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Tue Jun 8, 2021, 10:23 PM

Brazil: Bolsonaro's Conservative Government Brings Hunger Back

Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 10:58 am
Article: Lateinamerika Nachrichten
Originally posted at https://scoop.me/brazil-bolsonaros-hunger/

By Lateinamerika Nachrichten / Claudia Fix, Julia Ganter

At the end of April, the official number of covid deaths in Brazil surpassed 400,000. Measured by the number of inhabitants, no country in the Americas has seen more people die from infection with the coronavirus. But it is not only this number that is shocking. Meanwhile, the social impact of the Bolsonaro government’s failed pandemic policy is also becoming increasingly clear. By Claudia Fix & Julia Ganter for Lateinamerika Nachrichten

“Hunger is back,” recent studies note. The crisis threatens to undo the successful fight against hunger and absolute poverty between 2003 and 2013. And yet Brazil is the world’s third-largest food exporter.

Brazil had experienced a success story: In 2014, the proportion of Brazilians suffering from hunger fell to less than five percent and the country disappeared from the United Nations’ world hunger map for the first time. For the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, this was already reason enough in an interview with El País in 2019 to declare the statement that people in Brazil still suffer from hunger to be a “lie” and “populist talk.“

But whether the president wants to admit it or not, the country is far from having solved the problem of hunger. Brazil was already rapidly moving back onto the world hunger map in 2019. According to the Nationwide Household Sample Survey (PNAD, comparable to the German microcensus), the percentage of households with food insecurity increased by 63 percent between 2013 and 2018. In absolute terms, this means that by the beginning of 2018, some 85 million Brazilians were already worried about their future access to food, it was already limited, or they were going hungry – a shocking record since data collection began in 2004.

. . .

The “fight against hunger” was one of the most important campaign promises of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidential campaign. In his inaugural speech in 2003, he proclaimed, “If, at the end of my term, all Brazilians can eat a meal three times a day, then I will have fulfilled the mission of my presidency.” In just his first 30 days, his government launched the “Zero Hunger” program, and between 2004 and 2013, the number of hungry people halved to 7.2 million.


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