Mar 31, 2020 15:18 UTC
  • Tropical Trump snubbed by Facebook, Instagram, attacked by Brazilian opposition

In extraordinary moves, social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have removed videos posted by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, and the country’s opposition has demanded that he resign over his response to the outbreak.

According to Press TV, in a stinging statement published on Monday, a dozen prominent left-leaning politicians in Brazil called Bolsonaro, nicknamed the Tropical Trump for the resemblance of his character to the US president, “an irresponsible president.”

“Bolsonaro is more than just a political problem; he has become a public-health problem… He should resign,” read the statement, also calling the Brazilian president “the greatest obstacle” to measures needed to contain the pandemic in Latin America’s largest and most populous nation.

“Brazil and the world are facing an emergency unprecedented in modern history… [and] in our country, the emergency is exacerbated by an irresponsible president. Jair Bolsonaro is the greatest obstacle to urgent decisions being taken to reduce the spread of the infection [and] save lives,” the politicians said in the statement, which was first published in the local daily Folha de São Paulo.

They said Bolsonaro was in no position to govern Brazil because he “commits crimes … lies and fosters chaos, taking advantage of the despair of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The far-right president sparked fury in recent days by downplaying the extent of the pandemic and discounting efforts to contain its spread through quarantines and the shutdown of businesses.

Bolsonaro also ignored his own health minister’s call for physical distancing on Sunday and went out to the streets of the capital, Brasilia, mingling with his supporters. Footage showed him saying “We’ll all die one day” and encouraging people to keep the economy going.

Moreover, he has rejected criticism of his response to the virus outbreak, insisting that it is geared toward protecting workers and the economy.

Brazil has so far reported the most coronavirus cases in South America, with 4,256 infections and 136 deaths.