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Bolsonaro puts people's freedom of choice above vaccination mandates

Tuesday, October 19th 2021 - 09:15 UTC
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The president's statements came at a time when both he and part of his cabinet are under the scrutiny of a Senate commission The president's statements came at a time when both he and part of his cabinet are under the scrutiny of a Senate commission

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro once again Monday defended his decision not to take a COVID-19 vaccine and described the attitude of governors and mayors who demanded vaccination passports in their jurisdictions as “vicious.”

The head of state condemned the attitude of local authorities towards those unvaccinated and repudiated the requirement of vaccination passes for public places.

The president's statements came at a time when both he and part of his cabinet are under the scrutiny of a Senate commission known as CPI which, according to its rapporteur, Renán Calheiros, intends to indict Bolsonaro for 11 crimes, including genocide, for his denial action amid the pandemic, which in Brazil has led to more than 602,000 deaths.

From Sao Roque in the state of Minas Gerais, Bolsonaro announced he will define this week a new round of emergency cash aid for some 45 million people, in an emergency as a result of the food crisis generated by unemployment, inflation and the cessation of activities caused by the pandemic.

“The blame for the inflation was the quarantines, I did not close a small bar having powers to decree national confinement. I did not do it and I will not do it. I have the power to demand the vaccine passport but I will not do it because freedom is above all,” said Bolsonaro, who asked not to be called a “denier” since he allocated some US $ 5,000 million to the purchase of vaccines.

And he added: “Many of the vaccines are experimental. You cannot persecute the one who was not vaccinated. Freedom is all yours. Some states are with this fury of demanding the vaccination certificate.”

Bolsonaro insisted Covid-19 was “still a question mark,” citing the case of the death on Monday of former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was fully vaccinated.

Bolsonaro also defended the prescription and use of controversial drugs even when one of the accusations against him is to promote the use of a substance to try to achieve herd immunity without quarantines.

“The decision to get vaccinated is up to each one of you. There is a greater good called freedom. If we accept losing freedom in exchange for security, we will be losing both,” Bolsonaro insisted. Last week he placed his medical record under state secret for 100 years.

With recent estimates indicating that some 19 million people go hungry in Brazil and that 50% of the population has some degree of food insecurity, Bolsonaro also said that he was working to contain food inflation and assured that “there will be no shortages. ”as we are seeing in some first world countries.”

He added that if the opposition Workers Party (PT) of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had won the 2018 elections, instead of him, he would currently be “doing the Argentine thing,” citing price controls of a series of products.

”This happened in Brazil during the Cruzado Plan (government of José Sarney 1985-1990) and there was a shortage,“ he said.

Bolsonaro also vowed to decide this week on the planned increase in the price of diesel fuel as well as on the continuity of social aid that was being distributed during the pandemic.

”If God wants this week we will resolve the extension of emergency aid and the question of the price of diesel; solutions are not easy, but we must show the origin of the problem and how to solve it.”

In recent weeks, complaints from the trucking sector about the cost of fuel increased, which the state-owned Petrobras raised repeatedly in recent months, accumulating a 50 per cent price increase so far this year.

Three national entities of truck drivers have already reported that they will go on strike on November 1 if the federal government does not attend to their claims, which date go to the 2018 nationwide strike.

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