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'He Has Become a Public Health Problem': Rivals Tell Brazil's Bolsonaro to Quit Over Coronavirus 'Crimes'

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (Reuters)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (Reuters)

The Brazilian President faced sharp criticism after he lashed out preventive measures saying Brazil faced 'chaos, hunger and suffering' if local authorities continued 'destroying jobs.'

  • AFP
  • Last Updated: March 31, 2020, 9:09 AM IST
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Rio De Janeiro: Leading opponents of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have urged the far-right leader to resign in a joint letter that said he committed a crime with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.


Bolsonaro has compared COVID-19 to a "little flu" and run into a firestorm of criticism, including from some in his own camp, for speaking out against social distancing measures.

He has also broken them himself, flying in the face of guidelines from the World Health Organization and his own government.

"Enough is enough. Bolsonaro is more than just a political problem, he has become a public-health problem.... He should resign," said the statement on Monday, which was signed by a dozen leading left-wing figures.

"The emergency in our country is being made worse by an irresponsible president.... He is committing crimes, spreading false information, lying and inciting chaos."


Signatories included former presidential candidates Fernando Haddad and Ciro Gomes, who finished second and third, respectively, to Bolsonaro in the 2018 election, and the leaders of five opposition parties.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly lashed out at measures such as closing businesses and schools to contain the spread of the virus, saying it will unnecessarily put the brakes on Latin America's largest economy.

On Sunday, he even ran afoul of Twitter, which removed two of his tweets for violating its rules on content that contradicts public health information from official sources.

Bolsonaro had posted videos in which he ignored social distancing guidelines by hitting the streets of Brasilia to chat with supporters, urging them to keep the economy going.

But Bolsonaro only renewed his attacks on containment measures taken in places such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, telling journalists outside the presidential residence that Brazil faced "chaos, hunger and suffering" if local authorities continued "destroying jobs."


Brazil has reported the most coronavirus cases in Latin America so far: 4,256, with 136 deaths.


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