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Your Wednesday Briefing

  • October 28, 2020

The coronavirus was gathering lethal speed when President Trump met his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, on March 7 for dinner at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

After returning to Brazil, 22 members of Mr. Bolsonaro’s delegation tested positive for the virus, yet he was not alarmed. Mr. Trump had shared a cure, Mr. Bolsonaro told advisers: a box of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the unproven treatment that Mr. Trump was promoting as a remedy for Covid-19.

The dinner cemented a partnership rooted in a shared disregard for the virus.

Details: Both leaders pushed to defund the region’s leading health agency — the Pan American Health Organization — and drove 10,000 Cuban doctors and nurses out of impoverished areas of Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and El Salvador. They also blocked assistance and pushed false cures, making a bad situation worse by dismantling defenses.

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