Since the pandemic started, one in 10 people living in Brazil has contracted COVID-19, and more than 600,000 deaths have been reported. Despite these staggering numbers, Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has consistently downplayed the threat of the pandemic. The Brazilian Senate has had enough.
On October 26, seven out of the 11 members in a Senate committee voted in favor of recommending nine charges against the Brazilian president. Over the last six months, a Brazilian Senate Parliamentary Inquiry Committee composed of 11 Senators investigated the federal government’s management of the pandemic. On October 20, Senator Renan Calheiros published a nearly 1,200-page report asking the Senate to investigate Bolsonaro on several charges. One of the recommendations in the report was to prosecute Bolsonaro for “crimes against humanity.” That proposal is controversial, but using this term in the report is an attempt to expand the definition of crimes against humanity to keep Bolsonaro responsible for his mishandling of the pandemic.
Bolsonaro’s critics have an uphill battle in their quest to charge him for crimes during the pandemic. Although the October 26 vote was an important achievement, the next round will be more complicated. Brazil’s prosecutor-general, appointed by the president, will decide if he will file the charges. But, even if Bolsonaro’s critics lose this legal dispute, they might win terrain in the political fight over support and votes.
I can think of a few other crimes I’d like to see Trump charged for.