Monday, April 19

The health emergency forces Bolsonaro to advance the payment of coronavirus aid | International

Residents of a favela in Rio de Janeiro, after receiving donations at a samba school this Thursday.
Residents of a favela in Rio de Janeiro, after receiving donations at a samba school this Thursday.RICARDO MORAES / Reuters

Some 40 million Brazilians among the most needy will begin to receive coronavirus pay again a week earlier than expected. The president, Jair Bolsonaro, appeared in Brasilia on Tuesday to confirm that the aid will be paid from Tuesday, April 6. The aid will be lower in beneficiaries, amount and duration than those made during the first wave of the epidemic, but they are considered essential so that more people can stay at home. The idea is that this helps curb the rapid rate of transmission of the covid, which has killed 66,000 people in March.

The news, the most desired by Brazilians who lost all their income with the pandemic, was overshadowed by the political-military crisis that broke out at the beginning of the week and by the anniversary of the military coup that the Executive encouraged to celebrate. Six candidates for the presidential elections next year signed a manifesto in defense of democracy. Leftist Lula da Silva was left out.

The payment of the coronavirus will be, in this second phase, 250 reais per month (44 dollars, 37 euros), less than half than the first time. There will be two exceptions. Single mothers who are head of the family again will receive more than the rest: 375 reais. And single-person families will receive less: 150 reais. The expected duration is four months. Finding the funds has not been easy. The Government and Congress have been negotiating for three months where to get the money. “It is one more debt of the Union,” warned the president. “This is not money that was in the coffers. And that will weigh us all ”, he added.

The pandemic has shot Brazil’s debt to 90% of GDP and the spending ceiling leaves little room for maneuver. Subscriptions will be digital to prevent people from queuing at branches.

Brazil was one of the countries that before began to pay a kind of basic income to those who were left completely helpless when the pandemic broke out. He made the first payments in April, when he decreed the first confinements. During the following months and until last January, the federal government injected some 48,000 million euros directly into the pockets of 70 million people, a third of Brazilians, to mitigate the blow among those who subsist on social assistance, informal workers and the self-employed. The end of aid was catastrophic for millions of families.

These had the short-lived effect of reducing extreme poverty to record lows and boosting Bolsonaro’s popularity in the impoverished northeast, the Brazilian region that remains most loyal to the Workers’ Party (PT).

The combination of the end of aid with the alarming worsening of the pandemic has increased discontent among citizens but also among the economic class. This week’s profound ministerial reshuffle is intended to appease those criticisms.

Lula’s political rehabilitation has shaken the board. It is a serious blow to the center-right sectors that aspired to their own alternative candidate for Bolsonaro. Six men who aspire to embody that option, a third way between Bolsonaro and Lula, released this Tuesday, the 57th anniversary of the last coup, a manifesto in defense of democracy.

They recall the path that led to the approval of the 1988 Constitution and affirm that “three decades later, democracy is threatened.” The governors of São Paulo, João Doria, and of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite (comrades and opponents in the Social Democratic Party of Brazil, PSDB), former minister Ciro Gómez (left center and head of a political clan from Ceará) sign the text. ), Henrique Mandetta, the Prime Minister of Health who Bolsonaro dismissed in this health crisis, Luciano Huck, a famous presenter of the channel Globe, and the former presidential candidate of the Novo João Amoedo party.

The initiative was promoted by Mandetta, who lost the position of minister for insisting that Brazil follow the recommendations of the WHO. “The fight for democracy is the point of convergence between this field in the center. We are not against Lula or (against) Bolsonaro. Most of Brazil loves neither one nor the other. We do not want saviors of the country, “he told the newspaper O’Globo.

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