Arthur Virgilio Neto, the mayor of Manaus – a city of 2 million people nestled in the heart of the Amazon that has been stricken by Covid-19 – called on Bolosonaro to resign, “shut up and stay at home.” The President’s “dream” is to be a dictator, “but he’s too stupid,” Neto told CNN.
His broadside comes amid growing anger in Brazil, which has suffered more infections than every country in the world except the United States, and is yet to reach a peak of cases and fatalities.
Neto said that as the pandemic hit, he had messaged Bolsonaro to say, “Please Mr. President, shut up and stay at home.” But he said his message now would be: “Resign, resign, resign, because he doesn’t govern Brazil.”
The stark attack is not unprovoked. In a video of an April cabinet meeting released last week by the Brazilian supreme court as part of an ongoing unrelated probe, Bolsonaro called Neto a “piece of s**t” because of the mass graves the mayor was forced to dig to cope with the sweeping death toll in his remote city.
Manaus has suffered 1,182 deaths, and 39,155 confirmed cases. On Saturday alone, there were 51 burials.
That dire scene is playing out in various cities across Brazil. Hospitals around the country have been battling to deal with demand, and on Sunday the White House suspended entry to the US for any individual who has been in Brazil within the 14 days immediately prior to their arrival.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly tried to downplay the lethality of the virus, although his rhetoric has shifted more towards the need to protect the economy as Brazil has risen to become the nation with the second highest number of cases after the US.