Brazil Also Has A Denier For President: What Citizens Are Doing to Fight Coronavirus

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Brazil’s favelas, neglected by the government, organize their own coronavirus fight

by Marina Lopez/The Washington Post

When the president of Viela da Harmonia walks down the street, her constituents take note. An elderly neighbor needs groceries. A mother is looking for diapers. Another family asks for soap.

Just weeks ago, Laryssa da Silva didn’t know where her next meal would come from. Now the 24-year-old single mother is responsible for making sure the 70 families who live on her street survive Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak.

Da Silva is one of 400 new “street presidents” in Paraisópolis, responsible for helping her neighbors in São Paulo’s largest slum secure food, aid and health care.

The program, created as cases in Latin America’s largest country began to explode, is one of many solutions the people of Brazil’s low-income favelas have found to bypass a divided government response to a worsening health crisis. Community leaders in some of the country’s hardest-hit neighborhoods are hiring their own ambulances, creating unemployment funds and even building independent databases to track cases and deaths.

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