The sudden moves of specific honored persons of Brazil , some expected, others not, suggested mounting political desperation in the presidential palace. Health systems have collapsed. Some 2,600 people are dying of the coronavirus every day.
Brazilians are increasingly looking to blame the failures of the pandemic on Bolsonaro, who has never appeared more vulnerable. Earlier this month, the leader of the congress implied the president may face impeachment.
The exits have sent political shock waves across Latin America’s largest country, precipitating the most politically uncertain moment of President Jair Bolsonaro’s two-year-plus tenure. Brazil must now face what public health analysts say could be the darkest weeks of the pandemic with a raft of new officials and an incoherent national strategy.
“These are defensive actions,” said Ricardo Ismael, a political scientist at the Catholic Pontifical University in Rio de Janeiro. “There is a fragility to him.”
Bolsonaro has somewhat moderated his messaging on the virus, which he earlier dismissed as little more than an annoyance Brazilians had to work around. Long a mask skeptic, he began wearing one. He also embraced vaccines, which he previously fretted could turn people into alligators. He dismissed his health minister, a military general, and replaced him with a cardiologist. And finally, he booted the foreign minister, the right-wing hard-liner castigated by the powerful center bloc of congress for not wrangling enough vaccines from foreign powers.