The shipment, providing over 100 thousand liters of oxygen, has arrived in the Brazilian city of Manaus, which is undergoing a healthcare crisis due to the coronavirus.
The news of the shipment of Venezuelan oxygen to Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, where the healthcare system has collapsed due to the coronavirus, generated a bitter reaction from Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who expressed a “thank you” full of merciless mockery.
In a tweet posted almost at midnight on Tuesday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza reported that the six tankers finally arrived in Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The caravan of tankers had left Venezuela’s Puerto Ordaz, about 1,500 kilometers away, last Saturday.
A esta hora llegan a la ciudad de #Manaus, Brasil 🇧🇷, los primeros camiones – cilindros con el oxígeno enviado por el Presidente @NicolasMaduro para atender la crisis sanitaria ocasionada por la pandemia del #Covid_19. ¡Verdadera solidaridad! ¡Verdadera ayuda humanitaria! pic.twitter.com/Q6wOSzoAdX
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) January 20, 2021
In another tweet the Brazilian journalist Fania Rodrigues posted a video with the reaction of a group of people waiting for the arrival of the convoy.
En Manaus la población salió a la calle para recibir el oxígeno enviado por Venezuela para atender la crisis del covid-19. Manaus es una ciudad que está en medio a la selva Amazónica, donde la logística para grandes cantidades de insumos es extremadamente compleja. pic.twitter.com/Tp1eVdIz4H
— FaniaRodrigues 📸 (@FaniaRodrigues) January 20, 2021
Caracas previously reported that the 136 thousand liters of hospital oxygen, produced by the state-owned Siderúrgica del Orinoco Alfredo Maneiro, was equivalent to 14 thousand cylinders. These tanks will be destined for patients with respiratory deficiencies who have filled the healthcare centers of the city in northern Brazilian.
What did Bolsonaro say?
Last Monday, when the contingent of vehicles arrived at the border with Brazil, Bolsonaro, who doesn’t recognize his Venezuelan counterpart as legitimate, made sarcastic comments about the Venezuelan economic situation from Brasilia, the seat of central government.
“If Maduro wants to provide us with oxygen, we will receive it without any problem; but it could help in the emergency of his own people as well. With the minimum wage there you can’t buy half a kilo of rice,” he said in a derogatory tone.
The ultra-right-winger also made cruel jokes about the situation in Venezuela where, as a result of punitive US economic measures, foreign currency income has been reduced by 99 percent over the last six years.
“They don’t have dogs there, why would that be? Some kind of plague? They ate all the dogs, they ate all the cats,” said the Brazilian president, before taking aim at the president of the Bolivarian Republic.
“I see idiots praising Maduro, saying ‘look what a big heart he has.” Really, at that size, 200 kilos and two meters high, his heart must be very big. But nothing beyond that,” said Bolsonaro.
Along with Canada, Brazil and a group of governments of the region formed the Lima Group, a coalition that, along with the Organization of American States (OAS), maintains that in Venezuela there is a “humanitarian crisis,” for which they blame the government. In this respect, Caracas has said that there really is an economic crisis, intensified by the sanctions against it, which have affected the most vulnerable.
Situation in Amazonas
The state of Amazonas, located in northern Brazil, with 3.8 million inhabitants, is going through an unprecedented crisis. There are currently about two thousand hospitalized patients, and the cemeteries are overwhelmed.
The consumption of life-saving oxygen in the hospital units set record highs, increasing from 5 thousand cubic meters per day to 76 thousand (or 76 million liters).
The day before, the governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima, announced on his Twitter account that the first contingent of vaccines had arrived. They received 256 thousand doses, of which 50 thousand were donated by the governor of Sao Paulo, Joao Doria, with whom Bolsonaro is also embroiled in a political dispute over Doria’s efforts to accelerate the immunization plan without government endorsement.
In the midst of this situation, there have been protests in several cities and in Manaus, Bolsonaro’s bastion of power in the presidential elections of 2018 and in the municipal elections of last November, demanding the resignation of the president for his handling of the crisis generated by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the numbers of infections and deaths are mounting. This Wednesday, the Amazonas Health Surveillance Foundation (FVS-AM) reported 1,537 new cases in the state, for a total of 233,971, while 6,450 people have perished.