Brazil’s Bolsonaro: pandemic inquiry accusations ‘fantasies’
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday the charges that a Senate report has recommended he should face are “fantasies” and should be ignored.
The report presented on Wednesday alleged Bolsonaro committed crimes against humanity, among other proposed charges, for bungling Brazil’s response to COVID-19 and contributing to the country having the world’s second-highest pandemic death toll.
“I am not going to discuss these people’s fantasies. I am not going to discuss this load of stupidity,” Brazil’s president said during a live broadcast on social media and a radio station. It marked his first address since the report from a Senate committee’s inquiry was released.
The committee’s investigation lasted six months. Its rapporteur, Sen. Renan Calheiros, called for Bolsonaro’s indictment on charges ranging from charlatanism and inciting crime to misuse of public funds and crimes against humanity.
The decision on whether to file most of the charges will be up to Brazil’s prosecutor general, a Bolsonaro appointee who is widely viewed as protecting the president.
Bolsonaro continued to promote unproven COVID-19 treatments during Thursday’s broadcast. He also said he was the only head of state to be truthful about the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
“We did not stick with the politically correct. I chose the right side and the side of the truth is always the toughest one,” the Brazilian president said. “Stay-at-home policies were among the most perverse in (the history of) humanity.”