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‘Brazil Is Broke, I Can’t Do Anything’, Says President Jair Bolsonaro

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Sao Paulo: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that his country was “broke” and that he couldn’t “do anything” about it, laying the blame on what he called the “press-fueled” coronavirus pandemic.
“Brazil is broke, boss, I can’t do anything,” said the former army officer, responding to one of the supporters who greeted him outside his official residence in the capital Brasilia.
“I wanted to change the tax cuts chart, but there was this press fueled virus that we have out there, this characterless press,” Bolsonaro was quoted as saying by AFP.
The reform he was talking about was an election promise for an increase in the level of tax-exempt income. Bolsonaro attributes the country’s economic collapse to lockdown measures pushed by state governors to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the skyrocketing death toll in his country, Bolsonaro has seen his popularity rise thanks to emergency aid paid for nine months to 68 million Brazilians, nearly a third of the population.
But those payments ended this month under pressure from markets worried about the country’s high deficit and debt.
Marcelo Neri, director of the Center for Social Policies of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), warned that Brazil could be “on the brink of a social abyss”.
“No matter how strong the president’s words, I see them as a rhetorical argument to politically prepare for cuts in emergency spending and try to balance public spending,” said André Perfeito, of the investment group. Nekton.
“The situation is serious,” said Perfeito, who noted that “the central problem is not the lack of money, but the lack of a clear plan” in a country that still has no start date for vaccinations against COVID-19.

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