When Klinger Duarte Rodrigues left for his coronavirus vaccine last weekend, he did so dressed as a South American snake.
“TO juices”He said, using the indigenous name for the Amazon water boa whose skin he borrowed for his first dose of AstraZeneca.
Costume – footage of which It immediately went viral on social media, it was not simply a fashion statement: it was a protest against the Brazilian government’s regrettable handling of a Covid outbreak that has killed more than 545,000 citizens, including Rodrigues’ brother-in-law.
“If the government had rushed to acquire the vaccines, a lot of people would still be with us,” said the environmentalist and internet influencer who put up a poster in his snake disguise calling for the removal of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Rodrigues’ protest was not the only reptilian act of resistance documented as Brazilians addressed his coups, and the explanation for his choice of clothing is the president himself.
Last year, Bolsonaro, who interrupted vaccination efforts by purchasing insufficient vaccines and refusing to obtain one himself, sarcastically claimed that the Pfizer shot could turn recipients into alligators. In response to that notorious comment, pro-science opponents, furious at Bolsonaro’s denialist behavior, have been vaccinated dressed as different types of reptiles.
Most come as alligator– The scaly crocodile native to various parts of Brazil, including the Amazon, a region that has come under increasing attack from illegal loggers and miners since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.
“My costume was a way of expressing my horror,” said Leila Fernandes, a 60-year-old educator from the city of Fortaleza whose crocodile jumpsuit was designed to reflect her fury at Bolsonaro’s “abhorrent” handling of the Covid epidemic, sabotage of containment measures and promotion of ineffective remedies.
“I lost my mother-in-law, my niece’s husband, and several close friends. It will be difficult for you to find a family that has not lost a loved one, ”said Fernandes. “We cannot forget what this fellow president has done … So many Brazilians have been buried that they could have escaped death, but they died because of the president’s impositions.”
Rodrigues, who lives in the Amazon city of Manaus, said he had decided to go one step further and transform into an anaconda. “It is a traditionally Amazonian animal [and] it represents medicine and science, ”said the 29-year-old. whose TikTok video of his vaccination has been seen more than 6.4 million times.
Rodrigues lost his 37-year-old brother-in-law, a composer named Rafael Marupiara, to Covid earlier this year when Manaus suffered a devastating health collapse that caused patients to suffocate after hospitals ran out of oxygen.
“The atmosphere here was so heavy, there was so much suffering and sadness… The streets were deserted. Everyone was locked inside for fear of what might happen, “he recalled about that deadly crisis.
Six months later, Rodrigues, who declined to reveal the costume he would wear for his second dose in October, hoped his outfit would bring a much-needed touch of cheer and convince undecided Brazilians to get vaccinated. “The best way out of this pandemic is the vaccine.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism