[WSMDiscuss] Bolsonaro fires popular health minister after dispute over coronavirus response (Dom Phillips, in The Guardian)
kbzeese at gmail.com
Sun Apr 19 03:49:44 CEST 2020
Interesting. It looks like the health minister also upset the military.
Mandetta-Mania and the MilitaryOn Monday 13th April, word began to spread
that Brazil’s high profile Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, having
been saved from dismissal by the Military just a week earlier, had lost
Rumour was that Mandetta had upset the Generals in a frank interview with
TV Globo’s Fantástico,
previous night. By Thursday 16th he was gone.
In the interview, filmed shortly after his reprieve, a confident Mandetta
complained that Brazilians do not know whether to listen to him or the
President for guidance over Coronavirus safety, and made remarks that
appeared to attack Bolsonaro directly: *“I think there are a lot of
people…who see some fake news on the internet saying that this is an
invention of countries to gain economic advantage. Other people because
(they think) there is a worldwide plot against them. As if there’s a
solution, as if by magic nobody needs to make a sacrifice. When you see
people entering a bakery, entering a supermarket, lining up one after the
other, leaning against each other, leaning together, people having a picnic
in the park, this is clearly the wrong thing.”*
>From that point his dismissal seemed imminent, and reports emerged shortly
thereafter that the Military were already looking for a candidate for his
General Braga Netto, who is rumoured to be the Government’s key decision
maker, was given credit for saving Mandetta’s skin, and will likely have
had say on his replacement, Nelson Teich, who comes with Military’s
approval, unlike Osmar Terra, a rumoured contender for the post a week
before. It was always felt that clemency for Mandetta was only temporary.
Mandetta however is now hugely popular in Brazil, polling presidential
numbers, and is a contender for right-wing Democratas Party candidate in
64% rejected his sacking, according to Datafolha.
PCdoB analyst Ricardo Capelli observed that Mandetta is leaving the
government at an opportune moment, before the Coronavirus death count
accelerates, and while he is polling with a 76% approval rating. His
successor Nelson Teich will be held responsible for whatever happens next,
and Mandetta has now positioned himself as DEM’s first viable candidate for
the presidency in decades. (Democratas, formerly PFL, is one of the main
successor parties to the Military Dictatorship government, ARENA or *Alliance
of National Renewal*).
Thus, if Bolsonaro actually survives in place until 2022, Mandetta will be
a likely electoral opponent.
As the soap opera unfolded, and Mandetta-mania grew, many urged caution,
pointing to his actual profile and record. He is a hard-right pediatric
orthopedist who favoured the privatisation of Brazil’s public health
system, SUS, and enthusiastically backed the coup of 2016. He was simply on
the least deranged wing of a horror government, which in Brazil’s current
plight, made him appear like a saviour, merely for advocating adherence to
WHO guidelines on Covid-19, in accordance with Brazilian law
At new Health Minister Nelson Teich’s introductory speech, fired
predecessor Mandetta appeared cheerful enough, flanked by a smiling Braga
Netto. Although much of the response to Teich’s appointment has been alarm
and anger, his initial public rhetoric was not dissimilar to Mandetta’s,
yet he appears to favour the vertical or flexible isolation favoured by
Military top brass as well as Bolsonaro. With Mandetta’s soaring popularity
it would be damaging to contradict his positions. Teich is a private
oncologist, with no previous public health experience, who was an
unofficial advisor to Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign, and early
candidate for the Ministerial position. Controversy came quickly, with a
2019 video of the new Health Minister advocating that lifesaving resources
be prioritised for the young over the elderly, which is actually in breach
of the Brazilian constitution.
Three days before Mandetta’s dismissal, journalist Leonardo Attuch talked
of a power struggle in Brazil; that the Military, although pulling the
strings, did not want to visibly take power, that they did not want to be
held publicly responsible for the worst government in Brazilian history.
