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  • Woman holds the Brazilian flag near the coffin of a relative, Brazil, May 2020.

    Woman holds the Brazilian flag near the coffin of a relative, Brazil, May 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Latinonews_net

Published 20 May 2020
Opinion

This South American country has 10,492 miles of borders with the French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Ten Latin American countries sharing borders with Brazil are concerned about the passive attitude of President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former captain who denied the importance of the pandemic in a 210-million-inhabitants country that already registers 275,087 COVID-19 cases and 18,121 dead, which makes it the epicenter of the disease in the region.

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"It is an uncomfortable neighbor mainly because of Bolsonaro's attitude. In Paraguay, we closed the borders soon, and it was a wise move," politician Carlos Mateo Balmelli said.

In Argentina, a country that the Brazilian president accused of "walking towards socialism", President Alberto Fernandez also expressed his concern about the bad example that the neighboring country was setting in the fight against coronavirus.

In Uruguay, other voices complained about the consequences of Brazilian mismanagement, which denies scientific data while promoting the breakdown of physical distance.

While 210 million people are reason enough for the growing regional epidemiological concern, "there is also the irresponsibility Bolsonaro has shown by fostering measures without scientific rigor and downplaying COVID-19", Uruguay's former Labor Minister Jose Bayardi commented, adding that his behavior only aggravates the situation for everyone.

Once Brazil has already become the third country with the most COVID-19 cases worldwide, Bolsonaro is losing support even outside of Latin America.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that his administration is studying the possibility of banning Brazilians from entering the U.S. through Florida's Orlando and Fort Lauderdale airports.

"We are considering it... I don't want people coming over here and infecting our people. I don't want people over there sick either,” he said.

The largest country in South America has 10,492 miles of borders with the French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay.

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