Tuesday, June 15

Paulo Guedes: The macabre words of Bolsonaro’s minister on the public health system | Opinion

Brazil's Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, on January 12 in Brasilia.
Brazil’s Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, on January 12 in Brasilia.ADRIANO MACHADO / Reuters

I write this column at the dramatic moment in which Brazil counts 400,000 dead victims of the covid-19. It is a sad anniversary that could have been largely avoided without the attitude of contempt for life displayed by President Jair Bolsonaro and his stance to block the vaccine. To this is now added the macabre statement of days ago by his Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, who affirmed that the public health system (SUS) is bankrupt because people want to live too long: “up to 100 years,” he said.

On the same day that the Senate’s ICC (Parliamentary Investigation Commission) was created to investigate possible crimes against the Covid-19 tragedy, Minister Guedes made serious statements about the public health system under consideration, despite its failures , as one of the most advanced in the world. It is a glory of Brazil that not even the rich Americans have managed to implant despite the attempts of former President Barack Obama.

Guedes in his speech on the 27th, who did not know that he was being taxed, said that the current SUS “is bankrupt.” With this affirmation, he sent at the same time a subliminal message to healthcare entrepreneurs that the future of healthcare in Brazil will have to pass into the hands of the private sector, thus favoring the private insurance industry. What about the millions of poor people who will never be able to pay for insurance or be cured in a private hospital? There comes the most inhuman part. According to the minister, the fault of the collapse of the public health system would not lie with the State but with the people who intend to live too long. It is a statement that blames the health disaster on people’s desire to live as long as they can.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that the minister criticized people for wanting to live long when the Senate ICC investigated the president’s conduct during the pandemic, which has earned him the criticism of causing a national genocide with his denialism and his rejection of the vaccine.

We cannot forget that one of the captain’s first statements about the pandemic was that “we must all die” and that in the end those who are most infected and die are the elderly and the chronically ill, since athletes like him and the strong resist best. It was then that he revealed that what worried him about the pandemic was above all the economic problem. Therefore, the death of the elderly and the sick mattered less since they are not a workforce. They would be, for him, parasites that consume without producing.

That lack of humanity of Bolsonaro, who seems to praise the death of the useless and unproductive, perfectly combines with the cold and cruel statement of his Minister of Economy that stigmatizes the desire of people to continue living since it could endanger the God of liberalism for whom people serve only as long as they are capable of producing. Otherwise, it is better that they repress their instincts of wanting to continue living since they imply a burden on the economy. A good topic for the ICC to investigate the covid is the responsibility of those who let the epidemic run seen as a kind of ethnic cleansing to eliminate the lives that cruel capitalism considers useless and even dangerous for the system.

It is a pity that the 400,000 fatalities of the pandemic cannot rise from their graves to be witnesses in the ICC investigations. Surely the results of the investigation would be very different from what they will be because of the creeping political games that these ICCs usually involve.

Guedes’ macabre words that the fault that the health system does not work because people insist on wanting to live “up to 100 years” suggests that the best thing would be to create a general euthanasia of those who have already lived enough and not they can produce so as not to bankrupt the economy.

It is proved once again that the philosophy of Bolsonarismo is closely linked even metaphorically to death and not to life. Something that is revealed more and more clearly in the language, in the gestures imitating the weapons, in the Nazi symbols, in the love for war and violence, in their contempt for the weak who would not deserve to live and for their feelings of revenge coupled with a hidden cowardice and fear of life.

Freud taught us, inspired by Greek mythology, that the two columns that support the world are the Eros and the Thanatos, that is, the love of life and reproduction and the feelings of death. And that in the end, the love for life has always prevailed in the world over death, since otherwise the world would not exist. The effort to continue living despite all the difficulties that life entails ends up being greater than the instinct for death and destruction. That is why humanity has continued to live despite great catastrophes, world wars and epidemics. It always ends up overcoming the instinct of wanting to continue living. Bolsonarism, in reverse, seems to bet on Freudian Thanatos, on death, negativity, violence and destruction.

It is embarrassing at the time when Brazil sadly appears the center of the pandemic in the world that the General, Minister of the Government, Luiz Eduardo Ramos, has revealed that he has been vaccinated “secretly”, certainly out of fear of the reaction of his boss Captain Bolsonaro. The general ended up confessing: “Yes, I was vaccinated, I am not ashamed, because like every human being, I want to live.”

The journalist from Folha de S. Paulo, Joao Batista Natali, after having spent 21 days in a coma induced by covid-19, has told in his newspaper the pain that he supposed to have been dead during all that time. His story ends with the cry: “How beautiful life is!” Hopefully his cry of homage to life has reached the ears of the minister who criticizes people who want to live too long.

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