Even worse, the government allegedly made a pact with Prevent Senior, a major private health care chain, to produce data about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and other unproven drugs in the treatment of Covid-19. Twelve whistle-blowing doctors have accused the organization of testing drugs on patients without their knowledge and without having proper authorization from the ethics commission. (Prevent Senior has denied all wrongdoing.) This shady human experiment took place, the report claims, with the blessing of the president and members of the federal government.
On Tuesday, the report was approved in a Senate vote. “There is a murderer hidden at the presidential palace,” said Renan Calheiros, a senator and the report’s main author, at the end of session. It was a victory, but it could have been even more: The initial draft proposed that Mr. Bolsonaro be charged with mass homicide and genocide against Brazil’s Indigenous population, who have been particularly hard hit, but those charges were later removed. Even so, the vote — effectively accusing a sitting president of crimes against humanity — amounts to a remarkable condemnation of Mr. Bolsonaro.
The report also recommends indicting two companies and 77 other people, including Mr. Bolsonaro’s three eldest sons, two of his aides, the current health minister (and his predecessor), a handful of other ministers, a few congressmen, the former secretary of social communication, the president of the Brazilian Federal Council of Medicine, and the owners and the C.E.O. of Prevent Senior. A whole gallery of rogues could be called to answer for their sins.
But that’s unlikely to happen. While the document is certainly something to celebrate, it’s sadly not enough to make Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies answer for their actions. A criminal case would have to be brought by Brazil’s prosecutor-general, Augusto Aras, who was appointed by the president himself and is considered an ally. It’s hard to imagine that happening.
I tend to think that history will condemn Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies for their horrendous crimes against our people, for making us crave an average government. But that’s for the future. In the present, I have just one simple wish: that the International Criminal Court takes a good look at the report, with my compliments.