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Brazil’s yellow-and-green soccer jersey stirs up controversy

“MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>Brazil’s yellow-and-green soccer jersey stirs up controversy

The Brazilian soccer team's jersey colors have been co-opted by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. But some people say that the reelection of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in late October could change that.

The WorldNovember 22, 2022 · 12:30 PM EST

A soccer jersey for the Brazilian player known as Neymar is shown hanging up for sale. Brazil's yellow-and-green soccer jersey has ignited debate among fans because the colors have been co-opted by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose rallies are characterized by a sea of yellow and green. 

Michael Fox/The World

Soccer is a national obsession in Brazil, which has won more World Cup games than any other country.

And this year, Brazil is favored to win the World Cup once again. But the national team and its fans are grappling with the team’s iconic jersey colors: yellow and green.

Those are also the country’s colors, including the nation's flag, but they have been co-opted by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose political rallies are characterized by a sea of yellow and green.

Bolsonaro’s embrace of the country’s colors has divided Brazilians who reelected former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known simply as Lula) in late October.  

Lula takes office on Jan. 1. Bolsonaro didn't recognize Lula's win or his own defeat, but he authorized his chief-of-staff to carry out the process of transition, which began earlier this month. Still, Bolsonaro supporters are protesting the election results and calling for military intervention. Meanwhile, the national colors continue to be a prominent part of their displays. 

Supporters of Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro rallied for him wearing the country's national colors: yellow and green.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

“There has been a kidnapping of the flag and the shirt,” said Gustavo Turck, a journalist in Porto Alegre. “Literally, there has been a kidnapping of these symbols by this political sect.” 

It has had a profound impact on the way Brazilians see their national imagery.

“My daughter is 9. It's her second World Cup,” Turck said. “But today, she sees the flag or the Brazilian soccer jersey, and she immediately identifies it with Bolsonaro.”

That is by design. Bolsonaro is not the first Brazilian leader to appropriate the country's symbols. Brazil’s military dictatorship of the 1960s and 1970s strategically used the flag and the Brazilian soccer jersey to generate unity around the regime.

“The Brazilian military used these symbols as a way of showing patriotism, and the people who were against this were seen as enemies of the state,” said Carolina Botelho, a political scientist at the University of São Paulo’s Institute of Advanced Studies.

Bolsonaro has long praised the military dictatorship and even called for its return. And that has led many of his opponents to reject the flag, the colors and the national soccer jersey.

But some say that Lula could change that. During the election campaign, Lula said the yellow and green should represent all Brazilians, not just one group.

Brazil's soccer team wears an iconic yellow-and-green jersey. The jersey, shown here for sale, has become politicized.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

“Happily, since Lula won, we'll be able to use it again. People already are. But it’s a process. It won’t be immediate,” said Marcelo Idiarte, a blogger and avid soccer fan, who added that he has not worn the national jersey for years, because of what it has come to represent. 

“[The World Cup] could get others to use the colors. But the election is still very recent,” said sports historian Carolina Fernandes da Silva. “As are the illegal protests of Bolsonaro supporters calling for military intervention and trying to undermine the vote.”

People carry the Brazilian flag at a rally for former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was reelected in October.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

Brazil's top player Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (known as Neymar) also did not help. He avidly backed Bolsonaro, participating in live events with the president. In a video that went viral over social media, he danced to one of Bolsonaro’s campaign songs.

But some Lula supporters say that they can see beyond that.

“The flag is a national symbol. It doesn't represent one party. It represents us all, regardless of political party or ideology,” said Alex Brazil, a doctor who attended a Lula rally in late October with a green Brazilian flag draped over his shoulders. “So, taking back the flag is to rescue Brazil. It's to rescue our democracy.” 

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At COP27, Lula promises to resume Brazil’s ‘leading role’ as a climate defender

“MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>At COP27, Lula promises to resume Brazil’s ‘leading role’ as a climate defender

Brazil's President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is taking his concerns for the environment to the international stage. As a special guest at COP27 this week in Egypt, he said he’s going to tackle deforestation.

The WorldNovember 16, 2022 · 1:15 PM EST

Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, speaks at the COP27 UN Climate Summit, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. 

Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Before catching his flight on Monday to Egypt for the COP27 climate conference, Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent out a tweet: “We are returning to the world,” he wrote. 

The tweet was accompanied by a video in which world leaders were seen congratulating Lula on his electoral victory, and in which Lula said he’s going to protect the environment.

“You all know that we are going to undertake a big fight against deforestation,” Lula told world leaders in a speech on Wednesday.

“Brazil can’t remain isolated like it was these last four years. [Officials from Brazil] didn’t travel to any other countries, and no other countries traveled to Brazil."

Amazon deforestation can be seen here on Indigenous territory in the state of Rondônia.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

Under current President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil went from being a leader in the international battle against climate change, to a pariah. Lula said on election night that “it’s time to turn the page.”

"Brazil is ready to resume its leading role in the fight against the climate crisis, protecting all of our biomes, especially the Amazon rainforest. Brazil and the planet need a living Amazon,” he said.

"A tree standing is worth more than a ton of illegally harvested timber by those who think only of easy profit."

That was music to the ears of the members of Brazil’s environmental communities, including Juliana Kerexu — a Guarani leader who is representing Brazil’s Indigenous peoples at COP27.

"The Bolsonaro government had no dialogue with the Indigenous peoples of the country,” Kerexu said, during a press conference at the summit this week.

"In this moment of transition, we are hopeful for more democratic days.”

Small boats move in front of an island where trees have fallen in the Bailique archipelago district of Macapá, in the state of Amapa, in northern Brazil, Sept. 12, 2022.

Credit:

Eraldo Peres/AP

At COP27 on Nov. 15, Lula met with US Climate Envoy John Kerry, who said he was glad Lula was pushing for "once-and-for-all getting it right, pulling people together in order to preserve the Amazon.”

Indigenous communities and environmental advocates say Bolsonaro’s government has been a disaster. State agencies were gutted and defunded.

The country’s emissions of greenhouse gasses are at a nearly two-decade high, largely due to out-of-control fires and deforestation. The week following Lula’s electoral win, there were more than 1,300 blazes in just the Amazonian state of Rondônia, a 10-fold increase over last year.

Federal University of Amazonas ecology professor Henrique Pereira said Bolsonaro set the country back 50 years in terms of environmental protection, and it could take Lula some time to turn the tide.

But he will have help. Back when he was president of Brazil in the mid-2000s, Lula’s chief environmental ally was his then-environment minister Marina Silva — a former union leader of Amazonian rubber tappers. She later broke with Lula's government over political differences. Now, she’s back.

“That really has brought me a lot of hope," said Suely Araujo, the former head of Brazil’s environment agency and senior specialist at the Climate Observatory, a Brazilian nongovernmental organization.

"That really touched me when I saw Marina joining Lula’s campaign.”

Marina Silva poses for a photo with a Lula supporter in São Paulo, Brazil.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

Following a Lula rally last month, Marina Silva said she had already given Lula a series of documents with clear proposals about how to get to zero deforestation. 

"We are going to recuperate our environmental agencies that were destroyed and we are going to create a national agency against climate change," she said. 

Lula is not starting anew. When he came to power 20 years ago, deforestation rates in the Amazon were even worse than today. Lula enacted a series of landmark measures. They cut deforestation rates in half within two years. And Brazil hit its 2020 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation ahead of schedule.

"It was proven that Brazil can produce food and also conserve forests and its people. So, we know how to do it,” said Ane Alencar, science director at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute. "However, I think it's going to be difficult to do it again."

That’s because there are new complicated challenges. Above all, the complete lawlessness in the Amazon under Bolsonaro has empowered illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers.

In many areas, they've joined forces with powerful narco-trafficking groups, who are likely to push back on government measures to protect the forest.

But Lula says he’s ready.

Former environment agency director Suely Araujo said Lula’s participation in COP27 is a sign that Brazil is once again going to become a world leader in the fight against climate change. 

"Lula is going to lift Brazil into a key role in the climate negotiations,” she said, and become “a leader in decreasing climate emissions and greenhouse gasses."

Lula is not even president yet, and at COP27, he has received invitations to 10 bilateral meetings. Unlike his predecessor, who outright rejected international support in Amazon protection, Lula has welcomed the world's help in protecting Brazil’s forests.

At COP27, he called for the 2025 climate conference to be held in the Amazon, saying it was time for “people who defend the Amazon and defend the climate to get to know the region, close-up.”

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‘We want democracy’: Lula’s supporters celebrate his victory over Bolsonaro for the presidency in Brazil

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>'We want democracy': Lula's supporters celebrate his victory over Bolsonaro for the presidency in Brazil

Brazil has a new president-elect. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva beat out incumbent Jair Bolsonaro for the presidency in one of the most highly contentious races in the country’s history. 

The WorldOctober 31, 2022 · 3:30 PM EDT

Supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, now president-elect, rallied for him ahead of Sunday's final round of voting.

Michael Fox/The World

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) beat out incumbent Jair Bolsonaro — by less than 2 percentage points — in the final round of Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday.

Lula pledged to unite a very divided electorate, while Bolsonaro delayed in responding to the victory.

In the hours leading up to Lula’s victory, his supporters crowded into São Paulo’s Paulista Avenue.

Brazilians celebrated as former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva beat out incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the final round of the presidential election on Sunday. 

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

“It’s an honor to be here,” said Maiuco Barbosa Soares, alongside his children. “We want democracy. We want respect. Our current president doesn’t value the poor and the workers. That's who I am. The people want change.”

Soares is from Bahia — in northeastern Brazil. And it's people like him that put Lula over the top on Sunday in one of the most-contentious races in the country’s history. The northeast voted 70% in favor of Lula.

Many here share a common story: They came to Brazil’s financial capital in search of work — the same journey that brought Lula’s family here from the state of Pernambuco 70 years ago. 

The northeast is the poorest region of Brazil. In his acceptance speech, Lula promised that his No. 1 commitment would, once again, be fighting poverty and hunger. 

“We’re going to bring back the social inclusion programs that lifted 36 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty,” Lula said. “Brazil can no longer live with this immense bottomless pit, this immense inequality.”

The election itself went off without a hitch.  But videos shared widely over social media showed federal police stopping traffic and boarding buses. The police carried out over 500 operations along roads and highways across the country, reportedly to stop criminal actions. Many feared it was an attempt to stop people from voting, particularly in northeastern Brazil.

Voters showed up at the polls on Sunday for Brazil's final round of the presidential election.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

At one point, the hashtag, “Let Northeast Vote” even went viral on Twitter. But if it was an attempt to stop voters, it didn’t work. Voter turnout was higher than in the first round. 

But the deep divisions in the country have only hardened. 

Carolina Massad, speaking from a polling station in an upscale São Paulo neighborhood, said she wanted to cry when she voted.

“I felt like whichever candidate I voted for would be harmful to me. I was sad to vote. Either one that I [would choose] wasn't right,” she said.

Retiree Issac Nahon said the vote was simply a question of good versus evil. 

“If Lula wins, they will end our property rights, end our freedoms, end our jobs,” Nahon said.

But Lula has promised to unite the country. In a speech on Sunday night, he said he would stop deforestation, protect the Amazon and repair the rifts between the executive branch, the Supreme Court and Congress. He said he would govern for all Brazilians, not just one party. But it will be a challenge. 

As of Monday afternoon, Bolsonaro has yet to accept his defeat.

However, some of his top allies, including the head of the Lower House Arthur Lira, have made statements recognizing the results.

Supporters of Brazil's president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva rallied for him ahead of the last round of voting on Sunday. 

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

“Brazil showed, once again, the vitality of its democracy,” he said. “The will of the majority should never be contested.”

But around the country, some Bolsonaro supporters took to the streets to reject the incumbent president's loss.

In this video, truckers block a major highway and protesters waved Brazilian flags. 

A man off-camera says, “Today is Oct. 30. The Brazilian people know we have suffered a serious coup, and we are not going to accept it.”

As of Monday morning, truckers had blocked highways in at least five states. They said they would only leave if the military intervened.

Although the country’s future is uncertain, a number of Lula supporters on Paulista Avenue agreed that a huge weight they’d been carrying for more than four years has finally been lifted.

Brazil election puts fate of public education in the spotlight 

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil election puts fate of public education in the spotlight 

In the runoff election in Brazil, there are two very different visions for the future of public education. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has steadily been making cuts. While his challenger, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, vows to expand it. That’s what he did when he ran the country in the 2000s, and in northeastern Brazil, voters feel their very livelihoods depend on his return.  

The WorldOctober 17, 2022 · 3:15 PM EDT

Last Friday, tens of thousands were in the streets of Recife, Brazil. It was a sea of red — the color of presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers Party.

Michael Fox/The World

Last Friday, tens of thousands were in the streets of Recife, Brazil. It was a sea of red — the color of presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers Party. The former president known simply as “Lula” was in town for a campaign rally, and his supporters were ecstatic.

They chanted and sang. The march extended for blocks, winding across town. This is Lula country — the state he was born in, Pernambuco. And locals here voted overwhelmingly for him in the first round: 66.7% for Lula versus 27% for President Jair Bolsonaro across northeastern Brazil.

Priscila Marinho was among those who supported Lula.

“I have benefited directly from the public university,” she said. “I also did a master’s, and I had this opportunity because of the Lula government.”

In the Oct. 2 runoff election in Brazil, there are two very different visions for the future of public education. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has steadily been making cuts. While his challenger, Lula, vows to expand it. A Lula poster in Brazil is shown here.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

“Without a doubt,” said Marinho, who is young and Black, “Black youth are here marching to guarantee that the next generations have their rights to education preserved.”

