenous Peoples in Latin America are facing a profoundly grave situation. They are on the losing end in the gap between the development of national and international normative standards for the protection of their rights and their lack of implementation on the ground. They not only face the State’s force, imposing “development” projects and dispossessing them from their lands; but also illegal armed groups that dispute their territories with deadly force.
During these pandemic times, everything seems to indicate that the socio-environmental crisis is getting worse in Latin America, especially in the Amazon.
On January 17 nurse Monica Calazans became the first person vaccinated against COVID-19 in Brazil. The procedure took place during a much-awaited ceremony in São Paulo. However, after months of denial and heel-dragging from the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s late entry into the global race for vaccines could prove to be fatal for thousands of Brazilians.
Bolsonaro has isolated himself internationally. With approval ratings in free fall, the Brazilian president has increasingly moved to the far right.
After six days of fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in a Amazonas state hospital, a 15-year-old Yanomami teenage boy died in April 9 from complications caused by the coronavirus. The boy’s death sounded the alarm for Brazil’s Indigenous peoples who now face the fear of the virus alongside the stress of increasing criminal activities and government policies.
Just a few months into the year and the Bolsonaro government is up to it neck in scandals that have stymied its ambitious plans to reshape Brazil’s culture and impose a new conservative ideology based on nationalism, religious fundamentalism and militarism.
The fires that started August 16 are still raging in the Amazonian jungle. Although they no longer make international headlines, they have destroyed more than 12 million hectares.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s willingness to open Indigenous reserves to mining, agriculture and infrastructure has triggered a rise in invasions of indigenous lands by armed gangs of land grabbers, causing constant fear in indigenous communities.