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Political Cost of Coronavirus? For Brazil's Bolsonaro, Not Much.

September 10, 2020

Ana Valeria Braga was just getting back on her feet after five months of unemployment when the coronavirus hit Brazil.

She landed a gig selling SIM cards on the street. But when the pandemic shuttered her central Brazilian city, Goiás, the single mother lost her new job, too. What saved her was a monthly government voucher of 600 reals–the equivalent of $110...

“Many of those receiving this help see Bolsonaro as the only thing standing between them and hunger,” says Brian Winter, vice president for policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. He says the voucher program has given Mr. Bolsonaro a boost among the country’s poorest citizens, a group that has historically supported Brazil’s leftist parties.

But downplaying the virus has “cost untold lives,” Mr. Winter adds. “And he may not pay a political price” for those actions...

“It has kept his base very loyal and engaged...That base has stood by him all along,” Mr. Winter says...

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