Author: Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

As Brazil Confronts Coronavirus, Bolsonaro and His Supporters Peddle Fake News

On March 11th, when the global community already had been struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus for many weeks, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro declared that the outbreak was something “of a fantasy.” It was a “moment of crisis,” he acknowledged, but “a small crisis” that had been exaggerated by “mainstream” media. “Some press outlets had managed to make oil prices fall,” he added. “[It’s] a stock-market problem. It happens occasionally.” These comments echoed the views of Bolsonaro’s most enthusiastic right-wing supporters, who have spent recent days disseminating articles and social-media posts downplaying the virus as mere hysteria—perhaps even part of an organized campaign created by the media, NGOs, and communists. A blogger with ties to Brazil’s far-right government, Bernardo Küster, wrote that the situation was “in the first place, a great psychological experiment of manipulation on a global scale… Why not start tests to manipulate the international market by fear and [appealing to] our survival instincts?” Küster added that the template for this sort of campaign had already been witnessed on “a global scale …

How a Fake Scandal Took Down a Brazilian Fashion Editor

If you’re looking for evidence of racial inequality in Brazil, it isn’t hard to find. Racism is a serious problem in my country, as indicated by statistics showing that Black Brazilians are disproportionately likely to be poor, die young, and suffer from criminal violence. But rather than focusing on such real problems, many Brazilian elites now take their cue from the current Western obsession with aesthetic representation, and instead focus their attention on fake racism scandals that play out on social media. The latest example played out in February, at the 50th birthday party of Donata Meirelles, the (now former) editor of the Brazilian edition of Vogue. The party was held in Salvador, the capital of Bahia state, and a city renowned as a centre of Brazilian black culture, being 28% black in a country where blacks (sometimes known as Afro-Brazilians) make up only about 8% of the total population. Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, is stronger and more visible in Salvador than in the rest of the country, having been melded into the local Catholic …