Brazil is facing one of the deadliest and most mismanaged COVID-19 crises in the world. President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to dismiss the virus and believe conspiracy theories that Brazilians are naturally immune. He has even joined protests against social distancing measures. The result? Mass graves for victims of the pandemic.
In light of this disastrous political leadership, social movements have had to fill the gap. Our partner, the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) has turned their training centers into field hospitals for COVID-19 patients. But they are also organizing politically. They are demanding Bolsonaro be removed from power, and demanding emergency measures to protect lives, land and communities. Today, the MST has released their “Emergency Measures for Agrarian Reform,” and Grassroots International is proud to help publicize the document.
Below, read more from the MST about the context of their document.
MST: Irresponsible and genocidal action caused this humanitarian tragedy
Today, we are the country with the highest daily deaths due to COVID-19 in the world. The official numbers register 1,300 deaths in the last 24 hours, a number higher than the USA.
As there is a great under-reporting, since Brazil is one of the least testing countries in the world, the estimates are that the real number should be more than ten times higher than the official numbers.
This means that we must have more than 5 million infected and 330,000 killed by COVID-19 in the country.
This humanitarian tragedy is not a result of fate. Instead, it is the result of the irresponsible and genocidal action of the Bolsonaro government. It minimizes the pandemic, advocates for the reopening of the economy, vetoes financial support to states to face the pandemic, promotes and incites political violence among its supporters.
The country that is today the epicenter of the pandemic does not even have a Minister of Health! After the resignations of two Ministers for disagreeing with Bolsonaro’s positions in dealing with the pandemic, the country has been without command in the Ministry for almost a month.
We have already reached 5 million unemployed since March and it is estimated that this number will reach 20 million in the coming months — 20% of the country’s workforce. And there is no public policy to contain the social crisis.
The MST’s Priorities
In the midst of this situation, we in the MST continue to fight. Our priorities are:
- OUT Bolsonaro campaign;
- Fight for life;
- Healthy food production and solidarity with the people.
As part of our actions, we are launching on June 5, International Environment Day, the EMERGENCY PLAN FOR PEOPLE’S AGRARIAN REFORM, in defense of the life of the Brazilian people. The plan proposes measures to promote job creation, produce food for all people, move trade, guarantee income and decent living conditions.
We are organizing national launch activities for the plan in all Brazilian states between June 5 and 16.