*“Bolsonaro has some power. He is threatening to do things. The Military
have some power, Congress has some power and society is perplexed just
watching this all unfold. What I really see in Brazil right now is a ship
with no captain. If we were going to have a military government they could
simply remove Bolsonaro and put Vice President Mourão in power. They could
force Bolsonaro to resign because the second that Bolsonaro loses all
support from the military he’ll be out. Therefore, he still has a support
base there. When we look at the most recent tweet by General Vilas Boas, he
is also saying that, like Bolsonaro, he is against isolation. He says we
have to look for balance and that we can’t have total isolation.”*
That the most powerful sectors of the Military, such as former head of
Armed Forces, General Villas Bôas, also favour relaxation of isolation and
quarantine is key.
This placed the Military, not only Bolsonaro, in conflict with the
increasingly influential public rhetoric of Mandetta, and his fate was
*Build power and resistance*
*Shift Wealth:** Economic Democracy*
*Its Our Economy *
*Democratize the MediaClearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)
On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 3:20 PM Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net> wrote:
> Friday, April 17, 2020
> Thanks Kevin
> This is good to know. If you can, please keep us updated.
> This is big… at so many levels.
> Here is the ‘most recent’ article mentioned below :
> *Brazil’s Power Vacuum: “Nobody wants to conduct a Ghost Train”*
> *The military won’t officially take over because nobody wants to be
> publically associated with the worst government in Brazilian history*
> By Leonardo Attuch
> Bolsonaro’s pen has less and less ink in it. Every day that goes by shows
> that he is losing power. This was shown during his April 9 live address to
> the Brazilian people. He said, “If you are unhappy with quarantine, you
> can’t complain about it to me, you have to complain to the governors.”
> The Supreme Court ruling is clear – he no longer has the power to revoke
> any quarantine order. So Bolsonaro is no longer running things. Every day
> that goes by he is weaker. But he still has some power. He has, for
> example, the power to do these publicity stunts – to go out to the bakery –
> he has the power to promote protests, he has the power to hold an official
> press conference or make an address to the Brazilian people. But he doesn’t
> have decision making power.
> I am sure that he was planning to fire his Health Minister Luiz Mandetta.
> He had made his mind up. And, evidently, this military managed to prevent
> it from happening. But nobody is hegemonic in this government. The
> government is in chaos and nobody is in charge. There is a power vacuum.
> Bolsonaro has some power. He is threatening to do things. The Military have
> some power, Congress has some power and society is perplexed just watching
> this all unfold.
> What I really see in Brazil right now is a ship with no captain. The
> governors are taking things into their own hands. The most appropriate
> image that comes to mind for Brazil is that of the ghost train – something
> scary happens every 5 minutes but I don’t think we have a military
> government installed in Brazil yet. If we were going to have a military
> government they could simply remove Bolsonaro and put Vice President Mourão
> in power. They could force Bolsonaro to resign because the second that
> Bolsonaro loses all support from the military he’ll be out. Therefore, he
> still has a support base there. When we look at the most recent tweet by
> General Vilas Boas, he is also saying that, like Bolsonaro, he is against
> isolation. He says we have to look for balance and that we can’t have total
> I think that the military would like to take charge of government with
> more economic growth. The Bolsonaro government is going to be a
> catastrophe. If he manages to stay in power for the full term it will go
> down in Brazilian history as a 4 year period in which Brazilians became 30,
> 40 or 50% poorer. A lot of people still don’t have an idea of the scope of
> this. It will be a government remembered for death and economic
> destruction. It will go down in the history books as the most tragic period
> in Brazilian history and the military is associated with this failure. They
> can’t just say that it was coronavirus – they created this mess. Imagine if
> Brazil were in the hands of Lula today. If the military had not interfered
> in politics, if the Military had not given all of its support to the Lava
> Jato investigation. If it hadn’t pressured the Supreme Court tolegitimize a
> false election in Brazil, Lula would be President today. Imagine what it
> would be like if Lula was in charge of the pandemic response. The fact of
> the matter, though, is that he got lucky to not be tied up in this mess.
