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FEATURING MARIA LUÍSA MENDONÇA – Coronavirus infections have sharply risen in Brazil, where the spread of the disease has been described as a “free fall.” In the country’s favelas, home to many of the nation’s poorest, residents have taken to organizing their own response to the virus in the absence of leadership from Brazil’s authoritarian president Jair Bolsonaro.

The Bolsonaro government recently came under fire for manipulating Covid-19 data and was forced by the nation’s supreme court to restore a national tracking database. Most troublingly there are now reports that Bolsonaro’s government is exploring the use of the military in order to hold on to power. Bolsonaro’s own son, who is an admirer of Brazil’s former military dictatorship said, “It’s no longer an opinion about if, but when this will happen.”

Maria Luísa Mendonça, Director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights, and Visiting Scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.

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