As if it were a biblical curse, the torrential rains have once again caused a tragedy in the Brazilian summer. At least 48 people have died as of Sunday, when it rained in two days in the São Sebastião area, on the coast of the State of São Paulo, the equivalent of two months’ rainfall. The authorities are still looking for the disappeared while the commentators applaud the tune that the president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and the governor of São Paulo, Tarcisio de Freitas, Bolsonaro’s ally with the most power, display to care for the victims and rescue the victims. territorial.
In times as polarized as the present, the fact that the federal government, led by the leftist Workers’ Party, and that of São Paulo, the main Bolsonaro stronghold, have coordinated from the outset in the face of a catastrophe has become news. This was not the case during the term of Jair Bolsonaro, especially during the pandemic, when the then president made enemies of governors and mayors who were committed to confinement and prevented a coordinated strategy to deal with the pandemic, for which reason the Senate requested his prosecution for genocide. A year ago Bolsonaro rejected the Argentine offer of humanitarian aid for those affected by other torrential rains in the state of Bahia. In the background, it was an offer from a government aligned to the left for a state governed by the PT.
Both Governor Freitas and President Lula landed hours after the tragedy in São Sebastião, the epicenter of the destruction, located 200 kilometers from the capital São Paulo, to show solidarity with those affected. The president interrupted his Carnival break for a few hours at a naval base in Bahia.
Both politicians praised the presence of the other. Governor Freitas, a former soldier who was a minister and whom Bolsonaro launched as a candidate in the richest state in Brazil, declared: “We need to work in a cooperation regime” after pointing out that the presence of the president of the republic brought the paulistas ” protection and consolation”. Lula himself replied in a similar tone: “The presence of the governor and the mayor shows that it is possible for us to exercise our role in democracy even when we think differently. The common good of the people is much greater than our political differences”.
Despite the compliments of commentators and editorials, both the words of Lula and Freitas as well as the photos of both smiling, showing complicity, irritated the most extreme followers of one and the other.
Torrential rains, in addition to washing away homes and other buildings, seriously damaged some of the roads, complicating rescue efforts. The wealthiest took hold of the portfolio to organize their own evacuation in private helicopters from São Paulo. Families with children and pets paid thousands of reais to return home in aircraft that arrived at ground zero of the catastrophe with help donated by individuals and companies. The rest had to start the return trip through roads turned into mud where they come across military vehicles with soldiers deployed to repair them.
As happens every year around this time in one or another part of Brazil, extremely intense rains caused landslides that destroyed dozens of precarious homes. In a few hours, about 600 liters per square meter fell. Dozens of people were engulfed by the mud.
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