Brazil: A Biological Nuclear Power Plant That is Out of Control

By Alejandra Garcia on June 8, 2021, in Havana

Rio de Janeiro, photo: Bill Hackwell

Next week, Brazil will become the host of the Copa America 2021, a soccer event that will draw thousands of fans from Latin America and around the world to the country that is currently reporting the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 worldwide. “I’m sorry for the victims, but life goes on,” far-right-wing Jair Bolsonaro said after announcing the “great news” last week.

In late April, Colombia and Argentina pulled out of the world’s oldest team tournament for different reasons. President Ivan Duque of Colombia, who has been notorious for his mishandling of the pandemic, did not mind lending his territory for the event, even if it meant a considerable jump in contagions. However, the social protests that have been going on in his country for over one month caused panic among soccer players and organizers.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez rejected Colombia as a host. President Fernández also turned down the offer to host the event, because of the epidemiological risk involved in holding the tournament in Argentina, which has been implementing strict measures to contain the outbreak for over a year.

“Brazil has no fear,” Bolsonaro gushed in the same week his country surpassed 474,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 17 million infections. The Copa America will be held there, at a time when the nation might face the third wave of contagions, which could be even more deadly than the two previous ones, according to experts.

Bolsonaro´s erratic decisions are leading the Latin American giant to epidemiological collapse. Health workers fear a repetition of the story of Manaus, the Amazonas state city where dozens of people died in early 2021 due to lack of medical oxygen.

“When people ask me to make a metaphor about Brazil, I say it’s like Chernobyl or Fukushima: a biological nuclear reactor that is out of control,” Brazilian neuroscientist and U.S. Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis explained recently to the BBC.

Nicolelis emphasized that Bolsonaro’s chaotic management delayed the purchase of vaccines and discouraged isolation. “Thousands of people have died unnecessarily. He is to blame for the crisis the country is facing. Brazil will not recover from the pandemic under his leadership.”

Government ignorance, reliance on fake news, and scientific denialism have turned Brazil into a hotbed of deadly COVID-19 strains that are wreaking havoc nationwide and around the world.

“If Brazil does not control the epidemic and if the cases continue to come thousands at a time, we will be a reservoir of new mutations that can emerge and spread throughout the American continent and then to the entire world in a matter of weeks,” Nicolelis warned.

Amid this nearly apocalyptic scenario, Brazil will host about twenty soccer games in the stadiums of Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, two of the most affected territories by the pandemic in the country. Even more paradoxical has been that health authorities have limited themselves to recommending vaccination for the sports delegations that will take part in the event, but have ruled out making it compulsory.

Social anger increased after the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) announced that it will donate 5,000 doses of immunizers for the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to vaccinate its athletes. Meanwhile, in many Brazilian states, there are no jabs even for priority groups, such as pregnant women and the elderly.

“Brazil accepted the challenge of hosting a continental event immediately, one phone call was enough. However, to get vaccines to immunize the people has taken months and hundreds of emails,” the scientist recalled.

Brazilian citizens see the Supreme Court (TS) as the only hope to contain the looming catastrophe. It could prohibit the country from hosting the Copa America as most parliamentarians are urging. However, it is known that Bolsonaro will resist any measure that “affects his nation’s economy.”

“This new attempt by Bolsonaro to hide the pandemic, and show that the situation has normalized, will bring irreparable damage to the people. The biological nuclear accident is ongoing, and the government is doing nothing to stop it,” the expert concluded.