Jair Bolsonaro

President Trump is barring the entry of most non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil within the past 14 days, the White House announced on Sunday, citing concerns over Brazil's rapidly worsening coronavirus crisis.

"Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

COMMENTARY

We know one likely reason Brazil’s coronavirus emergency is in full meltdown. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro calls the pandemic a “media hoax” and has done everything in his power, like hosting a large pro-Bolsonaro street rally last weekend, to undermine social distancing.

YESICA FISCH / AP

Brazil is now the world’s fastest growing COVID-19 hotspot. Each day the country is reporting more than 10,000 new infections – and about a thousand new deaths. Brazil’s top scientists say the country isn’t even close to its pandemic peak yet. And over the weekend its health minister quit – the second to leave in a month.

WLRN’s Christine DiMattei spoke with Americas editor Tim Padgett about Brazil’s COVID-19 meltdown – and the political chaos that’s making it worse.

Andre Borges / AP

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called COVID-19 a media “hoax.” His health minister challenged the president’s denial of the pandemic. And that health minister is now out of a job.

Andre Borges / AP

COMMENTARY

President Trump turned up the pandemic chaos this week by halting U.S. funding of the World Health Organization and ordering his name slapped on U.S. Treasury relief checks. His Brazilian buddy, President Jair Bolsonaro, has effectively responded by saying: “Hold my beer.”

AP

Until this month, it looked like Latin America and the Caribbean might be spared the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the world saw the tragic images from Ecuador of a sudden and overwhelming number of deaths from the new coronavirus – of corpses lining the sidewalks in the port city of Guayaquil. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Brazil is doubling or tripling every week – and so are the number of deaths.

Alfredo Zuniga / AP

COMMENTARY 

On the opening page of his guerrilla memoir "Fire from the Mountain," Nicaraguan revolutionary Omar Cabezas calls his birthplace "a ghost town” during Semana Santa, or Holy Week, because everybody bolts for the countryside or the beaches to congregate and party.

This is Semana Santa, the week before Easter, and Nicaragua is still congregating and partying – in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic that's killed almost 90,000 people worldwide.

AP

Latin America and the Caribbean have so far avoided the scarier level of COVID-19 infection seen in Europe, Asia and the U.S. But the region’s numbers are starting to jump. And hemispheric health experts on Tuesday had a warning for one country in particular.

Andre Borges / AP

COMMENTARY

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro – the leaders of the two largest countries in the Americas – finished neck-and-neck in their latest race to be more coronavirus-irresponsible than spring-breakers on Miami Beach.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

One of the most popular, and most ridiculous, social media discussions of the past year is the big Capitalism-versus-Socialism Debate. Thanks to President Trump’s right-wing demonization of socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ left-wing demonization of capitalism, folks in America – and in Latin America, thanks to Sanders’ recent kudos to Cuba – have decided it’s an either-or issue.

It’s not, of course. The best societies are always a hybrid of free wealth production and fair wealth redistribution. And the coronavirus pandemic, from São Paulo to Seattle, may finally affirm that commonsense reality across our absurdly polarized hemisphere.

Brazilian Official Who Met With Trump, Rubio, Scott In South Florida Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Mar 12, 2020
Via Fabio Wajngarten's Instagram account

President Donald Trump said Thursday he’s not worried about reports in Brazilian media that the press secretary for President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for the coronavirus, just days after Bolsonaro and the press aide met with Trump in South Florida.

Netflix

COMMENTARY

I’m thankful to Ricky Gervais. As host of the Golden Globes this month he mocked Hollywood’s brazen hypocrisy – calling “The Morning Show,” for example, “a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company who runs sweatshops in China,” referring to Apple Inc.

That skewering of moviedom’s politically correct double standards has helped me understand why conservative Brazilians are irked by this week’s Oscar nomination of the documentary “The Edge of Democracy.”

Beto Barata / AP

This story was updated at 8:30 pm November 13, 2019. 

A group of Venezuelan opposition supporters took over the Venezuelan embassy in Brazil on Wednesday. By the evening, the Brazilian government said it had intervened to usher them out and return the mission to Venezuelan government control. At the same time Miami’s congressional delegation in Washington announced a new caucus to represent the interests of Venezuelan expats.

Victor R. Caivano / AP

Last week Brazilian soldiers were working to put out this year’s record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest. The irony is that they were there on the orders of their commander-in-chief, President Jair Bolsonaro – because he’s trying to put out another kind of fire.

Leo Correa / AP

COMMENTARY

Here’s a dirty little secret about Amazon deforestation that liberals prefer you overlook: the slash-and-burn may be ugly under right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, but it was bad when leftists controlled the rainforest, too. Under former President Dilma Rousseff, the liberal darling who ruled Brazil from 2011 until her impeachment in 2016, Amazon deforestation actually increased.

In no way does that excuse Bolsonaro’s reckless efforts to accelerate the trend – which in 2019 have resulted in an alarming 85 percent rise in Amazon fires that have destroyed more than 7,000 square miles of rainforest. What it points out is that Brazil, left or right, is and largely has been a lousy steward of an emerald ecosystem known as the lungs of the earth.

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