> It’s the Brazilian people who are screwed.
> On Apr 17, 2020, at 3:08 PM, Kevin Zeese <kbzeese at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here is the explanation I got regarding the firing of the health minister.
> Hi Kevin, all the articles on the subject by a variety of authors are
> The top 8 are relevant to this subject.
> This is the most recent:
> It was always more a power struggle than a straight takeover. And as Leo
> Attuch explains above, the Military don’t actually want to be seen as in
> control at this moment.
> Regarding Minister Mandetta’s firing, there had been rumours all week that
> he had lost the Military’s support following a TV interview he gave, so
> everyone was expecting this to happen at some point.
> Doesn’t mean Bolsonaro has won, he’s still weakened, but he may have got
> his way this time.
> We will have more updates when things become clearer.
> Thanks for getting in touch.
> *Build power and resistance*
> *Popular Resistance*
> *www.PopularResistance.org <http://www.popularresistance.org/>*
> *Shift Wealth:** Economic Democracy*
> *Its Our Economy *
> *www.ItsOurEconomy.US <http://www.itsoureconomy.us/>*
> *Democratize the MediaClearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)
> Radio http://www.ClearingTheFOGRadio.org
> On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 2:46 PM John Foran <foran at soc.ucsb.edu> wrote:
>> I wonder how this squares with Emil Sader's eye-opening piece about who
>> is making the decisions in Brazil, and how widely known this is...
>> I have been looking for more on Emil's story since it came out. Does
>> anyone have updates?.
>> On Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 5:02 AM Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net> wrote:
>>> Thursday, April 16, 2020
>>> *Viruses in movement…, **Brazil in movement…, Power in movement…*
>>> [A further report, on what appears to be an apparent reversal of recent
>>> earlier reports (‘Brazilian President Bolsonaro Is Out Of Power, Replaced
>>> By General Netto’, by Emir Sader, Brazil Wire
>>> (and also at
>>> But what may also be ‘developing news’… :
>>> *Bolsonaro fires popular health minister after dispute over coronavirus
>>> Luiz Henrique Mandetta defended physical distancing
>>> Far-right president has downplayed impact of coronavirus
>>> Dom Phillips, in The Guardian
>>> [image: Bolsonaro with Luiz Mandetta earlier in March.]
>>> Jair Bolsonaro with Luiz Mandetta earlier in March. Photograph: Andre
>>> Coelho/Getty Images
>>> Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has sparked protests and anger by
>>> sacking his popular health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, after the two
>>> over Bolsonaro’s highly controversial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
>>> “I have just received notice of my dismissal from President Jair
>>> Bolsonaro,” Mandetta tweeted
>>> <https://twitter.com/lhmandetta/status/1250865863755997189> on
>>> Thursday. “I would like to say thank you for the opportunity that was given
>>> to me, to manage our health service … and to plan our fight against the
>>> coronavirus epidemic, this great challenge that our health system is about
>>> to face.”
>>> Speaking shortly after Mandetta’s exit was announced, Bolsonaro claimed
>>> the separation had been “a consensual divorce” – but signaled
>>> dissatisfaction with his former minister’s position on the economic impact
>>> of coronavirus.
>>> “I know … life is priceless. But the economy and jobs must return to
>>> normal,” Bolsonaro said, as he introduced his new health minister, Nelson
>>> Teich, an oncologist who was CEO of a group of private clinics and is now a
>>> partner in a medical service consulting outfit.
>>> Mandetta’s sacking has been anticipated for weeks, as Bolsonaro
>>> repeatedly downplayed coronavirus and urged the relaxation of social
>>> distancing measures while Mandetta defended
>>> such policies.
>>> But the move to force out Brazil’s most senior health official came just
>>> weeks before the virus is expected to reach its peak in the country.
>>> Confirmed cases have soared to more than 30,425 and 1,924 Brazilians have
>>> When news of the sacking broke, shouts of “Bolsonaro murder!” were heard
>>> in central Rio de Janeiro and pan-bashing protests erupted in cities across
>>> the country.
