RIO DE JANEIRO. The numbers of victims of the coronavirus grew uncontrollably on April 22, but President Jair Bolsonaro and his cabinet barely mentioned the pandemic in a meeting recorded that day, a video that outraged and fueled a potentially explosive investigation against the president.
One of the few mentions made of Covid-19 during the video, released by a Supreme Court judge investigating whether the far-right president obstructed justice by firing the head of the federal police, was when the environment minister He said the government should take advantage of the distraction created by the pandemic to lower the country’s environmental protection standards.
Filled with obscenities, insults, diatribes and incriminating statements, the video caused outrage in the South American giant, where many questioned the way of doing government policy in the midst of the pandemic.
“They are two hours full of bad words and delirium, ridicule and lack of respect for the country. Brazil is going through its worst crisis in decades, and the president never mentions the pandemic as a problem that worries him, ”wrote columnist Miriam Leitao in the Globo newspaper. “The absence is shocking.”
The video was recorded two days before former Justice Minister Sergio Moro resigned from the post accusing Bolsonaro of “interference” in the federal police.
According to various reports, the police are investigating cases in which Bolsonaro and members of his close circle are implicated, such as his son Carlos, a Rio de Janeiro councilor, for allegedly supervising a false news campaign to benefit his father.
In the video, Bolsonaro criticizes the federal police for not giving him information and says: “I am not going to wait for them to screw up my family and friends.” Bolsonaro denies trying to end the investigations and said the video showed that the accusations against him were a “farce.”
The analysts’ opinion on the content of the video, released by Judge Celso de Mello, was not a “smoking gun” to incriminate the president.
However, other material contained in the images could be detrimental to Bolsonaro, who sees his disapproval increase among citizens 18 months after he was sworn in for four years.
The Brazilian president called two state governors “piece of shit” and “pile of manure” for opposing him by imposing confinement measures to deal with the coronavirus.
The media counted 39 rude words in total, 31 from the president. Commentators, opposition parties and civil society condemned the tone of the meeting.