Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro fired his Secretary of Culture after he published a video that paraphrased a well-known Nazi speech at Adolf Hitler’s favorite opera. Former Secretary of Culture Roberto Alvim’s posted the video to his Twitter account Thursday evening and the overnight public outcry resulted in his firing the following day. Even the setting of the video bore so much resemblance to Nazi Germany propaganda minister Joseph Goebbel’s own desk, both with framed photographs of their elected leaders in the background. Alvim played music from the Wagner opera, Hitler’s favorite opera, in the background of his paraphrased speech from the Nazi leader’s propaganda leader.
At first, Alvim tried to chock up the viral outcry as leftist sensitivities. Eventually, he admitted that he asked his aides to Google speeches on “nationalism and art,” which inevitably led to the infamous speech by Goebbel.
Both Joseph Goebbel and Roberto Alvim said that their country’s art will be “heroic” and “national” or “it will be nothing.”
Goebbel delivered his speech in 1933, the same year Nazis seized control of Germany, as an impassioned invitation for artists to join the nationalist movement. Goebbel was intensely anti-Semitic and eventually rose in ranks to become Hitler’s second-hand man. Hitler’s will left Goebbels as the new Chancellor of Germany, for which Goebbels accepted for just one day. The next day, Goebbels and his wife poisoned their six children with cyanide and committed suicide. Twelve years earlier, at the start of the Nazi regime, Goebbels became known for his speech that would but unwittingly plagiarized nearly a century later by Alvim.
“German art of the next decade will be heroic, will be wildly romantic, will be objective and free of sentimentality, will be national with great pathos and equally imperative and binding, or else it will be nothing,” Goebbels became known to say.
“Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and it will be national… and imperative because it will be rooted in the urgent aspirations of our people, or it will be nothing,” Alvim similarly said in an address meant to announce a $4.8 million investment in Brazil’s national arts program.
Several top officials suspected that Alvim “may not be of sound mind,” but others disagree.
The speaker of the House called for Alvim’s removal from office while the Supreme Court’s highest office said that his speech must be “repudiated with vehemence.” Meanwhile, Olavo de Carvalho, a radical right YouTuber (think the Stephen Miller to Donald Trump), suspected that “it may be too early to judge, but Roberto Alvim may not be of sound mind. We’ll see,” in a Facebook post. Carvalho has since landed on a conspiracy theory that Alvim had a secretly liberal employee that sabotaged his reputation by paraphrasing Goebbel and overlaying his speech with Hitler’s favorite opera.
“Roberto Alvim couldn’t be more lucid. Had it not been for the controversy, the pressure of networks, society and the wear and tear on the political environment, it is quite likely that Bolsonaro would have kept him in office since it’s a fascist government,” tweeted another Brazilian.
Bolsonaro’s administration has decided to distance itself from Alvim regardless.
The day after the speech, Germany’s embassy declared, “The period of National Socialism is the darkest chapter in German history, bringing infinite suffering to humanity….We oppose any attempt to trivialize or even glorify the era of National Socialism.” Israel’s embassy issued a statement that put it bluntly: “Such a person cannot command the culture of our country and must be removed from office immediately.” Only after Israel called for Alvim’s ouster did Bolsonaro make what he called an “unfortunate pronouncement” that Alvim would be removed from office. The video is shockingly similar to Goebbel’s, stylistically, but the core nationalistic sentiments are one and the same. Alvim accepted his position as Secretary of Culture only after one of the previous title holders resigned when Bosonaro cut funding to LGBTQ+ artists.
Meanwhile, some Americans are taking the news with a soberingly dark sense of humor: “Former Brazilian culture minister Alvim should apply for immigration status here from @realDonaldTrump, @GOP, and bosom buddy @LindseyGrahamSC. I’m sure that they will welcome another like-minded Nazi sympathizer into the USA,” one American tweeted. Others are saying that an elected official who has to paraphrase other speeches shouldn’t be in office anyway.
Few artists have reached the level of fame as Frida Kahlo. The Mexican painter is more than an artist. Kahlo is a point of cultural pride that transcends nationality within the Latino community and unites Latino art lovers in their le of Latin American art. Now, Google, in the time of self-isolation, is giving everyone a chance to learn about the iconic painter.
Google wants to give everyone a chance to learn about Frida Kahlo with its online “Faces of Frida” exhibit.
