Incoming Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently vowed to make those who opposed the COVID-19 vaccine apologize after he enters office on December 12th.
"We can't, in a hasty way, think that we are going to announce the vaccine, and the people will get it. No. People have to be convinced again of the effectiveness of the vaccine, and we are going to have to get a lot of people who opposed the vaccine, who are going to have to apologize,” said Lula, according to CNN Brasil.
Lula, who practices Brazil’s official religion of Catholicism, also promised to go after Evangelical churches and confront them over their stance on the injections.
“I, at least, intend to go to several Evangelical churches and discuss with their leaders the following: 'What is your behavior regarding the vaccine issue? Or we will hold you responsible for people's deaths,” Lula said.
This will be Lula’s second run as president after his first term landed him 580 days in prison for corruption. The Left-wing politician sparked explosive nationwide protests in October following his razor-thin victory over Right-wing incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. Many Brazilians are contesting the legitimacy of the election, citing independent analyses by electoral authorities.
Protests erupted across the country following the results, with hundreds of thousands of Brazilian citizens blocking roads and even surrounding army barracks as they demand military intervention in election fraud. Law enforcement personnel reportedly joined in the protests. On Proclamation of the Republic Day on November 15th, three million Brazilians took to the streets in the capital of Brasilía alone.
The government has so far been unable to quash the protests despite fines, imprisonment, and an order from a top minister last month allowing the state to seize the children of election protesters.
On Sunday, Brazil’s indigenous tribes joined the fray and protested in front of the Planalto Palace in Brasilía. Images circulating on social networks show demonstrators from the Xavante, Enawene Nawe (Mato Grosso) and Kaiapó (Pará) tribes uttering insults against the president-elect. "Bandit!" one of them shouted.
"Lula will not govern the country," declared Cacique Sererê of the Xavante tribe. "Lula will not take office. Armed Forces save Brazil. They want to steal Brazil and sell the Amazon. Lula represents everything that is the worst for Brazil. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court got this bandit out of jail to steal our votes. The Brazilian Army defends the people."
Unlike Lula, President Jair Bolsonaro has been an unapologetic vaccine skeptic, citing scientific grounds.
“I decided not to take the vaccine anymore,” he said in October 2021, according to CNN. “I’m seeing new studies, my immunity levels are through the roof. I am going to get the vaccine for what? It would be the same thing as playing $10 in the lottery to win $2. That’s out of place."
Importantly, Bolsonaro also refused to force the shots on citizens.
“For me, (it is) freedom above all,” he maintained. “If a citizen does not want to get the vaccine, it is his right and that’s it.”