Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president, claimed on Tuesday that his country is broke and his hands are tied. He blamed the situation on the “press-fueled” coronavirus, which has infected more than 6.8 million, and led to the death of more than 198,000 people in Brazil alone.
Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity is on the rise even as the death toll increases in Brazil
Even with the country’s high death toll, Mr. Bolsonaro enjoyed a popularity rise thanks to the emergency aid paid out for nine months to 68 million Brazilians. But those payments recently ended under pressure from market forces worried about the country’s high deficit and debt.
“Brazil is broke, boss, I cannot do anything,” the president said, responding to one of the supporters who greeted him in front of his official residence in the capital Brasília.
“I wanted to modify the tax reduction table, but there was that press-fueled virus that we have there, that press without any character,” Mr. Bolsonaro said.
The reform he was referring to was a campaign promise for a rise in the level of tax-exempt income.
Experts claim Brazil’s situation is dire
Marcelo Neri, director of the Centre for Social Policies of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), warned Brazil may be “on the edge of a social abyss.”
Andre perfeito, from the investment group Necton, said in a statement that the current debt ratio is serious and should not be taken lightly by the president. He also expressed concern over the country’s lack of a plan towards the vaccination of its citizens.
“The situation is serious. No matter how strong the president’s words are, I see them as a rhetorical argument to politically prepare for cuts in emergency spending and trying to balance public spending,” Andre perfeito added.
Meanwhile, the number of new infections and deaths continued to climb, with Brazil logging 1,171 deaths and almost 60,000 new cases in the past 24 hours.