In the Oct. 2 runoff election in Brazil, there are two very different visions for the future of public education. Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has steadily been making cuts while his challenger, Lula, vows to expand it. That’s what he did when he ran the country in the 2000s, and in northeastern Brazil, voters feel their very livelihoods depend on his return.

Lula’s legacy for Brazil’s education system runs deep. When he ran the country from 2003 to 2010, he created nearly 200 private and federal university systems and campuses. The number of students nearly doubled, and access for people of color expanded dramatically. By 2011, 70% of public universities had affirmative action programs. Experts say that Lula's policies were a huge success, particularly in northeastern Brazil.

Experts say that Lula's policies were a huge success, particularly in northeastern Brazil, a region with a larger Black population than elsewhere in the country, where residents had largely lacked the ability to access higher education. 

People on the streets of Recife, Brazil, rally for presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers Party. 

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

“For those who had never had access to university education before, it was really important,” said Amazonas Federal University professor Gisele Costa. “If you have a master’s or a doctorate, that’s like a title of nobility for a population that’s 29% functionally illiterate.”

By contrast, Bolsonaro has long fought with the country’s university system. His first year in office, he rolled out major funding cuts and a proposed education reform that sparked some of the largest student protests against his government. Funding cuts have continued throughout his presidency. Last year, his then Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro said that higher education should be scaled back.

“Universities should be for the few, not for everyone,” he said. "We have too many engineers and lawyers driving Uber, because they can’t get a job in their area.”

Bolsonaro has also criticized Brazil's education system for having a liberal bias. He’s tried to reign that in by replacing some federal university directors and transforming more than a 100 high schools into civic-military academies.

Last Friday, tens of thousands were in the streets of Recife, Brazil. It was a sea of red — the color of presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers Party. The former president known simply as “Lula” was in town for a campaign rally, and his supporters were ecstatic.

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

Right now, he’s backing a bill in the Senate that would authorize homeschooling, a move welcomed by his evangelical Christian base.

Bolsonaro supporters have also called for the return of the civic-moral education classes that were mandatory under Brazil’s military dictatorship, as a guest argues on the conservative “Collab Podcast.”

But people on the streets of Recife say that’s not the direction they want for their country.

“We’ve seen what Lula can do. How the lives of the people improved,” university professor Valeria Silva said. “Today, going with Lula again means picking up his development project so that people have education and health and can get out of this situation of hunger and poverty.”

Hunger and poverty have indeed been rising in northeast Brazil, which is one reason people here voted nearly 2 1/2 times more for Lula than Bolsonaro in the first round of the election.

They hope they can lift him to victory again in the second round on Oct. 30.

Related: ‘It will be a challenge’: Lula, Bolsonaro head to runoffs in tight Brazil elections

Brazil’s neighbors wary of environmental impact of a Bolsonaro victory

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil’s neighbors wary of environmental impact of a Bolsonaro victory

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has promised to continue facilitating mining and agro industry in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon if he wins another four-year term. But destruction of the Amazon affects the air quality and jeopardizes the water supply in neighboring countries.

The WorldOctober 14, 2022 · 4:15 PM EDT

Children play in a flooded area of Leticia, Colombia, Feb. 14, 2017, located by the Amazon River, on the border with Brazil and Peru. Gustavo Petro, Colombia's first elected leftist president, will take office in August with ambitious proposals to halt the record-high rates of deforestation in the Amazon. 

Fabiano Maisonnave/AP

Colombia's capital city is hundreds of miles away from the Amazon rainforest. In September, the city’s air was heavily polluted with carbon particles that came from fires in the rainforest. And local authorities told people to avoid exercising outdoors. 

These kinds of warnings are becoming more common, said Carolina Urrutia, Bogotá’s secretary for the environment. 

“It's frustrating because it's something we can’t control.” she said. “But at the same time, it's a chance for us to show people how forests and urban areas are connected.”

Urrutia and other environmentalists across South America are holding their breath as Brazil stages the second round of its presidential election later this month.

The nation’s conservative President Jair Bolsonaro is running for another four-year term and has promised to continue facilitating mining and agro industry in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon.

Colombia's capital city Bogotá fills with fog after fires in the Amazon. 

Credit:

Manuel Rueda/The World

Under Bolsonaro’s watch the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has doubled, as his government promotes the expansion of industries like soy, timber and cattle ranching in the region.

So far this year, more than 7,000 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest have been cleared in Brazil, or an area that is 10 times the size of New York City. 

That worries Urrutia and other environmentalists in South America who have been studying the connection between the Amazon and other ecosystems on the continent that are home to tens of millions of people. 

“For us in the Andes, this progressive deterioration of the Amazon is a life threatening situation,” Urrutia said. 

That’s because destruction of the Amazon doesn’t just affect air quality. It also jeopardizes the water supply of many countries in South America. 

On the western side of the continent, countries including Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia depend on rain that originates in the Atlantic Ocean. This rain lands on the Amazon jungle, which soaks up the water and then releases some of it back into the atmosphere through evaporation. Eventually, air currents carry this moisture west, toward the Andes mountains.

If the rainforest is destroyed, this critical cycle can be altered, said Paola Arias, a climate researcher at the University of Antioquia, in Medellin. 

“When you have a lot of deforestation, you have less moisture that is transported toward our region,” Arias said. “And then, if you start having less moisture, it will be more probable to have less precipitation.”  

In Bolivia, meanwhile, the Amazon’s deforestation reduces the amount of snow falling on glaciers that supply water to many cities and villages in the high altitude area known as the altiplano, said Marcos Andrade, the director of the atmospheric physics lab in La Paz.

He explained that the snow, which is formed with moisture coming from the Amazon, protects the glaciers from melting too fast.

“If we deforest the lowlands, we could have problems having moisture arriving in this region,” Andrade said.

Arias called Bolsonaro’s efforts to develop the Amazon a “nightmare.” 

“I think we have to change the way we see the economy, where we are thinking that all these ecosytems, all these things that we call nature are under our service, but we really don’t think that we are coexisiting with other species. This large scale production of everything has to stop.”  

Brazil’s president said that the residents of the Amazon need jobs and the region must be integrated into the global economy. 

His administration has made it possible for companies to avoid fines for clearing the rainforest. And it's also pushing for a law that would allow gold mining inside Indigenous reserves.  

“There are 20 million people in the Amazon including Indigenous people and river dwellers whose survival depends on using the resources the forest provides,” Bolsonaro said at the UN’s General Assembly last month, where he insisted that much of the rainforest remains untouched.  

Bolsonaro has also backed infrastructure projects that worry some of Brazil’s neighbors. Like a plan to build a road between Brazil and Peru, which would cut through a largely untouched area of the Amazon, and reach the city of Pucallpa.

Felix Ochavano is a leader of the Iskonawa tribe in Peru. He said the road would put uncontacted tribes at risk.

“It’s going to bring more migration into the region,” Ochavano said. “And that can increase gold mining, and also expose our relatives to new diseases.” 

Ochavano said that governments across South America should consult with Indigenous people before they make new plans for the rainforest.

He’s hoping for a change in Amazon policies regardless of who wins the election in Brazil and other countries. 

“The people in the Amazon have rights just like anyone else,” he said. “We need to develop the rainforest so that it benefits everyone’s survival."

‘It will be a challenge’: Lula, Bolsonaro head to runoffs in tight Brazil elections

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″> ‘It will be a challenge’: Lula, Bolsonaro head to runoffs in tight Brazil elections

Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was expected to cruise to a huge victory on Sunday. But the final result showed President Jair Bolsonaro just a handful of points behind. This means weeks of intense campaigning ahead of runoffs at the end of the month.

The WorldOctober 3, 2022 · 3:00 PM EDT

Voters line up to cast their ballot in Sunday's elections in Brazil. Former President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva was expected to cruise to a huge victory on Sunday, but the final result showed President Jair Bolsonaro just a handful of points behind, leading to runoff. 

Michael Fox/The World

On Sunday evening, crowds cheered and chanted as presidential candidate Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva passed incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the vote count and took the lead. 

Cars honked their horns as they drove by. 

But it went from ecstatic to subdued within an hour as it became increasingly clear that this election was going to be much tighter than expected. 

“We’ve been following the polls,” said Wilson Gomes, a Lula supporter who was outside as the news came in. “And we weren’t expecting that Bolsonaro would receive such expressive support as Lula.”

Lula, with 48% of the vote, and 43% for Bolsonaro. 

Presidential candidate "Lula" among supporters on Sunday during Brazil's election. 

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

For Lula supporters, the victory felt like a defeat. In a speech after the ballots were counted, Lula responded to peoples’ fears. 

“Folks, we are gonna win these elections,” he said. “This is just a little extension.”

Lula told the crowd that he would hit the ground running today. 

Bolsonaro also spoke to supporters in Brasilia on Sunday night and said he’d be doubling down on several key states in southeastern Brazil where he hadn’t met expectations. 

There are many theories about why pollsters got the election so wrong amid Bolsonaro’s apparent surge. But one thing is clear.  Lula clocked in right about where he had been trending for weeks. Bolsonaro’s added support seemed to come from voters who decided to defect from the more centrist third-party candidates. 

Regardless, if the political climate was intense before, now it’s going into overdrive, experts predict. 

“This result will give Bolsonaro more enthusiasm to bring forth his discourse that his supporters cannot trust the polls and increase the risk of political violence in the campaign,” said Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist at Rio de Janeiro State University.

Speaking with voters on Sunday at the polls in São Paulo, it is apparent that the country is polarized. 

On Sunday, Berenice Vieira arrived at the voting center with her husband and teenage son wearing matching Brazilian soccer jerseys, the colors of the Brazilian flag — yellow and green. Bolsonaro’s colors. 

“This election is really important,” she said. “We are defending our country, because there is one candidate that defends Brazil, that defends our homeland and family, and the other candidate that doesn’t.” 

Almost every Bolsonaro supporter who spoke with The World said they were afraid that if elected, Lula would sink the country into a quagmire of corruption and so-called “socialism,” rolling back their freedoms. 

On the flip side, Lula supporters said they were fighting for nothing less than the country’s democracy, trying to stop rising authoritarianism, violence, racism and continuous attacks on state institutions and social rights, including Indigenous communities in the Amazon.

Voters take part in presidential elections as well as local and regional contests. 

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

And while the battle for the presidency has captured headlines, the fight for Congress has been just as acute and will have a profound impact on these issues moving forward. 

More than 1,500 state and federal congressional seats were up for grabs — including over two dozen senators and governors.

An unprecedented number of Indigenous, Black and local candidates ran for office. And some of them won. Sonia Guajajara, the leader of the country’s largest Indigenous organization, was elected to Congress. As was the first Black transgender woman Erika Hilton. Six of the Landless Workers Movement candidates won state and federal congressional seats.

“This was a hard election,” Landless Workers Movement leader João Paulo Rodrigues said in a voice message shared with The World. “But we were politically victorious, even if we didn’t have all of the electoral wins that we needed.”

Bolsonaro and his allies also won big. The president’s Liberal Party now has the largest bloc in Congress with 99 congressional representatives. Several former members of Bolsonaro’s government are also on their way to Brasilia.

“Bolsonaro’s former ministers of agriculture, science, human rights, justice, environment and health and his vice president were all elected to Congress,” Mauricio Santoro said. 

“So, it will be a very conservative legislative power, especially the Senate, the upper house. And if Lula is elected, it will be a challenge.”

And that is also what the next few weeks will be — a challenge. 

Lula and Bolsonaro will be pulling out all the stops.

Supporters of presidential candidate "Lula" rally ahead of Sunday's elections. 

Credit:

Michael Fox/The World

Lula’s supporters see this as a silver lining, of sorts.  

“Had Lula won by a large margin. Had he won outright, then it would have been guaranteed that Bolsonaro would have contested the results,” UCLA Historian Bryan Pitts said. 

“Completely without evidence. But he would have contested all the same, and had the potential to gain support from some of the military and the military police.” 

 With a close election, Pitts said, it’s harder for Bolsonaro to contest the results.

 The second round vote is on Oct. 30.

Related: Lula battles Bolsonaro for chance to defend the poor again in Brazil

Brazil’s elections test the political power of religion

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil's elections test the political power of religion

Brazil is still the largest Catholic country in the world, but Protestant evangelicals are a fast-growing segment of the population. And they’re making their presence felt politically.

The WorldOctober 1, 2022 · 6:00 AM EDT

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro waves to supporters as he is surrounded by his security detail upon arrival to a motorcycle rally as he campaigns for a second term in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil, Sept. 30, 2022. Brazil's general elections are scheduled for Oct. 2.

Andre Penner/AP

The World's Carol Hills and reporter Michael Fox explore institutional religion in Brazil, how President Jair Bolsonaro tapped into religion in his rise to the presidency, and the ripple effects of his alliance with evangelicals throughout the country. This special edition of The World is part of our reporting series called, Sacred Nation, focused on the intersection of religion and nationalism around the globe.

Lula battles Bolsonaro for chance to defend the poor again in Brazil

“MuiTypography-root-126 MuiTypography-h1-131″>Lula battles Bolsonaro for chance to defend the poor again in Brazil

Two presidents are battling for power in Sunday’s elections. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is hoping to unseat current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. 

The WorldSeptember 30, 2022 · 3:30 PM EDT

A demonstrator dressed in the colors of the Brazilian flag performs in front of a street vendor's towels for sale featuring Brazilian presidential candidates, current President Jair Bolsonaro, center, and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sept. 27, 2022. 

Eraldo Peres/AP

This Sunday’s upcoming elections in Brazil are being closely watched. 

It’s the battle of two presidents. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is hoping to unseat current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been a close ally of Donald Trump. (In Brazil, presidents are allowed two terms and they can run again, after at least one term has elapsed.)

Lula is poised to take this first round vote on Sunday. He leads the latest polls by 14 to 17 points. If he can win half of the valid votes, he can take the election in the first round. 

