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Copa America in Brazil: Bolsonaro misjudged himself

by archysport

VMaybe Jair Bolsonaro remembered the pictures from July 2019. At that time – even before the pandemic – the Brazilian president was celebrated with the national team. The crowd in the sold-out Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro cheered at the Copa América, the South American championship, about the Seleção’s first title in years. The team and the president presented themselves with a trophy for a jubilee photo. The message behind it: With him, better times come back.

Almost two years later, Brazil is deep in the corona pandemic. Hunger and poverty due to the accompanying economic crisis are palpable and visible everywhere. Nevertheless, Bolsonaro insists on the course of unconditional opening of the economy and trade, no matter how bad the corona conditions are. Officially, there have been 460,000 corona deaths so far. Unlike Europe, Brazil may be at the beginning of a new wave. The country is also classified as a virus variant area. On the day on which the South American association Conmebol announced the decision to transfer the Copa America, handed in by Argentina because of the epidemiological emergency and by Colombia for police violence and road blockades, to Brazil, the daily Folha from São Paulo counted 61,000 new infections.

Bolsonaro expected the football-mad Brazilians to thank him for the second Copa America in his own country in two years. And the opposition had just sent hundreds of thousands of people to mass protests on the streets, even if, unlike the participants in pro Bolsonaro demos, they mostly wore masks. On top of that, Conmebol promises a safe tournament, largely without spectators and, thanks to a donation from a Chinese vaccine manufacturer, also with vaccinated delegations. But the majority of Brazilians find such a tournament unsuitable.

“Irresponsible on the part of the government”

In an interview with the FAZ, political scientist Roberto Gulart summed up the mood in Brazil: “At this moment it is irresponsible on the part of the government and regional governors to accept the hosting of Copa America games.” Social scientist Vitor Del Rey from the Guetto Institute sees it similarly , who suspects political motives: Seeing the people on the street, his opponents as well as his own supporters, gave Bolsonaro an option to bring the Copa America to Brazil. “That was a wonderful argument for him.”

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