Anyone who visits the “Face of Frida” exhibit can browse through the artist’s incredible paintings. Kahlo is one of the most influential artists the world has ever known. Her fame and people’s admiration continue to this day with tributes still appearing around the world for the Mexican artist.
Viewers can decide which museum’s Frida Kahlo collection they want to explore.
The exhibit is made possible by 32 museums from around the world collaborating to show Frida Kahlo’s impressive and iconic works of art. Museums across four continents shared Kahlo piece from their exhibits with Google to create an exhibit showing more than 800 paintings. Some of the museums include Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico, Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the United States, Nagoya City Art Museum in Japan, Fundación MAPFRE in Spain, and Buenos Aires Graffiti in Argentina.
The interactive exhibit is perfect for all Frida Kahlo and art lovers alike. While 3.4 billion people in the world are on lockdown orders, the incredible virtual exhibit of Kahlo’s work gives people a chance to see works of art they haven’t been able to visit yet.
The exhibit is easy to navigate and some of Kahlo’s works have been collected into their own themed galleries.
Kahlo is most famous for using her own life as the inspiration for her works of art. The artist often played with the themes of pain and death due to her own near-death experiences. Her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera influenced Kahlo’s work depending on where they were in their relationship. The couple was notorious for taking extra-marital lovers throughout their marriage.
“Faces of Frida” also offers art fans a chance to learn about Kahlo through editorial features.
Kahlo was one of the most revolutionary women in the world. She moved through space unimpeded by society’s views on her gender and place in society. She was politically engaged and held onto a list of values that many still argue over today. Namely, there have been discussions and think pieces about the sudden commercialized usage of Kahlo’s image and what she might have to say about it. As someone who was opposed to capitalism, it seems safe to say she might not have appreciated herself being used for capitalistic gains.
The world has been fixated on the coronavirus as it has spread from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China to every continent, except Antarctica. More than 40,600 people have died of the disease that has infected more than 820,000 people across six continents. So far, more than 174,000 have recovered from the illness. Now, the disease is in Latin America and we are going to keep you updated on its spread.
Update March 31, 10:46 a.m. PST: Indigenous tribes in South America are blockading their villages to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Indigenous communities around the world are preparing to ride out the COVID-19 health pandemic the best way they can. Some indigenous leaders are asking for help to protect their communities from COVID-19. Many indigenous tribes are voluntarily isolated from the rest of the world leaving them particularly vulnerable to diseases. This is because their isolation has left them with no immunity or protection from most diseases.
“We call on governments to intensify surveillance and protection of indigenous territories, many of which are invaded by miners, drug traffickers, loggers, land-grabbers and tourists,” Claudette Labonte, a member of the Kamuyeneh community in French Guiana and a member of the Congress of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told AFP.
Labonte continued to argue that government help is needed because of the illegal miners and others who are using the pandemic as a way to encroach on the protected indigenous lands. These moments could lead to the indigenous people being infected by sick loggers and miners.
Update March 24, 11:06 a.m. PST: Global economists and health experts warn that Mexico is not prepared for the outbreak.
Most of the world’s governments are grappling with how to better handle the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Mexico seems to be dragging their feet when it comes to responding to the health pandemic that has shut down one-third of the United States. In stark contrast to most major international cities, Mexico City remains open and bustling as the Mexican president calls for calm from citizens.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has led his country into a “business as usual” mentality. According to reports, President López Obrador doesn’t want to impose major lockdowns and restrictions until absolutely necessary. This kind of attitude, economist and health experts warn, would lead to an outbreak worse than what the world saw in Italy.
The country’s stock market has already started to strain under the pressure of COVID-19. Economists warn that the outlook for Mexico’s stock market is grim but the president, through action, could ease the full impact.
Update March 17 – 11:22 a.m. PST: The number of cases in Latin America continues to climb as El Salvador implemented nationwide quarantine.
“I know this will be criticized, but let’s put ourselves in Italy’s shoes. Italy wishes they could’ve done this before,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said in a national address. “Our health system is not at Italy’s level. It’s not at South Korea’s level.”
President Bukele’s national quarantine means that schools are closed for three weeks, gatherings of more than 500 people are banned, foreign travelers from high-risk countries are barred from entering the country, and all Salvadorans returning from trips abroad will be quarantined for 30 days.
Puerto Rico has implemented an island-wide curfew to combat the spread of the virus.
Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez reprimanded Puerto Ricans for not obeying guidance to self-isolate and practice social distancing. In response, Gov. Vázquez instituted a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and shut most businesses on the island until March 30. The only people exempt are supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, medical equipment stores, gas stations, restaurants offering take out and delivery, and their suppliers. Violators face a $5,000 fine or six months in jail for breaking the executive order.
Update March 13 – 1:24 p.m.: The novel coronavirus has been reported in Venezuela.
To cases have been confirmed in Venezuela. The South American country is in a yearslong battle over their government that has left them with no medicine, little food, and a devastated economy. Doctors in Venezuela fear that the coronavirus could pose a major threat to hospitals that might be overwhelmed with patients that cannot be treated.
The virus has also entered Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recently contradicted earlier reports that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Update: President Trump has backpedaled on his plan to close the southern border in response to the coronavirus concern.
President Trump originally announced that he was considering closing the southern border with Mexico because of concerns about the coronavirus. At the time, Mexico had 5 confirmed cases of the virus while the U.S. had more than 80. On March 3, Trump changed his messaging and said they aren’t invested in the decision due to a lack of evidence.
Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic have all reported cases of COVID-19.
Ecuador is currently grappling with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. Seven people have tested positive after a woman in her 70s tested positive for coronavirus in February after visiting Madrid. The woman is in critical condition. In Mexico, where there are 5 confirmed cases, first detected the virus in two men who had recently traveled to northern Italy. The Dominican Republic has reported one case who is an Italian national visiting the island. Brazil diagnosed a second case, who is a 32-year-old patient in São Paulo. A 32-year-old man was diagnosed as the first coronavirus patient in Argentina after a trip to northern Italy. Chile reported a patient who had recently spent time in Singapore.
The first case of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has been reported in Brazil.
The first case in Latin America was confirmed in Brazil. The patient, a 61-year-old man who was in northern Italy for business, tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to São Paulo. The man checked himself into a hospital when he began to show signs of a fever, sore throat, and a cough.
Brazil’s Carnival celebrations have begun and the possibility of an outbreak is weighing heavily on some Brazilians.
According to The New York Times, Brazil Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is optimistic that they will be able to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, former Health Minister José Gomes Temporão notes that the Brazilian government has been hit with spending cuts in recent years.
“We are cutting resources to public health, and we will need additional resources now,” Temporão told The New York Times.
Brazil has reportedly been working in preparing for the coronavirus for weeks leading up to Carnival.
Despite the work, many fear that Brazil’s under budget and overstressed public health system might not be able to handle an outbreak. However, health officials told The New York Times that it appears that the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo acted quickly using best practices to admit and quarantine the sick man.
The coronavirus has shown up in 38 countries on six continents around the world, including the U.S.
There are currently more than 50 cases of the coronavirus that have been reported in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans of the possibility of a more aggressive plan to limit the spread of the virus. The virus is spreading quickly across the world since it was first detected and reported in Wuhan, China at the end of December 2019.
President Donald Trump has come under fire from health officials for not understanding the true magnitude of the virus.
The CDC issued a troubling warning of the virus the same day President Trump claimed that the coronavirus won’t have a large impact on the U.S. population. According to the CDC, they expect the virus to spread widely enough in the U.S. to cause a “disruption to everyday life.”
In a statement on the website, the CDC calls COVID-19 “a serious public health risk.” While it is not currently recognized as spreading in the U.S., the CDC does have a plan ready in case the virus begins to spread in U.S. communities.
“Community-level nonpharmaceutical intervention might include school dismissals and social distancing in other settings (e.g., postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings and telework and remote-meeting options in workplaces),” reads the CDC website. “These measures can be disruptive and might have societal and economic impact on individual persons and communities. However, studies have shown that early layered implementation of these interventions can reduce the community spread and impact of infectious pathogens such as pandemic influenza, even when specific pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines are not available. These measures might be critical to avert widespread COVID-19 transmission in U.S. communities.”
An earlier video from the CDC claims the risk of infection is low but for people to use tactics used to prevent the spread of the flu.
The CDC warns that people need to be vigilant about staying home from work, school, social gatherings, and other social activities if they are sick. The coronavirus symptoms are similar to the flu with a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. The CDC is asking for people to remain vigilant as we are in the time of year where other illnesses with similar symptoms, like the flu and common cold, are spreading in the U.S.
If you would like to learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you think you have contracted the virus, click here and read what the CDC recommends.