>>> “It absurd to change the health minister in the middle of a pandemic,”
>>> said one Rio de Janeiro intensive care doctor, speaking anonymously for
>>> fear of repercussions.
>>> “It was a terrible decision by the president, a president imprisoned in
>>> empirical ideas without any scientific or clinical basis, who is going
>>> against everything that is happening in the world.”
>>> Bolsonaro’s public call for Brazil to get back to work and his efforts
>>> to undermine regional governments’ shutdowns
>>> has appalled critics and sparked a political rebellion by the governors of
>>> nearly all of Brazil’s 27 states.
>>> In contrast, during calm daily briefings Mandetta advised Brazilians to
>>> follow state governments’ advice on isolation.
>>> “Don’t think that we are going to escape a sharp rise in cases of this
>>> illness,” he said in his final briefing
>>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqE7gAqFpjU&feature=youtu.be> on
>>> Thursday. “The health system still isn’t read [to deal with] a rapid
>>> increase [in cases].”
>>> Writing ahead of Bolsonaro’s decision, the political commentator Leandro
>>> Colon said Mandetta’s sacking might be good news “for those rooting for
>>> Jair Bolsonaro’s quick downfall”.
>>> Such a move would further isolate the rightwing populist and could
>>> provoke “a political reaction of major proportions”, Colon wrote
>>> in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper.
>>> But Colon warned that Mandetta’s removal would also be bad news for the
>>> health of Brazil’s 209 million citizens.
>>> Recent modelling
>>> by researchers from Imperial College London suggested Brazil could have
>>> more than 1.1 million Covid-19 deaths if no action were taken to control
>>> the pandemic; 529,000 if only elderly people were forced to isolate; and
>>> 44,200 if drastic measures were implemented.
>>> Speaking after Mandetta’s firing, Bolsonaro painted himself as a
>>> protector of the poor.
>>> “We cannot harm the neediest – they have no way of staying at home for
>>> very long without going out to seek their sustenance,” he said.
>>> In his farewell press conference, Mandetta urged his former staff to
>>> mount an “unyielding defense of life and science” – a clear swipe at his
>>> former boss.
>>> “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Science is light … and it is through
>>> science that we will find a way out of this.”
>>> His successor, Teich, said Brazil needed a full testing programme to
>>> better understand the new coronavirus and promised no “abrupt decision” on
>>> social distancing.
>>> But he also made it clear Brazil would slowly start reopening. “What we
>>> are really doing here today is working for society to return to normal as
>>> quickly as possible,” he said.
>>> Jai Sen
>>> Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of
>>> International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of
>>> jai.sen at cacim.net
>>> Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on
>>> unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900)
>>> CURRENT / RECENT publications :
>>> Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – *The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking
>>> Our Dance*. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press
>>> Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – *The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes
>>> Us Move ?* (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in
>>> collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press. Hard copy available at
>>> , MOM1Flipkart
>>> and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
>>> Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – *The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us
>>> Move ?*. New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press. Ebook and
>>> hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
>>> *SUBSCRIBE TO World Social Movement Discuss*, an open, unmoderated, and
>>> self-organising forum on social and political movement at any level (local,
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> Jai Sen
> Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of
> International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of
> jai.sen at cacim.net
> Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on
> unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900)
> CURRENT / RECENT publications :
> Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – *The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our
> Dance*. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press
> Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – *The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us
> Move ?* (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration
> with OpenWord and PM Press. Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN
> , MOM1Flipkart
> and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
> Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – *The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us
> Move ?*. New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press. Ebook and
> hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
> *SUBSCRIBE TO World Social Movement Discuss*, an open, unmoderated, and
> self-organising forum on social and political movement at any level (local,
> national, regional, and global). *To subscribe, simply send an empty
> email to wsm-discuss-subscribe at lists.openspaceforum.net
> <wsm-discuss-subscribe at lists.openspaceforum.net>*
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