Despite spending time in prison for a corruption conviction, Lula continues to have much support. Many Brazilians believe he can bring back better days. 

“At the moment, I will vote for Lula, because he’s kind of our light at the end of the tunnel. He’s our hope,” said one computer programmer in northeastern Brazil.

Lula has been campaigning up and down the country in recent weeks. Videos shared across social media show big rallies, events and marches.

Last weekend, a crowd broke out into spontaneous applause at a food court in an upscale shopping mall in the southern Brazilian city of Florianopolis, chanting “Lula.” 

Bolsonaro has gutted workers rights, social policies and state institutions. Many blame him for his dismal approach to COVID-19, which has led to nearly 685,000 deaths. Brazil is now facing rising unemployment, inflation, poverty and hunger.

According to a recent study, 33 million Brazilians don’t have enough to eat each day. 

That number has doubled in just the last two years. Lula has promised to fix it if he’s elected again.

“We have to guarantee that every person in this country can wake up and have breakfast, lunch and dinner, each day,” he told supporters at a rally in Amazonas state.

Lula is familiar with hunger pains. 

He was born poor in northeastern Brazil, in a home with dirt floors. 

As a union leader in São Paulo, in the late 1970s, he led huge strikes that would signal the beginning of the end of the country’s 21-year dictatorship.

He went on to establish the Workers Party and won the presidency in 2002, governing the country for two terms and lifting tens of millions from poverty. 

When he left office his approval rating was nearly 90%.

“My four children studied at the university, because of him,” said Dona Rosa, a former street vender turned businesswoman, who spoke at a Lula rally this week.

That sentiment is held across the country. 

Vinicius Castello is a city councilman in the northeastern city of Olinda.

“Lula was the president that made it so that poor people had a right to exist,” Castello told Kawsachun News recently. “And that’s the country we have to build now,” he said.

People have felt this excitement for Lula before. 

Four years ago, he was also leading the polls in the lead-up to the presidential elections. 

But he was jailed and blocked from running after he was convicted of allegedly accepting a beach-side apartment from a company seeking government contracts. 

His imprisonment was part of a widespread anti-corruption operation, which, over seven years, issued 1,400 search and seizure warrants and convicted almost 280 people. 

Many of them were top politicians, including members of Lula’s Workers Party. 

Lula’s conviction opened the doors for Bolsonaro’s rise to the presidency.

But the former president’s supporters rallied in his defense. They set up a vigil outside the jail and said his conviction was politically motivated.

And that’s what the Supreme Court eventually found, too.

Lula was freed after 580 days.

Over the next two years, this and more than two dozen other corruption cases against him would all be tossed out for a variety of reasons. 

“It was clear that the law here was being used as a political weapon,” said 

Fabio de Sa e Silva, a professor of Brazilian studies at the University of Oklahoma. 

“I mean, you can't file 20-something lawsuits against somebody and have all those lawsuits being deemed, you know, lacking. Grounds to proceed with by several judges in the country. There's clearly something wrong here with the way you're using your prosecutory power and your power as a judge.”

Last year, Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes called the country’s anti-corruption operation the biggest scandal that has befallen the Brazilian judiciary in the country’s history.

But it’s left its mark — on Brazil, and on Lula.

“Though the convictions against Lula have been annulled by the Supreme Court and proven to be politically motivated, it has tarnished the image of the Workers Party and that has an impact into Lula’s popularity,” said Rafael Ioris, a professor of Latin American history at the University of Denver.

Roughly 40% of the population says they would not vote for Lula under any circumstance.

But Bolsonaro’s rejection rate is even higher — more than half of Brazilians say they would never support Bolsonaro. And that’s going to make it difficult for the current president to make up ground against Lula in the coming days. 

Brazilians will find out on Sunday. 

Tense atmosphere as voters head to the polls in Brazil’s most diverse elections ever

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Tense atmosphere as voters head to the polls in Brazil's most diverse elections ever

Brazilians will vote in presidential elections on Sunday. They will also vote for a host of other government officials. This year, more Indigenous people, women and Black candidates are running for office than ever before.

The WorldSeptember 30, 2022 · 2:45 PM EDT

Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wave Brazilian flags during a motorcycle campaign rally in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil, Sept. 30, 2022.

Victor R. Caivano/AP

The feeling on the streets of Brazil is one of both tension and excitement. 

The country is preparing for the first round of its presidential elections on Sunday. The vote is between far-right President Jair Bolsonaro — an ally of former US President Donald Trump — and former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula is well ahead in the polls.

Marches and rallies in defense of both candidates have littered the country in recent weeks. And their videos have been shared across social media.

But the presidential candidates are not the only ones organizing.

Brazilians will also elect 500 congresspeople, more than a thousand state lawmakers, two dozen senators and 27 state governors. Plus, this year, more Indigenous people, women and Black candidates are running for office than ever before.

For the first time, the country’s largest Indigenous organization APIB is fielding Indigenous candidates in states across the country, with the hope of launching a congressional caucus of Native peoples. The first female Indigenous congressional member, Joênia Wapixana, was only elected just four years ago.

“Hey folks, I’m here to talk to you about the importance of putting our Indigenous people in important positions of power,” said Indigenous activist Samela Sateré Mawé in a video posted online.

“We have suffered violence against our people,” Sateré Mawé went on. “There have been bills pushing [for] the destruction of our territories, the environment and against our lives, and we need to change this.”

They are hoping to push back on the country’s big ag (agriculture) caucus in Congress. That group includes roughly half of the members of the lower house, who have been important allies for Bolsonaro and his aims to open up the Amazon for development.

But Indigenous peoples are not the only ones hoping for change.

Leaders of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement met with the press to discuss how they’ve helped to launch thousands of local grassroots committees. They are now organizing in neighborhoods up and down Brazil in support of Lula’s candidacy.

The landless movement is also fielding its own candidates for the first time. Fifteen members are running for state and federal office in a dozen states, with campaigns focused on promoting local family farming, labor rights and environmental sustainability.

“These candidates are a sign of the landless movement’s achievements,” said activist Luma Vitorio, who has been working closely with the movement. “We need to speak for ourselves. We can’t continue to outsource that job to others.”

These groups are hoping to gain ground against the far-right wave of candidates that rode into local and national office in 2018 on Bolsonaro’s coattails.

“The more that we have diversity of representation in legislative bodies, the better it is for our political system.”

Luciana Santana, political scientist, Federal University of Alagoas

“These legislative elections will be important,” said Luciana Santana, a political scientist at the Federal University of Alagoas. “The more that we have diversity of representation in legislative bodies, the better it is for our political system.”

But this campaign season has not been easy, with some candidates facing intimidation. 

“We were marching and we were intimidated,” said Lula ally and Workers' Party Congressman Paulo Guedes in a video shared widely over social media. “A member of the military police shot three times into our sound truck. Thank God he’s now detained. But this is absurd. And it’s the third time it’s happened.”

Black, gay and transgender candidates have also been in the crosshairs.

Matheus Gomes is a Black city councilman in Porto Alegre, who’s running for a seat on the Rio Grande do Sul state assembly. He and other members of the city’s Black caucus received a new string of death threats over email.

“They’re trying to intimidate us,” Gomes told The World. “The last message I received said that I should give up politics. They mentioned Bolsonaro. This is, by far, the most tense feeling on the streets I have ever experienced during an electoral campaign.”

That tension is palpable. According to reports, this is one of the most violent electoral seasons on record.

In a recent poll, two-thirds of Brazilians said they were afraid of being attacked because of their political preferences. Many blame the violent rhetoric of Bolsonaro and his allies for instigating the threats and attacks. But Bolsonaro insists he is not responsible for local actions and that the conflict goes both ways. 

Luciana Santana, the political scientist, said that the violence is the result of the country’s deep political polarization.

“It’s a very delicate situation,” she said. “And it’s really concerning, because some public officials are even empowering these people who are carrying out these violent actions.”

Many Brazilians are hoping that these elections may start to turn the tide.

The polls are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, with results expected to be released only hours later.

Related: Evangelicals in Brazil want to make contact with Indigenous groups. But why?

Evangelicals in Brazil want to make contact with Indigenous groups. But why?

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Evangelicals in Brazil want to make contact with Indigenous groups. But why?

Indigenous communities in Brazil have long had a difficult relationship with Christian missionaries. Experts say it's not about religion, but mineral riches.

The WorldJuly 29, 2022 · 3:00 PM EDT

Worshippers at televangelist Silas Malafaia's evangelical church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are shown at a service.

Michael Fox/The World

Earlier this month, a Brazilian Supreme Court Justice ordered the government of President Jair Bolsonaro to do more to protect the lives and territory of the country’s isolated tribes.

They number in the thousands, and there are about 100 distinct tribes scattered throughout Brazil’s Amazon region. Contacting these people directly is illegal. That’s because they’re vulnerable to ailments like the common cold.

It’s also about respecting their desire to preserve their way of life. This hasn’t stopped Christian missionaries, though, and Bolsonaro has done his best to support their cause.

In 2020, Bolsonaro appointed an evangelical pastor and missionary, Ricardo Lopes Dias, to oversee the country’s department of isolated and recently contacted tribes. Dias had worked as a missionary with New Tribes Mission Brazil for a decade.

New Tribes is now called Ethnos 360. It’s a Florida-based evangelical group that trains missionaries to spread the gospel to Indigenous people and, in particular, those who have never heard about Christianity. According to the website, the group has 3,000 missionaries around the world and training programs in more than a dozen countries.

It caused a stir in early 2020, when it raised $2 million to buy a helicopter to increase access to Native peoples in remote regions of Brazil.

Indigenous leaders fought the appointment of Dias. And they won. He was removed less than a year later, following a court order.

But Dias’ appointment was a sign of how Bolsonaro has embraced the evangelical cause.

Bolsonaro has consistently backed the missionaries. So, what’s behind their interest in Indigenous communities?

Experts say Bolsonaro’s real interest in the Amazon is not the people or their souls, but the mineral riches that are found there.

“For Bolsonaro, the Amazon is a great treasure chest, but there are Indians in the way,” said Rodrigo Toniol, an anthropologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. “The arrival of evangelicals to Indigenous territories is part of a process that’s far beyond just converting them. For Bolsonaro, it’s not about saving souls.”

Brazil’s evangelicals work with the US on a political mission

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil’s evangelicals work with the US on a political mission

Protestant evangelicals from Brazil and the United States have a long history of close relations. Today, Capitol Ministries is a powerful player in that relationship. And in Brazil, the group has strong ties with President Jair Bolsonaro's government.

The WorldJuly 29, 2022 · 2:30 PM EDT

Worshippers are shown at televangelist Silas Malafaia's evangelical church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Michael Fox/The World 

Ralph Drollinger is the founder of Capitol Ministries. He was also former US President Donald Trump’s White House Bible Study pastor.

Back in 2019, he traveled to Brazil to help launch a similar study group in the country’s Congress.

Around for more than 25 years, Capitol Ministries is still active with members of the US Congress.

Drollinger is clear about the group’s goals in a place like Brazil.

“Why not go right to the fulcrum of power and get them into the gospel and present the gospel to them, because everything will permeate much more quickly,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network a few years ago.

Protestant evangelicals from Brazil and the United States have a long history of close relations. Today, Capitol Ministries is a powerful player in that relationship. In Brazil, the group has strong ties with President Jair Bolsonaro's government.

“Ralph Drollinger always says that reaching the top echelon — the leaders — that’s how we are going to be able to rebuild our nation with an evangelical perspective,” said Raul Jose Ferreira Jr., the leader of Capitol Ministry’s Bible Study in Brazil’s Congress.

Currently, Capitol Ministries has a presence in most state capitals across the US. And it aims to set up operations in 200 countries around the globe. The group grew quickly under Trump with support from top members of his administration, and expanded its connections abroad.

Drollinger said that they are not lobbying, just spreading the gospel.

But with those teachings comes Capitol Ministries’ own analysis of political and cultural issues from a conservative evangelical perspective.

“From looking at their Bible studies, we see a vision of the world where it’s clear that they are culturally conservative, with strong rhetoric against abortion, against LGBTQ. And for the freedom of the economy,” said Rodrigo Tapia, a doctoral student at the Federal University of Rio Grande, who has been researching Capitol Ministries closely. “They are importing their vision of the world from the US. Importing their ideas.”

Analysts say that Drollinger’s Capitol Ministries is taking that idea to a whole new level by directly influencing top political leaders each week.

In Brazil, with a robust evangelical caucus, the group has a receptive audience.

Brazil’s evangelicals stand with President Bolsonaro

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil’s evangelicals stand with President Bolsonaro

Protestant evangelicals are a fast-growing segment of the country. Politically, President Jair Bolsonaro is their candidate.

The WorldJuly 29, 2022 · 1:45 PM EDT

Televangelist Silas Malafaia's evangelical church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is pictured.

Michael Fox/The World

Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world. But the number of Protestant evangelicals is growing fast. They make up roughly a third of the country today. And, they’re expected to become the majority in less than one generation.

Politically, Jair Bolsonaro is their candidate in the presidential election coming up in October. The president has promoted their policy priorities, and he’s hoping to benefit from them again as he runs for reelection later this year.

Evangelicals voted en masse for Bolsonaro, lifting him to power with his slogan, “Brazil above everyone, God above all.”

“Bolsonaro’s against abortion. He defends family values, so we see in him someone who is embracing our cause,” pastor Diego Valentin da Silva said.

Bolsonaro has allocated state funds for evangelical TV stations and appointed evangelical pastors into key positions in his government. He also opened his doors to top church leaders, marched with Christians in the capital Brasília, and late last year, he appointed André Mendonça as the country’s first evangelical Supreme Court minister.

