Bolsonaro Accuses Brazilians of Being “Maricas” About COVID

What, Us Worry?: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with America's Bolsonaro, former reality TV star and lame duck President Donald Trump.
Reuters/ Tom Brenner

There he goes again! Jair Bolsonaro has returned to the homophobia well.

As Brazil’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 162,000 — the second worse mortality count in the world after the US, which has now surpassed 240,000 — Bolsonaro, its president, scolded his country, saying essentially it’s time to just get over it.

According to Reuters reporting, quoted in the Washington Post, Bolsonaro, a hard-right conservative and key ally of President Donald Trump who has so far declined to congratulate or recognize President-Elect Joe Biden on his November 3 victory, said, “All of us are going to die one day. Everyone is going to die. There is no point in escaping from that, in escaping from reality.”

South American strong man essentially says taking health precautions means you’re a faggot

The sentence that followed in Bolsonaro’s dismissal of concern about COVID’s deadly reign in Brazil was quoted by both the Post and Reuters as, “We have to stop being a country of sissies.”

The Post, however, hastened to add that the Portuguese word the Brazilian president used was “maricas,’ which the newspaper explained was a slur used against gay people.

In Spanish, the comparable word is maricón, also an anti-gay slur. Though that word is translated variously into English — including to mean sissy — the more common English language understanding of what is meant by the word is “faggot.”

That understanding is in line with the Brazilian strong man’s long history of homophobic outbursts. Before becoming president last year, he had described himself as “homophobic and very proud of it.”

Shortly after taking office in early 2019, he posted a video mocking gay men showing some of them partying during Carnival and warning that Brazil should not become “known as a gay tourism paradise.”

In December of last year, he responded to a reporter asking a question about an inquiry into alleged financial improprieties by his son, Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, by saying, “Your face looks an awful lot like a homosexual’s, but that’s no reason to accuse you of being a homosexual.”

Bolsonaro’s reputation as a bigot drew fire from out gay Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman in the spring of 2019 when the Brazilian president was due to be honored at Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. The ensuing controversy forced cancelation of the event.

In April, Bolsonaro borrowed a page from Donald Trump’s “What, Me Care?” playbook in response to the COVID crisis.

“So what?,” he replied to a reporter who asked him about it, according to CNN. “I’m sorry, but what do you want me to do?”

He added, “I’m sorry for the situation we are currently living with due to the virus. We express our solidarity to those who have lost loved ones, many of whom were elderly. But that’s life, it could be me tomorrow.”

In fact, like Trump, Bolsonaro — in July — contracted COVID, but apparently suffered only mild symptoms.

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