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Copying the U.S. Is Leading Brazil to Disaster On Covid-19

(Image: Bolsonaro’s Facebook)

(Image: Bolsonaro’s Facebook)

May 28, 2020

It was a bewildering sight, even to many Brazilians: President Jair Bolsonaro attending a recent street demonstration as three flags flew overhead: those of Brazil, Israel and the United States.

But the symbolism was no accident. A love for all things American, and a desire to imitate U.S. politics and culture, goes much deeper among Brazilian conservatives than talk of Bolsonaro being a “Tropical Trump.” Sadly, it is now leading their country to absolute disaster as Brazil has passed the United States to become the global epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic, with more than 1,000 deaths a day and the curve still headed upward.

As an American analyst who has studied Brazil for nearly two decades, it has been strange to watch my country’s flag become a powerful anti-establishment symbol there. But conservatives have flown it in recent years to show their rejection of the leftist Workers’ Party, which governed from 2003-2016. In their minds, the left led Brazil down the path of socialist Venezuela, causing numerous corruption scandals, a surge in street crime and the worst recession in at least a century. The United States stands for the opposite, they believe: private enterprise, increased safety through greater gun ownership, clean government and a revival of “family values.”...

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