Bolsonaro’s religious messaging is unprecedented for a Brazilian head of state. Previous presidents, including Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, developed solid relationships with church leaders. But, Bolsonaro has lifted evangelical language and policy priorities to the fore.

University of São Paulo political scientist Vinicius do Vale said that this is because Bolsonaro knows it’s how he can mobilize supporters and win people’s hearts, even during tough economic times in Brazil.

“He doesn’t want to discuss inflation,” do Vale said. “He wants to talk about homosexuality. He’s wants to discuss abortion. He wants to talk about God.”

Chinese media: a gift for Russia from Brazil plunged the European Union into despair

Journalists stressed that because of the imposed sanctions against Russia, supply chains around the world have been seriously affected.

Politicians in the West, under the leadership of the United States, had previously imposed sanctions against Russia.

However, the situation did not lead to anything, and the European Union literally fell into despair because of Brazil's gift to the Russian Federation.

Baijiahao writes about this.

Experts from the Chinese publication noted that the West expected economic sanctions to weaken Russia.

At the same time, analysts consider the West's behavior in this matter &#8220 ;shameless”, pointing out that the world's supply chains and the economy in a global sense have suffered because of these measures.

“The West is demanding that the entire international market eventually pay for their ambitions”, – write the authors of the article.

As a result, the sanctions against Russia dealt a blow to the West itself in general and to the US and the EU in particular. So, there was a fall in the euro, an energy crisis erupted, and record inflation is raging in the United States.

Russia, on the contrary, received a gift from Brazil, which plunged the European Union into despondency.

Chinese analysts point to negotiations after the BRICS summit on energy supplies to Brazil.

Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the member countries of the association to work closely in order to quickly develop multipolarity.

Thus, it is possible to quickly oust the United States from its dominant positions and not allow the whole world to pay for Washington's ambitions.

Chinese experts noted that the heads of the BRICS countries “ (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) took the initiative positively Russia.

“After the euro fell to one US dollar, Brazil gave Russia a big gift…by declaring that it would import as much energy from Russia as possible”, &#8211 ; Baijiahao experts note.

Earlier, TopNews wrote that, according to the Chinese media, the United States may be left without Alaska.

Such a development of events is possible in the event of a definite response from Moscow on the Western sanctions imposed against it.

Join our VK group to keep abreast of events in Russia and the world

Источник topnews.ru

Bolsonaro re-nominated for the presidency of Brazil

The current President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has officially announced his candidacy in the presidential elections, which will be held in October 2022, the Estadao newspaper reports, citing the politician's speeches at the party congress.

Bolsonaro also called on his supporters to come out to September 7 Street to protest the policy of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), whose judges he called “deaf men in black cloaks.”

In addition, the current head of state approved General Braga Netto, former Minister of Defense, as a running mate.

Bolsonaro took over Brazil on January 1, 2019 for a four-year term. He won in the second round of elections on October 28, 2019. The politician represents the conservative Social Liberal Party and is known for his ultra-right and populist views.

His rival in the upcoming elections was the country's ex-president (2003-2010) Luiz Inacio Lulu da Silva, who was thrown out by the Brazilian Federation coalition hope».

The next general election, in which the citizens of the South American Republic will, in addition to the president, also elect deputies and state governors, is scheduled for October 2, 2022. If necessary, if none of the candidates receives more than 50% of the votes, the second round will be held on October 30.

Read on RBC Pro Pro The dollar has soared to a record. Why is it a threat to the global economy? What is it and why is it dangerous Articles Pro Japan is moving away from the economic course of Shinzo Abe. What will happen to the yen do they reduce your waist?

Источник rbc.ru

Brazil’s Lula makes a comeback on a campaign to defend democracy

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil’s Lula makes a comeback on a campaign to defend democracy

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is making a comeback with a campaign for democracy and unity against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.

The WorldMay 16, 2022 · 1:15 PM EDT

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speaks during his announcement of his candidacy for the country’s upcoming presidential election, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, May 7, 2022. Brazil's general elections are scheduled for Oct. 2, 2022. 

Andre Penner/AP

In a packed hall buzzing with excitement in São Paulo, Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced his pre-candidacy for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections in October. 

The crowd rang out with spontaneous chants of approval at the May 7 launch for Lula's candidacy. 

“Times are hard,” said Marinela Santana with the activist group March of Black Women in São Paulo. “Many families are hungry. Many are hopeful of today. Lula, we need you!” 

Speaking to his supporters, Lula promised to bring back better times. Besides the pandemic, he said, Brazil has faced rising poverty, hunger and increasing authoritarianism under President Jair Bolsonaro. 

“We want to return so that no one ever dares to challenge democracy again. … And for fascism to go back to the sewers of history, where it should never have left.”

Brazilian former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

“We want to return so that no one ever dares to challenge democracy again,” he said. “And for fascism to go back to the sewers of history, where it should never have left.”

Lula’s campaign rallies for democracy and unity against the far-right incumbent. But Bolsanaro could still push to victory with unwavering support from about a quarter of the country. 

Related: Progressive evangelicals in Brazil wage a battle ‘against Bolsonaroism’ ahead of elections

Confetti showers former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and supporters after the announcement of his candidacy for the country’s upcoming presidential election, in São Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, May 7, 2022.

Credit:

Andre Penner/AP

Lula has joined forces with former right-wing political rival Geraldo Alckmin, who will be his running mate, in the hopes of winning over more centrist Brazilians. 

Alckmin is the ex-governor of São Paulo who lost to Lula in the 2006 presidential election. Alckmin also spoke to the crowd via teleconference from his home, after testing positive for COVID-19. 

“No differences past or present would be a reason to stop me from defending with all of my conviction Lula’s return to the presidency.”

Geraldo Alckmin, running mate with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

“No differences past or present,” he said, “would be a reason to stop me from defending with all of my conviction Lula’s return to the presidency.” 

 He is not the only one.

The event was also the launch of the Together for Brazil Movement, a coalition of seven labor unions, seven left parties and dozens of social movements all organizing for Lula’s return. 

“Today is going to go down in history as the day that we again began the reconstruction of democracy in our country."

Rosa Amorim, activist, Landless Workers’ Movement, Pernambuco, Brazil

“Today is going to go down in history as the day that we again began the reconstruction of democracy in our country,” said Rosa Amorim, a young activist with the Landless Workers’ Movement, from Pernambuco. 

“Lula is the only viable candidate for the hope of a new country.”

Lula is the most iconic figure of the Brazilian left. 

He’s a co-founding member of the Workers’ Party who served two terms as president in the 2000s. He launched social programs, lifted millions out of poverty and left office on Jan. 1, 2011, with an approval rating of 87%

But around this time four years ago, in the run up to Brazil’s last presidential election, Lula was in jail on a corruption charge that would block him from the race — despite leading the polls.

Today, he’s free to run. 

The Supreme Court threw out the charges against him last year, when it decided that the case against him should not have been tried in the Southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. They determined that the judge who convicted him was biased and collaborated with prosecutors to lock him up. 

Related: Evangelicals in Brazil 'have taken power’ with latest Supreme Court justice appointee

Lula again leads all of the polls — anywhere from five to 17 points ahead of Bolsonaro.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva speaks during the announcement of his candidacy for the country’s upcoming presidential election, in São Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, May 7, 2022. 

Credit:

Andre Penner/AP

But Oct. 2 is still a long way off.

“Today, Lula is a viable candidate and he has a chance of winning the election. … On the other hand, Bolsonaro also has a chance of winning, even if he’s behind in the polls."

Luciana Santana, political scientist, Brazil

“Today, Lula is a viable candidate and he has a chance of winning the election,” political scientist Luciana Santana said. “On the other hand, Bolsonaro also has a chance of winning, even if he’s behind in the polls. … That’s because he controls the federal government, with huge resources,” she said.

Over the last 30 years in Brazil, no sitting president has lost a bid for reelection. 

President Bolsonaro also has unbending support from his loyal followers, who make up roughly a quarter of the population. Bolsonaro recently held one of his iconic motorcycle rallies in the southern state of Paraná, where crowds lined the streets waving Brazilian flags. 

Related: Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity over negligent COVID response

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro waves to supporters as he arrives at the Labor Day and Freedom rally, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, May 1, 2022. 

Credit:

Eraldo Peres/AP

“There are 650,000 dead from COVID-19, an army of unemployed, income has dropped, inflation has returned to two digits like we hadn’t seen in 25 years and even with all of that, Bolsonaro’s supporters believe in him and they will continue to vote for him."

Luciano da Ros, political scientist, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

“There are 650,000 dead from COVID-19, an army of unemployed, income has dropped, inflation has returned to two digits like we hadn’t seen in 25 years and even with all of that, Bolsonaro’s supporters believe in him and they will continue to vote for him,’ said Luciano da Ros, a political scientist at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. 

Bolsonaro actually rose in the polls recently, when a prominent right-wing third-party candidate dropped out of the race.

Due to the country’s polarization between Lula and Bolsonaro, third party candidates will likely play a much smaller role in this year’s elections than in the past.

“The third way is kind of squeezed out by the far-right candidate [Bolsonaro], and the left candidate [Lula] who occupies the left and much of the center. What’s left over isn’t much,” da Ros said. 

“And the polarization is even greater this year, because it’s the first time since the end of the dictatorship that you have two presidents — one current, one former — competing against each other.”

The issue of corruption will likely also play a much more reduced role than in the past. 

Corruption was a major concern for Brazilians four years ago. The Workers Party lost many local races due to its ties to the Car Wash corruption scheme

But now, Bolsonaro and some of his family members and associates are all also wrapped up in their own scandals.

“Your average voter in Brazil isn’t worried about corruption. He's worried about surviving. He’s concerned about having public policies that serve him directly,” Santana said. 

There are already concerns about Bolsonaro’s willingness to respect the results — regardless of the outcome. 

Bolsonaro has long attacked Brazil’s Supreme Court and criticized the country’s electoral system.

Last week, he said his political party would contract a private company to audit the elections, which he said might just be impossible. 

An electronic voting machine sits in a mock voting booth, on display for the media at the headquarters of the Supreme Electoral Court as analysts test the electronic voting system in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, May 13, 2022. 

Credit:

Eraldo Peres/AP

Bolsonaro has said he’s not looking to stage a coup, but many fear he may be trying to build an election fraud narrative to culminate in something similar to the US Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, in case he loses the election. 

“He is still very intensely questioning the electoral process,” Santana said. “This is not good for democracy and it can lead to some things that could harm the integrity of the country’s elections.” 

It’s going to be a chaotic five months. Official electoral campaigns kicking off in mid-August.

Brazil’s public health workers race to tackle dengue surge

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Brazil's public health workers race to tackle dengue surge

Heavy rains and a lull in public health prevention programs during the pandemic have allowed the deadly mosquito-borne disease to flourish.

The WorldMay 11, 2022 · 2:00 PM EDT

A drone sprays insecticide near homes on the outskirts of Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Brazil's health ministry launched a campaign to fight the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue, zika and chikungunya, diseases that can generate microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. 

Eraldo Peres/AP

Georgia Reck was at work in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, when she suddenly got the chills. By the time she got home, she could barely lift herself up the stairs to her second-story apartment. 

“I had the chills,” she said. “High fever. Headaches. I started to have neck pain. But the main thing is that I was really tired. I couldn’t even sit up. I had to lay down.”

She thought she had COVID-19, but tests came back negative. A week later, her gums started to bleed. A neighbor suggested she had dengue, a disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. She tested positive. 

Related: Brazil heads into latest COVID surge amid public health information blackout

“I never imagined I could have dengue.  … I always thought dengue was only found in neighborhoods without proper sanitation, with trash and overgrown vegetation.”

Georgia Reck, cat-sitter, Porto Alegre, southern Brazil

“I never imagined I could have dengue,” she said. “I always thought dengue was only found in neighborhoods without proper sanitation, with trash and overgrown vegetation.”

Infectious disease specialists say that a perfect storm of heavy rains and a lull in public health prevention programs during the pandemic has allowed the mosquito-borne disease to flourish — leading to a spike in cases throughout the country.

In Porto Alegre — the capital of Brazil’s southernmost state — dengue used to be unheard of. But not anymore.

“The number of patients arriving with dengue is historic. … We’ve seen hundreds of cases of dengue just in this one hospital.”

Alexandre Zavascki, head of infectious diseases, Moinhos de Vento, Porto Alegre, Brazil

“The number of patients arriving with dengue is historic,” said Alexandre Zavascki, the head of infectious diseases at Moinhos de Vento, the largest private hospital in Porto Alegre. “We’ve seen hundreds of cases of dengue just in this one hospital.”

Brazil hasn’t seen this level of dengue since before the pandemic. More than 650,000 people have already fallen ill with the disease since the beginning of the year. As of May 2, 160 were confirmed dead. Brazil's Ministry of Health points to a 35% increase in dengue cases in the first two months of this year, compared to 2021.

Dengue causes high fever, extreme fatigue, severe muscle aches and joint pains. Recovery times can be excruciatingly long and complicated. A vaccine is available, but only works for those who have already contracted the disease.

“It’s really concerning. … We’ve already seen a tragic number of cases of dengue this year. And it’s not just dengue. Zika and chikungunya, which are also transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, are also on the rise.”

Alexandre Barbosa, vice president, Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases

“It’s really concerning,” said Alexandre Barbosa, vice president of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases.

“We’ve already seen a tragic number of cases of dengue this year. And it’s not just dengue. Zika and chikungunya, which are also transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, are also on the rise.”

In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, samples of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting dengue and Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. 

Credit:

Felipe Dana/AP/File

Health researcher Isaac Schrarstzhaupt said his hypothesis is that these types of infections temporarily dropped over the last two years, because fewer people were circulating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brazil, which has long battled against dengue, has seen rising numbers of cases in recent decades. In 2019, the country saw over 2.2 million cases, roughly 70% of all dengue cases in Latin America. Some health professionals fear this year could be even worse.

