April 24, 2020
1. Moro, most popular minister of the Bolsonaro administration, quits
The most popular minister in the Bolsonaro administration – who had higher approval ratings than the president himself – left the government this morning. Minister of Justice and Public Security, Sergio Moro was one of the head judges in Operation Car Wash. In a statement, he said that he did not agree with Bolsonaro firing Federal Police general director Maurício Valeixo. According to Moro, the decision demonstrated direct interference with the autonomy of the police. Moro also said that he agreed with substitutions in the Federal Police as long as the people responsible explained the reasons for the changes and the selection of the substitutes. According to Moro, the president wants people closer to him commanding the central and regional Federal Police in order to gain access to privileged information about investigations. “I cannot agree with this. Investigations must be independent,” he said. The now former minister had been in disagreement with the President for a while. Recently, Moro said that he was in favor of social isolation to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Brazil, against what the president had been saying. Moro was considered to be a symbol of the fight against corruption in Brazil. According to a Datafolha poll in December, as a minister, Moro was considered great or good by 53% of Brazilians. At the same time, only 30% of people thought the same of Bolsonaro.
Folha de S.Paulo: Moro pede demissão e critica Bolsonaro
O Estado de S. Paulo: Bolsonaro quer romper sigilo de investigações, diz Moro
O Globo: Veja a repercussão da saída de Moro
G1: Assista íntegra do pronunciamento de Sergio Moro
2. President enlists centrists to boost legislative support
President Jair Bolsonaro began a campaign to obtain the support of representatives from the politically centrist group known as Centrão. The group has 130 representatives out of the 513 members of the Chamber of Deputies. Centrão is composed of politicians from the parties that represent “old politics” – as described by Bolsonaro – such as DEM, Republicanos, Solidariedade, PL and PP, among others. Bolsonaro aims to strengthen support for his government in Congress and influence the vote for the successor of the current president of the Chamber of Deputies Rodrigo Maia, with whom the President does not have a good relationship. The succession will only be decided in February next year, but the administration needs to have the support of the majority in Congress to get bills approved. The president nominated Chief of Staff Minister General Walter Braga Netto to coordinate negotiations. In only 15 days, the minister took at least seven party representatives to the presidential residence to negotiate, indicating that the administration will support requests and nominate politicians from allied parties for government positions. Some Bolsonaro supporters are opposed to giving nominations for key political positions in exchange for Congressional support.
O Globo: Bolsonaro negocia aliança com o Centrão
O Estado de S. Paulo: Apoiadores se dividem sobre oferta de cargos ao Centrão
Folha de S.Paulo: General comanda articulação política do presidente
3. Recovery plan aims to generate 1 million jobs
This week, without the direct involvement of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, the administration announced some of the main attributes of the Pró-Brasil program, aimed at economic recovery. The plan is the responsibility of Chief of Staff Minister General Walter Braga Netto and it will be better explained next week. According to Bolsonaro, Paulo Guedes will be present. The plan aims to restart public construction works using public funds and it will begin in October. A total of 70 construction works – the majority of them in the transport sector – have been listed as priorities in the post-crisis recovery plan. The administration plans to provide up to R$ 30 billion (USD $5.24 billion) by 2022 to begin the works, which could generate around 1 million jobs. Ministers have been informed that the crisis could last until 2021 and that the measures that have been adopted by the administration – represent a R$ 300 billion (USD $52.4 billion) increase in public spending – are only palliative. The administration’s economy team has not participated in the discussions directly, but is opposed to increases in public expenditure, arguing for more credit to companies of all sizes subject to collateral.
4. New Health Minister unveils plan to end isolation
The new Minster of Health – Nelson Teich – has argued for a plan to end social isolation in states and cities simultaneously. According to him, the country will not survive a year with the economy halted. The minister said that 70% of people need to be contaminated by the virus in order for them to have herd immunity. He said that there hasn’t been a substantial increase in the number of cases. “If we consider that there is a large margin of error, like a hundred times in a hypothetical example, it represents 4 million people. We are now 212 million. This means that there are 208 million people who do not have COVID-19 and still have other health problems that need to be treated,” he said. Since he took over, Teich has said the logistics of the fight against the disease needs to be reconsidered. He authorized an increase in the number of COVID-19 test kits from 24 million to 46 million but said that it is not a matter of testing the entire population, but testing more precise groups, like in an opinion poll. In São Paulo – where the most deaths have occurred – the state government decided to present a plan for a gradual end to social isolation beginning May 11th.
Folha de S.Paulo: Ministro elabora plano para o país sair da quarentena
Folha de S.Paulo: Governo descarta teste em massa para coronavírus
O Estado de S. Paulo: SP cria esquema para flexibilizar quarentena
5. Coronavirus lethality higher in seven states
According to data from the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction of Pernambuco – a source of information for the Ministry of Health’s daily reports – the lethality of the coronavirus is higher than the country’s average in seven states. According to data published yesterday, Paraíba is the state with the highest index of deaths per number of people infected at 11.59%. Next are the states of Pernambuco (8.87%), Rio de Janeiro (8.59%), Amazonas (8.10%), São Paulo (8.03%), Piauí (6.91%) and Alagoas (6.79%). The world average lethality rate is 7.01%. The most drastic situation is in Manaus – in Amazonas – where the spread of the disease led the local government to dig communal graves for the dead. Yesterday – according to the Ministry of Health – the rate of cases per one million inhabitants in Amazonas was the highest in the country at 521, followed by Amapá (512), Roraima (403), Ceará (381) and São Paulo (318).