When heavy rains associated with La Niña weather patterns hit major parts of Brazil this year in the spring and early summer months, the country was still dealing with the omicron variant. 

Those rains left stagnant water — the perfect breeding ground for Aedes aegypti.

Related: ‘It’s a gigantic tragedy’: Flooding in Brazil’s Bahia state displaces tens of thousands

During the rainy season, Brazilian cities usually run campaigns to educate people about dengue and mosquito prevention, sending out public health teams door-to-door to explain how to keep yards clear of stagnant water, and spray mosquito-infested areas with insecticides.

But all these measures came to a halt when COVID-19 hit. And it’s been a slow start to get things rolling again.

Related: Omicron hits Indigenous communities in Brazil as fake news and denialism undermine vaccination efforts

But cities are now taking action.

In a video shared online, municipal police and public health workers in the southern Brazilian city of Florianopolis cleared out an overgrown abandoned lot with several busted-up cars.

In mid-April, the city declared an emergency situation over the dengue spike.

Health workers are again spraying and visiting residents. 

A government worker sprays insecticide outside homes on the outskirts of Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. 

Credit:

Eraldo Peres/AP

Nowhere is this more urgent than in the central Brazilian state of Goiás — ground zero for this year’s dengue epidemic. 

The number of cases in the state are five times the national average.

In late April, health officials in the capital, Goiânia, found Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in 28.7% of the homes they visited. Health professionals there have confirmed one case of a new, more transmissible and dangerous dengue variant in the city, which was previously unreported in Brazil.

“Controlling Aedes [aegypti mosquito] is rooted in changing people's relationship with the environment."

Flúvia Amorim, head of health monitoring, Goiás state, Brazil

“Controlling Aedes [aegypti mosquito] is rooted in changing people's relationship with the environment,” said Flúvia Amorim, the head of health monitoring for the state of Goiás. 

“Mosquitos need places to breed, and unfortunately, here in Goiás during the rainy season, the principal places for breeding are in disposable plastic materials, which have not been thrown away properly.”

The city of Goiânia has published a series of short videos online called “Myths and Truths about Dengue,” to combat misinformation.

It also launched a catchy jingle to encourage people to clean up their environment.

In a video posted on March 21, people cleaned their yards to a sertaneja-style song typical of the region, with the words, “Turn over your cans, close your garbage, pick up your trash. Mosquitos won’t breed in my house.”

These local and regional efforts are trying to make up for lost time.

According to Amorim, health workers have so far visited 143,000 homes just in the state of Goiás.

But many doctors say that's still not enough — the country needs a coordinated effort on the national level — which is not happening.

If there is one bright spot on the horizon, the weather in the coming months will likely be favorable as the center and north of the country shift into the dry season. And the south is heading toward winter and cooler temperatures, which mosquitoes don’t like.

Many hope it can help Brazil get this epidemic under control.

Brazil — known for anti-tobacco policies — is considering legalizing e-cigarettes

“MuiTypography-root-126 MuiTypography-h1-131″>Brazil — known for anti-tobacco policies — is considering legalizing e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes have been prohibited in Brazil since 2009, when ANVISA, the federal health sanitary agency, issued a ruling against them. But that could soon change.

The WorldMarch 31, 2022 · 3:00 PM EDT

Flavored vaping liquids and devices on display at a New York store on Jan. 2, 2020. Brazil is considering whether to legalize e-cigarettes. 

Mary Altaffer/AP

At a small tobacco shop in the Central District of São Paulo, Brazil, a variety of e-cigarettes are for sale alongside rolling papers and bongs.

A shop clerk behind the counter assures that e-cigarettes aren’t dangerous: “Nicotine is addictive, but it doesn’t kill you,” he said.

Since some e-cigarettes don’t use tobacco — only a fluid with nicotine and other substances — it wouldn’t cause harm, he argued, incorrectly.

Related: 'African. Worker. Killed': Thousands demand justice for killing of Congolese refugee in Brazil 

Actually, nicotine is itself associated with cardiovascular problems, and the other chemical compounds could cause cancer, lung injuries and other diseases. Still, e-cigarettes may be less harmful than regular ones, although independent studies are inconclusive on that matter so far.

The Central District shop is among a number of places in the area that blatantly peddles e-cigarettes despite the fact that they’ve been prohibited in Brazil since 2009, when ANVISA, the federal health sanitary agency, issued a ruling against the commercialization of electronic devices used for smoking.

That ruling, however, may soon change as tobacco companies are pressuring the agency for a more flexible regulation that would allow sales. ANVISA is expected to revisit the issue this year, but it has remained silent on it so far.

Some people argue that if people can find e-cigarettes on the streets and on the internet, why prohibit them? They say that, without the ban, at least the country could tax the sales.

But Stella Bialous, a Brazilian expert on tobacco issues and a professor from the University of California, San Francisco, disagrees with that move.

“Once the product is legally allowed to be commercialized, it gets into the distribution network of the tobacco companies, which have one of the best distribution systems around.” 

Stella Bialous, University of California, San Francisco, tobacco issues expert

“Once the product is legally allowed to be commercialized, it gets into the distribution network of the tobacco companies, which have one of the best distribution systems around,” Bialous said.

In 2019, fewer than 1% of Brazilians used e-cigarettes, mostly in large, urban areas. Legalization, however, could boost these rates rapidly, since it would make access easier in other parts of the country, according to Bialous.

Related: Omicron hits Indigenous communities in Brazil as fake news and denialism undermine vaccination efforts

Bialous also said that e-cigarettes aren’t necessarily safe: “Being less harmful than cigarettes might mean very little. There’s barely any other consumer product that kills half of its users when used as intended.”

But if there’s a possibility of harm reduction, why not grab it? That’s another argument used by the tobacco companies that manufacture e-cigarettes.

Fernando Landucci is a 34-year-old entrepreneur in São Paulo who switched from regular cigarettes to an electronic device in 2017.

“I felt a huge difference one month after I stopped smoking the conventional cigarette. I became someone else,” he said.

Landucci said he was once more able to taste and smell and climb stairs without losing his breath.

But the flip side is that some smokers don’t quit the conventional cigarette, and the dual use might cause special harm.

Besides that, studies show that most e-cigarette consumers are not adults trying to quit smoking — they are teenagers and young adults. In the US, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 11% of high school students smoked e-cigarettes in 2021, versus 4% of adults in 2020. In Canada, 15% of people older than 15 tried a vaping product in 2017, versus 34% of students from grades 7 to 12.

In Brazil, a national survey showed that 70% of the users of the electronic devices are between 15 and 24 years old, and most of them have never used conventional cigarettes before.

Raquel De Bonis is a 13-year-old from São Paulo and doesn’t smoke. But she said that in her classroom of 30 students, she knows at least a handful who are using e-cigarettes. Her social media, and especially her TikTok, she said, is flooded with influencers and teenagers smoking electronic devices.

“I’ve seen several videos with people playing with smoke or showing vapes,” Raquel said.

Related: Progressive evangelicals in Brazil wage a battle ‘against Bolsonaroism’ ahead of elections

She even decided to make a promise with her best friend — they won’t let the other one smoke.

Monica Andreis, the executive director from ACT Promoção da Saúde, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on tobacco control policies, is against the legalization of e-cigarettes in Brazil.

“Considering that these products are attractive to youth and that we can’t affirm that they really work for tobacco cessation, we believe that we must prioritize the public policies to prevent smoke initiation and also to promote health for the Brazilian population.”

Monica Andreis, ACT Promoção da Saúde, executive director

“Considering that these products are attractive to youth and that we can’t affirm that they really work for tobacco cessation, we believe that we must prioritize the public policies to prevent smoke initiation and also to promote health for the Brazilian population,” Andreis said.

In 2019, a study did show benefits of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, but the participants were accompanied in a strict medical setting. And two recent  studies (here and here) didn’t associate e-cigarettes with a higher chance of quitting tobacco products.

Andreis argued that Brazil already has a smoking cessation program with scientifically effective treatments. So, there wouldn’t be a need for devices that haven’t shown their potential yet.

Related: ‘It’s a gigantic tragedy’: Flooding in Brazil’s Bahia state displaces tens of thousands

Brazil is renowned for its anti-tobacco policies that helped reduce the smoking rates from 34% in 1989 to 12% today.

“Brazil has a leadership role in Latin America and also around the world related to tobacco control policies. I believe that the decision from ANVISA has the potential to influence other countries in Latin America,” Andreis said.

The federal health agency said it preferred not to comment because it is still analyzing the data. In a statement published in February for the website G1, however, the agency said: “Up to this point, there are still uncertainties and controversies related to the risks attributed to these devices.”

Disclosure: Rachel De Bonis is the reporter's niece.

Brazil withdraws decision to block Telegram

Photo: Natalya Muschinkina

The head of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil, Alexandre de Moraes, canceled the previously signed decision to block the Telegram messenger in the country.

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According to the local portal G1, Moraes explained that the administration of the messenger fulfills the conditions set for Telegram to continue working in Brazil. In this regard, the block is stopped.

Moraes' statement indicates that the National Telecommunications Agency is instructed to “immediately take all necessary measures” to cancel the block using digital means and notify the court of the execution within 24 hours.

The day before, the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, announced that the messenger would be blocked in Brazil due to a misunderstanding: according to him, the country's Supreme Court sent requests to the company's old email address, and therefore did not receive answers to its demands. After Durov's public explanation and apology, the Brazilian court gave him a day to correct errors in communication, threatening to ban Telegram otherwise.

Источник www.mk.ru

The military specialist thought that Russia could help Brazil with a nuclear submarine

“A boat is not a weapon, but its carrier”

Russia has scientific and technical capabilities to help Brazil with the creation of its own nuclear submarine. It will not violate any international agreements. This is the opinion of a well-known military expert, captain 1st rank in the reserve Vladimir Gundarov.

Photo: Alexander Kornyushchenko

The Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo wrote that President Jair Bolsonaro, during a recent visit to Moscow, asked President Putin to help implement the nuclear submarine project.

It is known that Brazil wants to create a nuclear submarine by 2029. Previously, she turned to the United States for help in creating a reactor for a boat, but Washington refused. Russia, along with the United States, is a leader in the development of nuclear-powered strategic and multi-purpose submarines. So Bolsonaro's request is quite appropriate. In particular, we are talking about the certification of fuel for the reactor.

What can be Russia's help? Here's what “MK” said about it captain 1st rank in reserve Vladimir Gundarov:

– We have rich experience in leasing nuclear submarines built by us to India. Why not help Brazil. It is also possible to provide them with fuel for the reactor, since it does not fall under the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We provide fuel rods to many countries that do not have nuclear status.

TVEL, or fuel element, — it is the main element of the reactor containing nuclear fuel.

According to Gundarov, the two nuclear powers – USA & UK – recently showed an example of how to help other countries build nuclear submarines. They created with Australia an anti-Chinese block AUCUS, according to which nuclear submarines will be built at the shipyards of Australia.

– Here Russia can act according to the same scheme, – Gundarov said. – Reactors can be sold, and weapons – no. Submarine – not a weapon, but its carrier.

The expert explained that it is forbidden to sell weapons-grade plutonium, and uranium for reactors – as much as you like.

– We even supplied it to the States, until they recently refused, – Gundarov said. – Our duty is to help Brazil – BRICS member. And this could be the first step towards creating a military alliance directed against NATO.

Источник www.mk.ru

Who is Eduardo Fausi and why did Russia extradite him to Brazil?

On March 3, Russia extradited Brazilian citizen Eduardo Fauzi, who was put on the international wanted list by Interpol in his homeland. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.

“Today, at Vnukovo International Airport named after A.N. Tupolev, the extradition of a citizen of the Federative Republic of Brazil Eduardo Fausi took place, — the message says.

What is Eduardo Fausi accused of?

Brazilian police accuse Eduardo Fausi of organizing an explosion and attempted murder.

According to the Brazilian side, December 24, 2019 in In the city of Rio de Janeiro, a group of people, which included Fauzi, attacked the office of the Brazilian film studio Portados Fundos.

The attackers threw several Molotov cocktails into the premises. As a result, the entrance lobby of the building burned out and a security guard was injured. After the attack, the gang fled.

According to police, at the time of the attack, Fawzi was the only member of the group who was not wearing a hood, which made it possible to identify him, writes the BBC.

A warrant for a 30-day arrest was issued against the suspect. However, the man managed to escape from the investigation.

In December 2019, Eduardo was arrested in absentia by the Rio de Janeiro court and put on the international wanted list.

What caused the attack on the film studio?

h2>

Suspects threw Molotov cocktails at the door of the studio because of the filming by Portados Fundos studio (specializing in the humorous genre), a short film where Jesus Christ was portrayed as gay, Kommersant reports.

Under what circumstances was Fauzi detained in Russia?

After fleeing Brazil, Fauzi came to Moscow, where he lived with the mother of his child, TASS writes. However, Interpol figured him out and asked the Russian side to assist in the capture of Fauzi. 

In September 2020, a man was detained at the Koltsovo airport (Ekaterinburg). He was arrested by the Leninsky District Court of Yekaterinburg. According to the lawyer of the detainee, Fauzi came to the city to visit a friend with whom he studied Brazilian dances.

After his arrest, Fauzi asked for political asylum in Russia, but he was denied. The man confessed to attacking the film studio. 

On March 3, 2022, the suspect was handed over to Brazilian law enforcement.

What is known about Eduardo Fausi?

According to GGN, Eduardo Fausi Richard Serkis is linked to Brazil's nationalist popular rebellion. He repeatedly came to the attention of law enforcement agencies. Fauzi received an average of 13 lawsuits, 11 of them in Rio de Janeiro. In particular, in 2013 he was charged with assaulting the former secretary of public law and order of the municipality. 

What threatens Fauzi at home? 

According to media reports, in Brazil, Fauzi could face at least 12 years in prison.

Information sources:

mvdmedia.ru/news/operativnye-novosti/v-braziliyu-ekstradirovan-obvinyaemyy-v-organizatsii-vzryva-i-pokushenii-na-ubiystvo/

jornalggn.com.br/editoria/justica/as-suspeitas-sobre-a-accale-no-ataque-ao-porta-dos-fundos-2/

bbc.com/portuguese/brasil-50952459

kommersant.ru/doc/4520721

eanews.ru/news/uzhe-ne-pokhozh-na-geroya-seriala-o-zhizni-braziltsa-gomofoba-v-sizo -yekaterinburga-i-yego-zhenshchinakh_06-10-2020

Источник aif.ru

Brazil flood death toll rises to 152

The number of victims of landslides and floods caused by heavy rains in Brazil's Petropolis has risen to 152. 27 of the dead are minors, Globo TV channel reports, citing rescue services. 

24 survivors were recovered from the rubble, 165 continue to be listed as missing. 500 rescuers, 200 police officers, as well as military and volunteers are busy searching. 

Landslides damaged 80 residential buildings, at least 54 were completely destroyed. A few days ago, 260 mm of rain fell in the region (more than the monthly norm), the authorities declared mourning and declared a state of emergency. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited the city on Friday and announced the allocation of 2.2 billion reals of budgetary funds (about 430 million dollars). President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences in connection with the tragedy.

Recall that the cause of the flood was heavy rainfall, in Petropolis more than a monthly rainfall fell. It was also previously reported that floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in the Brazilian state of Bahia have killed 24 people and injured more than 400.

Источник aif.ru

Brazil appreciates Bolsonaro’s visit to Russia after US pressure data

Brazilian Vice President Murau ruled out problems with Bolsonaro's visit to Russia because of the US Earlier media reported that the US was trying to cancel Bolsonaro's trip to Russia. The Vice President of Brazil said that the United States “shows the power of deterrence”, but stressed that he did not know the content of the conversation, which was written by the media

Antonio Murau

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's planned trip to Russia for February, will not cause any difficulties, Brazilian Vice President Antonio Murau said in an interview with Valor.

Earlier, Folha de Sao Paulo reported, citing sources, that the United States is pressuring Brasilia to cancel Bolsonaro's visit. According to the publication, this trip could be interpreted as a sign that Brazil is “taking sides in the conflict.” Folha de Sao Paulo reported that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed such concern during a telephone conversation with Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos França.

During the interview, Murau was asked how he interprets “American pressure”; regarding the President's trip.

“The United States is showing its power of deterrence. It has always been so. I do not know the real content of Blinken's conversation with Minister Carlos Franca. But it's all right. The trip will not cause any difficulties,»,— Murau replied.

He emphasized that Brazil does not take part in the Ukrainian conflict, but unequivocally believes that it must be resolved peacefully.

As I wrote Folha de Sao Paulo, the US did not directly try to force Brazil to cancel Bolsonaro's trip to Russia, but made it clear that they were working to prevent it from taking place. The interlocutors of the publication claimed that Washington believes that the cancellation or postponement of the trip will demonstrate that “Putin is in danger of diplomatic isolation” if Russia does not withdraw part of the military from the border with Ukraine.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry then said Folha de Sao Paulo that they are not going to cancel the trip and that it does not mean support for any side.

President Vladimir Putin invited Bolsonaro to visit Russia in December 2021. The Brazilian President accepted the invitation. So far, the trip is scheduled for February 14 & ndash; 17.

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Источник rbc.ru

Omicron hits Indigenous communities in Brazil as fake news and denialism undermine vaccination efforts

“MuiTypography-root-135 MuiTypography-h1-140″>Omicron hits Indigenous communities in Brazil as fake news and denialism undermine vaccination efforts

In Brazil, 1,258 Indigenous people have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The WorldJanuary 26, 2022 · 3:15 PM EST

A health worker gives a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to 8-year-old Indigenous youth Davi Seremramiwe Xavante at the Hospital da Clinicas in São Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 14, 2022. 

Andre Penner/AP

A week and a half ago, 8-year-old Davi Seremramiwe Xavante became the first child in Brazil to be vaccinated.

In a video of the event, he’s shown taking the shot like a champ before a roomful of press representatives in São Paulo. 

His father, Indigenous Xavante leader Jurandir Siridiwe, thanked those involved in the effort to fight the coronavirus in a message that he shared via Twitter: “May all of the children of Brazil be vaccinated.”

It’s significant that the first child to receive a shot in Brazil is Indigenous. Brazil’s health regulatory agency approved vaccines for children, aged 5 to 11, earlier in the month. Native Brazilians have been especially hard hit by omicron as fake news and denialism have weakened vaccination efforts.

Related: Brazil heads into latest COVID surge amid public health information blackout

Although vaccines are available, 1,258 Indigenous people have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the country’s largest Indigenous association, APIB, many of them leaders and elders.

Last Saturday, under a clear blue sky, a group of adolescents lined up to be vaccinated on Xokleng Indigenous territory, in the hills of southern Brazil.

A group of five nurses administered the shots. which were welcomed, as the Xokleng have had a difficult time lately with the pandemic.

“In 2020, we practically only had one death. But in 2021 we lost a lot of youth. We lost a 22-year-old girl, a man of 50, someone who was 31 and his brother. And recently, a girl who was only 20. So, 2021 wasn’t very good for us, even though we had a vaccine.”

Brasílio Priprá, Xokleng leader

“In 2020, we practically only had one death,” said Xokleng leader Brasílio Priprá. ”But in 2021 we lost a lot of youth. We lost a 22-year-old girl, a man of 50, someone who was 31 and his brother. And recently, a girl who was only 20. So, 2021 wasn’t very good for us, even though we had a vaccine.”

The most recent death was just two weeks ago.

Related: Progressive evangelicals in Brazil wage a battle ‘against Bolsonaroism’ ahead of elections

“Generally, the people who died were the people who hadn’t been vaccinated,” Priprá said. “They weren’t vaccinated, and they got sick.”

It’s a similar story across the country as omicron has spread fast — along with the flu.

According to COIAB, the largest Indigenous organization of the Brazilian Amazon, 60% of the residents in some villages are fully vaccinated. That’s in part due to a stream of fake news and anti-vaccination messages that Indigenous people there have received, COIAB and other experts said.

In one video that has been shared widely over WhatsApp in recent days among the Kayapó people in the Brazilian Amazon, President Jair Bolsonaro said that the shot could cause chest pain and shortness of breath.

“Parents, you have to be conscious of your responsibility in vaccinating, or not vaccinating, your child,” he said. “I repeat, my daughter will not be vaccinated.”

In another WhatsApp video doing the rounds, a woman speaking in Portuguese tours an anti-vaccination event in the United States. She describes a row of pictures staked into the ground, which allegedly show people who have died from the vaccine. A sign in the background falsely claims, “The jab has killed more kids than [COVID-19].”

“Not even 50% of the Kayapó are vaccinated now, and there has been a lot of resistance,” said Cassuça Benevides, with the Kabu Institute, which represents the Kayapó people. “What arrives to the people here is largely fake news, videos over WhatsApp shared in groups. Many COVID-19 denialist videos.”

Related: ‘It’s a gigantic tragedy’: Flooding in Brazil’s Bahia state displaces tens of thousands

These videos are influential in many isolated communities where people get a lot of their information from social media and evangelical churches. Indigenous leaders, the Kabu Institute, and other Native groups say they have done their best to promote vaccines and respond to the misinformation — holding meetings, health education days and sharing information online.

Kayapó leader Doto Takak-Ire said he was able to convince those in his village to get vaccinated, and he hopes they can encourage other communities to follow their lead, using the vaccine alongside traditional medicine. But, he said, “People are afraid.”

“Some fake news says this vaccine has the mark of the beast, or it’s a thing of the devil,” Takak-Ire said. “So, those people who frequent the church got scared.”

Luiz Penha, a Tukano Indigenous leader with COIAB, blames the government for its lack of support, the slow vaccination campaign and for spreading misinformation that is costing people their lives.

According to reports, five members of the Kayapó people died from flulike symptoms just in the last two weeks.

“We can never have our family members back. Many family members, many leaders have been lost. The community misses them a lot. That’s really hard.”

Luiz Penha, Tukano Indigenous leader with COIAB

“We can never have our family members back,” he said. “Many family members, many leaders have been lost. The community misses them a lot. That’s really hard.”

In August, Brazil’s Indigenous members of APIB denounced Bolsonaro before the International Criminal Court, holding the president responsible for Native deaths during the pandemic and for encouraging the invasion of their lands. Two months later, Brazil’s COVID-19 Senate investigation charged Bolsonaro with crimes against humanity for failing to adequately defend Indigenous lives during COVID-19.

Related: Electricity rates have skyrocketed in Brazil. The govt says the water crisis is to blame.

“The government treats Indigenous people like it always has. We are not a priority. There is huge prejudice and discrimination,” said Marcos Kaingang, a member of the Kaingang people who live on territory near Porto Alegre, the capital of Brazil’s southernmost state.

“Each new variant comes, but there is no support. We had delta. It hit Indigenous communities hard. And nothing was done. If it wasn’t for our organizing, things in the pandemic would have been worse because the government did very little.”

Far from women. Earth’s oldest man dies short of 113th birthday

​The oldest male inhabitant of planet Earth has passed away in Spain. News of the death of Saturnino de la Fuente Garcia was confirmed by representatives of the Guinness Book of Records, who monitor long-lived record holders.

Lucky football fan

«Saturnino de la Fuente Garcia died at home, he was 112 years and 341 days old, — stated in the posted message. The man ended his days in the same city in which he was born in 1909 in Leon, located in the province of Castile and Leon.

Saturnino was the youngest of six children Salustiano and Josefa de la Fuente Garcia. In early childhood, he almost died from a severe form of the flu, but after suffering an illness, he was distinguished by enviable health. At the age of 13, he mastered the craft of a shoemaker, and devoted the next decades of his life to this profession.

When the Civil War broke out in Spain in the 1930s, Saturnino avoided the draft due to his short stature. Instead of serving in the army, he made shoes for soldiers.

He has been lucky many times in his life. In 1937, Saturnino became a participant in a plane crash, and while on the ground — the plane crashed on the house he was in. However, the Spaniard not only survived, but also avoided serious injuries.

Throughout his life, Saturnino carried his passion for football. In 1927, he became one of the founders of the Puente Castro football club, in which he played as a center forward. After finishing his playing career, he became an active supporter of the team from his hometown, although they never had enough stars in the Spanish championship.

Calmly and with dignity

In 1933, Saturnino married Antonina Barrio. In marriage, the couple had eight children: seven daughters and one son.

When the man's 110th birthday was celebrated in 2019, six of his eight children remained alive. In addition, Saturnino has 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

In May 2021, all the Spanish media wrote about the man — the super-long-liver voluntarily and on his own initiative went for vaccination against coronavirus.

The title of the oldest man on the planet Earth passed to Saturnino on August 12, 2021, when Emilio Flores Marquez died in Puerto Rico at the age of 113 years and 4 days.

September 10, 2021 was officially declared by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest man on the planet, and three weeks later he was awarded the corresponding certificate. When asked how he managed to live such a long life, Saturnino replied: “Calmly and without harming anyone.”

At the same time, the Spaniard failed to reach the absolutely record-breaking life expectancy among men. The palm belongs to the Japanese Jiroemun Kimura, who died in 2013 — his age was 116 years and 54 days. Kimura today remains the only man in history who managed to overcome the threshold of 116 years.

After the death of Saturnino de la Fuente Garcia, a Brazilian of Italian origin Delio Venturotti

strong>, which is currently 112 years and 85 days old.

Sly grandmother Kalman

In the absolute lists of centenarians, women are unconditionally in the lead. The world record of all time belongs to the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 — her age was 122 years and 164 days. One episode is associated with it, which can be called tragicomic. Jeanne was already over 90 when a lawyer approached her, offering a life annuity agreement in exchange for inheriting an apartment. The lawyer was convinced that the old woman would not last long, and he would remain in the black. But time passed, Mrs. Kalman continued to live, and the lawyer — to pay. In the end, the woman received significantly more than her housing cost. But that's not all: the lawyer died before Jeanne, and his heirs had, in accordance with the contract, to continue to pay the old woman. She herself commented rather sarcastically: “Well, someone has bad deals.”

119 years of Mrs. Tanaka

There are no men in the top 20 centenarians in the history of observations of men — even the Japanese Kimura did not have enough weeks to break into this “women's club”. Exactly the same situation among the living — in the top twenty only ladies, the youngest of which is 112 years and 328 days old, and the eldest — 119 years and 16 days.

The top 20 includes four Japanese women, five American women, three French women, two citizens of Argentina and Brazil, as well as a Polish woman, a Spanish woman, a Canadian woman and an English woman.

The oldest inhabitant of the planet Earth is a native of Japanese Fukuoka Kane Tanaka. The woman, who celebrated her 119th birthday, has held this title for three and a half years. Ms. Tanaka, who outlived three of her four children, who defeated two forms of cancer in different years, says that family, hope, healthy sleep and diet were the key to her longevity.

In September 2021, Kane Tanaka received a vaccine against COVID-19, making her the oldest person to have been vaccinated against the infection.

Now in the overall standings, the Japanese woman is in third place — apart from Jeanne Kalman, only the American Sarah Knauss, who died in 1999, had a better life. Sarah stopped at 119 years and 97 days.

There are no Russians on the list. Missing documents

Since 1990, in addition to the Guinness Book of Records, the Gerontological Research Group (GRG), based at the University of California, has been registering people aged 110 years and above. The Panel verifies people who claim to be at least 110 years old by examining documents submitted by the applicant or his family. Those who pass the test are included in the list of verified centenarians. There are no Russians on these lists. The reason is simple: there are not enough documents confirming the age of Russian centenarians. 

In 2010, the portal “Snob” quoted Stephen Coles, MD and PhD, director and treasurer of the Supercentenarian Research Foundation: “There are obviously people over 110 years old in Russia, but GRG standards are very strict. To include a person on our lists, you need to provide original birth documents, and these are often not available. We established contacts with the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow to translate supporting documents into English, but this agreement is not being used: there are simply no documents.

Источник aif.ru

Brazil heads into latest COVID surge amid public health information blackout

“MuiTypography-root-133 MuiTypography-h1-138″>Brazil heads into latest COVID surge amid public health information blackout

COVID-19 is back with a vengeance in Brazil, along with simultaneous flu and other viral infections. But a “total blackout” on data has left public health officials feeling blindsided.

The WorldJanuary 6, 2022 · 1:30 PM EST

Commuters wear protective face masks as they walk through a subway station, in São Paulo, Brazil, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Dec. 1, 2021. Brazil joined the widening circle of countries to report cases of the omicron variant. 

Andre Penner/AP/File photo

Daniela Castelan lives in a 3-bedroom house in Sao Paulo with her husband and two young girls. Just after Christmas, they started feeling sick. 

“We had light symptoms,” she said. “One of my daughters had a fever. My 7-year-old had a bad cough. We were all congested and we all had a cough. That’s why I believe it was omicron.” 

She said they’ve had a hard time getting tested, because COVID-19 tests are either hard to come by or really expensive. So, they’ve been isolating at home.

This is the story for many in Brazil today. COVID-19 is back with a vengeance, after months of respite, while the flu and other viruses are also hitting communities hard. But a "total blackout" on public health information since December has left health officials feeling blindsided.

Many Brazilians rang in the new year by partying like COVID-19 was a thing of the past. People packed beaches for celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. No one wore a mask.

Related: Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity over negligent COVID response 

"We are going to have an absurd number of cases. … We are going to pack the emergency rooms. This is a fact. This will happen."

Marcos Caseiro, infectious disease specialist, Brazil

“We are going to have an absurd number of cases,” infectologist Marcos Caseiro said during an interview shared online last week. “We are going to pack the emergency rooms. This is a fact. This will happen,” he said.

Public hospitals in the state capital of Belo Horizonte are at capacity. Hospitals elsewhere are also filling up.

The omicron variant now accounts for a majority of COVID-19 cases in the country. But Brazil is also battling a flu outbreak. Dozens in São Paulo alone are infected right now with both viruses at the same time.

"We are hearing stories from colleagues that there are patients with COVID, with the flu, with rotavirus and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus]. There are people with four different viruses like this at the same time. … It’s insane. …"

Larissa Brussa, microbiologist, Brazil

“We are hearing stories from colleagues that there are patients with COVID, with the flu, with rotavirus and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus]. There are people with four different viruses like this at the same time,” said Larissa Brussa, a microbiologist who works with the country’s largest private-sector laboratory. “It’s insane. We weren’t expecting this and it’s very concerning.”

According to the numbers, omicron cases are still relatively low in Brazil. But that’s because there are no official figures. Since a hacker knocked out the country’s COVID-19 reporting system in mid-December, government numbers have been largely offline.

Related: Electricity rates have skyrocketed in Brazil. The govt says the water crisis is to blame.

"I am very concerned about this blackout of information. This leaves us blind for what’s happening around us. And it’s hard for us to develop effective measures to stop cases, hospitalizations and deaths from rising."

Mellanie Fontes-Dutra, biochemist and a researcher, COVID-19 Analysis Network, Brazil

“I am very concerned about this blackout of information. This leaves us blind for what’s happening around us. And it’s hard for us to develop effective measures to stop cases, hospitalizations and deaths from rising,” said Mellanie Fontes-Dutra, a biochemist and a researcher with the COVID-19 Analysis Network.

If there is a silver lining, Brazil’s COVID-19 vaccination program has been a success, after an initially slow start. The government says 80% of the eligible adult population is fully vaccinated. 

Related: Brazil’s COVID vaccination campaign picks up thanks to a 1980s public health mascot

Yesterday, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced that vaccines were finally approved for children over the age of 5. He said they would start to be distributed in the coming days. 

Cities have reinstated mask mandates. São Paulo is now requiring all state employees to get vaccinated. Many cities, including Rio de Janeiro, have canceled Carnival for the second year in a row.

These measures to stem the spread of the virus are increasing as the country heads into another COVID-19 wave. This time, with more vaccines — but less government data to guide the way forward.

“It’s like we’ve been in a tunnel, we’ve had some glimmers of hope. … but at this moment, with the erasing of information, there is a total blackout. We are in a tunnel. And the light of hope has been blown out.”

Renata Rivera, doctor, São Paulo, Brazil

“It’s like we’ve been in a tunnel, we’ve had some glimmers of hope,” São Paulo doctor Renata Rivera said. “But at this moment, with the erasing of information, there is a total blackout. We are in a tunnel. And the light of hope has been blown out.”

Progressive evangelicals in Brazil wage a battle ‘against Bolsonaroism’ ahead of elections

“MuiTypography-root-133 MuiTypography-h1-138″>Progressive evangelicals in Brazil wage a battle ‘against Bolsonaroism’ ahead of elections

Evangelical Christians will play a powerful role in keeping President Jair Bolsonaro in power. But support may be slipping as evangelical progressives begin to organize against Bolsonaro ahead of next year's elections.

The WorldJanuary 4, 2022 · 1:15 PM EST

Christians raise their hands in praise during an International Grace of God Church event led by televangelist R.R. Soares, with President Jair Bolsonaro in attendance, at Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feb. 15, 2020.

Leo Correa/AP/File photo

In early December 2021, evangelical pastor Kenner Terra hopped on a flight from his home in the state of Espírito Santo and flew to São Paulo, where he met with dozens of progressive evangelical leaders to discuss the 2022 elections.

“We asked ourselves what are the principal problems in Brazil right now that a progressive evangelical alliance could help resolve."

Kenner Terra, evangelical pastor, Espírito Santo, Brazil 

“We asked ourselves what are the principal problems in Brazil right now that a progressive evangelical alliance could help resolve,” he said.

The group gathered because they noticed that President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies are creating problematic issues, he said, including rollbacks in social and workers’ rights, a failed response to the pandemic and a weakening of democratic institutions.

The term “progressive evangelical” may seem contradictory by nature. In Brazil, like in the United States, evangelical Christians are usually considered to be more politically conservative — taking stands against abortion and gay marriage.

Related: Evangelicals in Brazil 'have taken power’ with latest Supreme Court justice appointee

But in Brazil, the word evangelical describes all non-Catholic Christians, who make up about a third of the country. So-called progressive evangelicals are a small segment of this population.

They are up against a conservative evangelical majority that controls the powerful media and electoral machines that helped elect Bolsonaro and evangelical political leaders.

However, a recent poll suggests support may be slipping as evangelical progressives begin to organize against Bolsonaro, and as their voices get louder.

In September, activists from the Black Evangelical Movement participated in nationwide protests against the Bolsonaro government and its handling of the pandemic.

Related: 'Born in Blackness': A new book centers Africa in the expansive history of slavery

“We are here today on the streets to show that being evangelical does not mean that we are Bolsonaro supporters,” said one member in a video shared over social media

“We will be in the streets next year,” said Vanessa Barboza, one of the young leaders of the movement, which has local chapters in cities around the country. “We have political connections and we’ll be organizing people directly against Bolsonaro.”

Her story is similar to many others.

She said she joined a Pentacostal church in her youth. But over time, she found there was little space for deeper discussions there about feminism or racial discrimination in the church.

She helped to found the first feminist evangelical group in the country and the Network of Black Women Evangelicals in 2018. They hold frequent online forums, like this one live-streamed over YouTube in October. 

Next year, Barboza said they are going to work to fight political violence against Black female leaders and political candidates, which has been rising since the lead-up to Bolsonaro’s election in 2018.

There are dozens of progressive evangelical groups like hers around the country.

On a Sunday morning in late November, members of the Evangelical Front for the Rule of Law inaugurated a new space in Brasília, by holding mass. In a video shared online, a pastor in jeans and a black T-shirt preaches to a small audience, seated in white plastic chairs, about helping one another. Behind him is a large mural of lush green leaves and ivy. A five-person band plays softly in the background.

Related: ‘Without our territory, we are nothing’: Violence against Indigenous peoples spikes in Brazil

The group, with nearly 30,000 followers on Facebook and local chapters around the country, is one of the more prominent progressive evangelical organizations in Brazil.

"It’s not a battle against Bolsonaro. It’s a battle against Bolsonarism. The figure of Bolsonaro is weakening. But the future of his movement is strong.”

Valeria do Nascimento Oliveira, founding member, Evangelical Front for the Rule of Law

“Next year will be a very difficult year,” founding member Valeria do Nascimento Oliveira said. “It’s not a battle against Bolsonaro. It’s a battle against Bolsonarism. The figure of Bolsonaro is weakening. But the future of his movement is strong.”

She said they, too, will be in the streets: Pamphleting, door knocking and holding religious gatherings.

It may not be enough to counter the power of the more conservative evangelical churches. But these groups are flexing their muscles and showing that evangelicals are more politically diverse than they might appear.

And that diversity is set to play an important role as the candidates battle in the lead-up to next year’s election.

“It is possible for progressive evangelicals to organize … to develop a new project for society that’s more just in its relationships, and with a gospel that’s more about freedom and mercy.”

Ronilso Pacheco, Baptist pastor, Union Theological Seminary

“It is possible for progressive evangelicals to organize,” said Brazilian Baptist pastor Ronilso Pacheco, who is currently studying at Union Theological Seminary. “It’s possible to organize, to develop a new project for society that’s more just in its relationships, and with a gospel that’s more about freedom and mercy.”

‘It’s a gigantic tragedy’: Flooding in Brazil’s Bahia state displaces tens of thousands

“MuiTypography-root-133 MuiTypography-h1-138″>‘It’s a gigantic tragedy’: Flooding in Brazil’s Bahia state displaces tens of thousands

In northeastern Brazil, weeks of rain have caused massive flooding. At least 24 people are dead and tens of thousands have lost their homes. But in some places, local residents are coming together to provide support for those in need.

The WorldDecember 30, 2021 · 2:30 PM EST

Luzia Barbosa de Oliveira, not pictured, is transported on a boat to her home partially submerged by flood waters in Sambaituba, a rural area of Ilheus, Bahia state, Brazil, Dec. 29, 2021.

Raphael Muller/AP

Roads out, cities underwater, rescue operations underway — these are the images that have poured across news feeds over the past week from the Brazilian state of Bahia.

“We’re in the hands of God, right now,” said a man off-camera in one video shared over social media as a rising river poured onto the bridge where he was standing.

“I don’t remember anything of this magnitude in Bahia’s recent history."

Rui Costa, Bahia state governor

“It’s a gigantic tragedy,” Bahia state Gov. Rui Costa told reporters after surveying the damage last Sunday. “I don’t remember anything of this magnitude in Bahia’s recent history for the quantity of cities and homes affected. It is really terrifying.”

Related: Drought, frost takes a massive toll on coffee crops in Brazil

The floods have impacted more than 629,000 people, placing 132 municipalities across the state under a state of emergency.

The situation has been made worse by the rupture of at least two dams that sent water flooding into already choked rivers and neighborhoods.

State officials say another 10 dams are at risk of rupturing if the rains continue.

Related: Brazil’s COVID vaccination campaign picks up thanks to a 1980s public health mascot

“This is the reality of the dams in Brazil,” said Gabrielle Sodré, a Bahia resident and a member of the Movement of People Affected by Dams.

Sodré explains that only a small number of the country’s 24,000 dams are inspected and monitored, in part because they are on private property.

"These dams without inspections end up breaking."

Gabrielle Sodré, Bahia resident and a member of the Movement of People Affected by Dams

“So, when you have a volume of rain that is well above normal, these dams — without inspections — end up breaking,” she said.

According to the latest figures, nearly 54,000 people across the state were forced to leave their homes. Many people lost everything, but some neighbors have banded together and community groups are responding.

“Hi everyone, we are at the headquarters putting together bags of clothes to bring to Uruçuca,” said a young woman in a video shared by the Community Alliance, a neighborhood group in the Serra Grande region that was hit hard by the rains.

Behind the woman, a handful of volunteers fill black plastic bags with donations of clothes. Dozens of bags are stacked shoulder-high along the wall beside them.

Related: Electricity rates have skyrocketed in Brazil. The govt says the water crisis is to blame.

“I’m 66, and I never saw a flood like this,” said Joselita Machado Lima, a longtime community leader in the neighborhood of Bairro Novo, and a member of the Community Alliance. “There is so much need. Yesterday, when we were delivering donations, we saw that many homes are without furniture because the water rose really high.”

Machado Lima says she and many others have been working around the clock over the last week to provide support for those who have lost everything by delivering beds, clothes and food.

“The president is on vacation, while the state is in a calamity, so social organizations are responding and organizing however they can.”

Gabrielle Sodré, Bahia resident and a member of the Movement of People Affected by Dams

“The president is on vacation, while the state is in a calamity, so social organizations are responding and organizing however they can,” Sodré said.

Brazilians took to social media this week to attack President Jair Bolsonaro for ignoring the tragedy in Bahia and continuing his end-of-the-year vacation at the beach in the southern state of Santa Catarina. Bolsonaro posted a video on his Facebook page showing himself greeting crowds of beachgoers from the back of a jet ski.

In another viral video, a reporter asked if the president will be on vacation into the new year. 

“I hope I don’t have to go back early,” Bolsonaro said.

Climate Change

Scientists blame the weather pattern La Niña for the intense rains that have hit the state over the last month as well as recent droughts around the country. They also say global warming will likely make future episodes like this one even worse.

“With climate change, there is a tendency for these types of severe rains to happen ever more often,” said Pedro Roberto Jacobi, who is a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Energy and Environment Institute. “We have to look at the relationship between La Niña, extreme weather and global warming.”

Related: Evangelicals in Brazil 'have taken power’ with latest Supreme Court justice appointee

The sun has shone over the last day or so, giving people a chance to start to pick up the pieces of their lives. 

"People are returning to their homes. But we don’t have any idea of what the needs will be in the future,” Machado Lima of the Community Alliance said. “We have held emergency actions to collect clothes, beds and food for those in need because the water took everything some people had. Some people don’t even have a way to cook, because they lost their stoves and propane tanks. There is still so much need.”

Brazil’s National Meteorological Institute says more rains are expected in the coming weeks.

Electricity rates have skyrocketed in Brazil. The govt says the water crisis is to blame.

“MuiTypography-root-125 MuiTypography-h1-130″>Electricity rates have skyrocketed in Brazil. The govt says the water crisis is to blame.

A drought that began last year still extends across much of southern Brazil, where reservoirs powering hydroelectric dams are less than 20% full. This is causing huge spikes in electricity prices, and forcing the import of power from abroad.

The WorldDecember 21, 2021 · 3:00 PM EST

People bathe in the half-empty Guarapiranga Reservoir which provides water to the São Paulo metropolitan area, in Brazil, Sept. 20, 2021. Water levels have plunged during the ongoing dry season, bringing concerns about the water supply to São Paulo, the largest Brazilian metropolitan area. 

Andre Penner/AP

When the utility company came to turn off the family’s electricity for lack of payment last week, Adriana Regina do Nascimento said that she fought it. 

Regina do Nascimento lives in the poor neighborhood of Itaim Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil, and has three children, one of whom stays home during the day.  

Related: Evangelicals in Brazil 'have taken power’ with latest Supreme Court justice appointee

“I told them about my child,” she said. “I showed them my agreement with the company. How I’m paying the bill in installments. I’ve already paid off three of them.”

The power company gave her a break, and the power is still on. But she doesn’t know for how long.

Electricity rates have skyrocketed over the last year in Brazil. For Regina do Nascimento, they’ve more than tripled from the 50 or 60 reais, or roughly $10 a month, which her family used to pay.

“We want to pay the bills, but we are in a situation where we have to prioritize buying food for our family.” 

Adriana Regina do Nascimento, resident, São Paulo, Brazil

“We want to pay the bills, but we are in a situation where we have to prioritize buying food for our family,” she said.

Stories like hers are becoming increasingly common in low-income neighborhoods across Brazil.

“It’s absurd,” said Fernanda Maria Silva, who lives with her 13-year-old daughter in the poor São Paulo neighborhood of São Miguel Paulista. “I don’t have a microwave. I don’t have a washing machine. I only have a fridge and a TV. And I’ve received an electricity bill for more than 300 reais [$50]. I should be paying 60 reais [$10] max, and then the rest would be left over to help pay for food.”

The Brazilian government says the country’s water crisis is behind the spiking electricity rates.

In August, Brazil’s National Energy Agency hiked some rates over 50%. Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque told Brazilians the country was facing one of the worst droughts in its history: “The lack of water that is impacting Brazil’s hydroelectric dams, and in particular, in the southeast and center-west of the country, is the worst in 91 years.”

In Brazil, water is key.

Related: Brazil’s COVID vaccination campaign picks up thanks to a 1980s public health mascot

Almost 70% of the country’s energy is generated by hydroelectric dams, like Belo Monte in the Brazilian Amazon. It’s an imposing concrete structure, with 18-block turbines that run the width of the Xingu River and usually emit a subtle but endless hum along the highway just in front. It’s one of the biggest hydroelectric dams in the world and was completed a few years ago after a long controversy over its potential environmental impact. In September, it was running at less than 3% capacity.

In the same month, massive dust storms hit major cities in the state of São Paulo. Videos posted on social media show apocalyptic scenes. A towering wall of dust engulfs the city of Ribeirão Preto into darkness. 

Experts say rising deforestation and climate change may be, in part, to blame for the water crisis, and that doesn’t bode well for the future.

“The current water crisis is a consequence not just of what is happening in Brazil, which is an absolute disregard for the environment, but it’s the consequence of bad public policies not directed at conserving the environment,” said Selvino Neckel, an ecologist at the Federal University of Santa Catarina.

“With the disregard we have for the environment, today, it’s likely that in the future, episodes like this will become even more common.” 

Selvino Neckel, Federal University of Santa Catarina

“With the disregard we have for the environment, today, it’s likely that in the future, episodes like this will become even more common,” he said.

The Brazilian government has responded by purchasing 63% more energy from neighboring countries and importing record amounts of natural gas from the United States. It’s also relying increasingly on the country’s more than 3,000 thermoelectric power plants. Two-thirds of those run on fossil fuels.

“With all the climate change and climate emergency, there has to be more alternative sources of energy. There has to be an increase in wind and solar energy,” said Pedro Roberto Jacobi, a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Energy Institute.

Related: Analysts: ‘Pandora Papers’ revelations will make Brazil's already precarious economy even more unstable

But there have been droughts before without electric bills rising sky high.

“The water crisis alone can’t account for the rising utility rates,” said hydrologist Norbert Fenzl, from the Pará State Federal University. “That’s really a childish excuse.”

The state-owned Electrobras is the largest electric power company in Latin America. It’s set to be privatized and auctioned off at the beginning of next year. Fenzl said that he believes the government is increasing prices to bring them closer to market rate.

Earlier this year, the energy minister said the privatization would actually help bring down consumer electricity rates.

Meanwhile, those in Brazil’s low-income communities are bearing much of the burden of the water crisis.

“We are economizing,” Regina do Nascimento said. “We only turn one light on in each room. I taught the children, even my son with autism, he’s learning to economize. And even being as careful as possible, our electric bill is three times what we used to pay, on top of having to pay the unpaid installments.”

“It’s hard,” she said.

Evangelicals in Brazil ‘have taken power’ with latest Supreme Court justice appointee

“MuiTypography-root-133 MuiTypography-h1-138″>Evangelicals in Brazil 'have taken power’ with latest Supreme Court justice appointee

Attorney and pastor André Mendonça’s spot on the Supreme Court holds profound significance for evangelicals in Brazil — and the Bolsonaros.

The WorldDecember 8, 2021 · 1:15 PM EST

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, right, greets his new Justice Minister Andre Mendonça during his swearing-in ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, April 29, 2020.

Eraldo Peres/AP/File photo

Evangelicals in Brazil erupted in celebration last week when the Senate approved a spot on the Supreme Court for André Mendonça, an attorney and evangelical pastor.

Among them was first lady Michelle Bolsonaro.

In a viral video, she jumped up and down, clapping and shouting, “Glory to God.” “Hallelujah,” she cheered, before speaking in tongues and embracing Mendonça beside her.

Mendonça’s approval holds profound significance for evangelicals in Brazil and the Bolsonaro family.

Related: Behind in polls, Bolsonaro bolsters his base with far-right rhetoric from the US

“May God illuminate André in this mission that he has before him,” President Jair Bolsonaro told cameras, while signing Mendonça’s appointment, the day after the Senate confirmation.

Related: Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity over negligent COVID response 

Mendonça served as Bolsonaro's justice minister and attorney general, before his appointment to the Supreme Court.

“For the evangelicals — conservative evangelicals — it’s like, ‘we are occupying power.'"

Kenner Terra, theology professor and evangelical pastor, Espírito Santo, Brazil

“For the evangelicals — conservative evangelicals — it’s like, ‘we are occupying power,’” said Kenner Terra, a professor of theology and an evangelical pastor in the state of Espírito Santo.

“Now is the time of moral issues and rollbacks in questions related to gay rights, gender issues and social policies. Now the evangelicals have taken power and these things will not have the same space in the country. That’s how they see it,” he said.

“But there is another type of evangelical perspective that understands that the nomination of Mendonça is a risk for the separation between the church and state,” Terra said.

Related: Bolsonaro pulls out all the stops to rally base on Brazil’s Independence Day

During his confirmation hearing, Mendonça said that he had his own roots in faith, but as a Supreme Court justice he’d have to guide himself by the Constitution.

But many fear those two worlds will blur. Shortly after the Senate approval, Mendonça told the press that his appointment was, “one small step for man, one giant leap for evangelicals.”

While acting as attorney general, in April, Mendonça used verses from the Bible to defend the reopening of churches during the pandemic.

“Not to embody any type of prejudice against any type of religiosity, but Mendonça wasn’t appointed to be a justice who is evangelical. He has been appointed to be an evangelical who is a justice and I think that distinction matters,” said Fabio de Sa e Silva, a Brazilian studies professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Caio Fábio, a former evangelical pastor and the ex-president of the Brazilian Evangelical Association, with more than 750,000 YouTube subscribers, expressed concerns about Mendonça’s appointment, "because it’s part of a project of power for the evangelicals."

“He’s had a short career without anything that would credential him above so many other people who are more qualified. Bolsonaro chose him for his political allegiance.”

Caio Fábio, former evangelical pastor and ex-president, Brazilian Evangelical Association

“He’s had a short career without anything that would credential him above so many other people who are more qualified. Bolsonaro chose him for his political allegiance.”

In Brazil, the Supreme Court serves roughly the same function as in the United States. Appointees must be a minimum of 35 years old and have had a legal career. Justices are required to retire at age 75.

Brazil is considered the world’s largest Catholic country, but it’s seen a huge rise in the number of evangelicals in recent years. Nearly a third of the country is now evangelical, according to a 2020 Datafolha poll. They are gaining more political power in Congress, in the courts and in Bolsonaro’s government.

Evangelicals voted en masse for Bolsonaro in 2018. Bolsonaro had promised a Supreme Court appointee who was “terribly evangelical.” And he’s made good on that promise.

“I think this was an important accomplishment for Bolsonaro. He is not doing very well in the polls. So, I think it’s a very symbolic and historic event."

Juliano Spyer, anthropologist and author of "People of God," about evangelicals in Brazil

“I think this was an important accomplishment for Bolsonaro. He is not doing very well in the polls. So, I think it’s a very symbolic and historic event,” said Juliano Spyer, a Brazilian anthropologist, whose book, “People of God,” looks at the importance of the rising evangelical population in Brazil.

Not all evangelicals are conservative and not all support Bolsonaro. His approval among evangelicals had dropped to 29% in September, according to Datafolha. But Mendonça’s appointment was a big win for Bolsonaro, as the president hopes to garner support ahead of next year’s elections.

“[Mendonça’s confirmation] was quite important to evangelicals,” Spyer said.

“Bolsonaro will benefit politically from this appointment.”

Mendonça is expected to be sworn in on Dec. 16.

Live Discussion: Children’s mental health during COVID

“MuiTypography-root-228 MuiTypography-h1-233″>Live Discussion: Children's mental health during COVIDNovember 24, 2021 · 1:45 PM EST Updated on Nov. 24, 2021 · 1:45 PM EST

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on populations across the globe. And for children, the past two years have been a significant part of their young lives, affecting everything from their social interactions to their physical and mental wellbeing.

UNICEF did an analysis of various studies on the mental health of tens of thousands of children and adolescents across 22 mostly high and upper middle-income countries — between November 2019 and November 2020 — and found “higher levels of depression, fear, anxiety, anger, irritability, negativity, conduct disorder, alcohol and substance use and sedentary behaviors, compared with pre-pandemic rates.”

Certain coping strategies, including having daily routines and regular physical activity, have helped buffer against depression and were associated with better moods. Good communication with loved ones also helped manage pandemic stressors and lockdowns.

Related discussion:A deepening coronavirus crisis in Latin America

Another factor that’s contributed to mental health pressures on households is financial insecurity. “Millions more families have been pushed into poverty, unable to make ends meet," UNICEF revealed in its own report published in October. "Child labor, abuse and gender-based violence are on the rise,” while investment in necessary resources “remains negligible.”

The report added that the coronavirus pandemic "has created serious concerns about the mental health of children and their families during lockdowns, and it has illustrated in the starkest light how events in the wider world can affect the world inside our heads," as well as highlighting "the fragility of support systems for mental health in many countries, and it has – once again – underlined how these hardships fall disproportionately on the most disadvantaged communities." It went on to add that the specific impacts of the pandemic on mental health could take years to be fully assessed.

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An information sign is displayed as a child arrives with her parent to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11-years-old at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill., Nov. 17, 2021.

Credit:

Nam Y. Huh/AP/File photo

In the US, parents, teachers and other caretakers have tried to find creative ways to address the needs of children.

More than 20 public school districts have extended their Thanksgiving holiday breaks to include "wellness days" for their students and staff, giving them a chance to reconnect and recharge.

Earlier this month, on Nov. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, for children in the US between the ages of 5 and 11. The move allowed for more flexibility for kids to safely resume school and social activities.

Some American schools even used the windfall of federal coronavirus relief money to expand their capacity to address students’ mental health struggles, including problems like absenteeism, behavioral issues, and quieter signs of distress.

As part of The World's regular series of conversations about the pandemic, reporter Elana Gordon is moderating a discussion with Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, to discuss these efforts and the challenges surrounding the mental health impacts of the pandemic on children.

Send in your questions for the discussion to MyWorld@theworld.org

The AP contributed to this report.