BRASÍLIA, Brazil — A Brazilian congressional panel is set to recommend that President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with “crimes against humanity,” asserting that he intentionally let the coronavirus rip through the country and kill hundreds of thousands in a failed bid to achieve herd immunity and revive Latin America’s largest economy.
A report from the panel’s investigation, excerpts from which were viewed by The New York Times ahead of its scheduled release this week, also recommends criminal charges against 69 other people, including three of Mr. Bolsonaro’s sons and numerous current and former government officials.
The panel initially recommended in the report that Mr. Bolsonaro be charged with mass homicide and genocide against Indigenous groups in the Amazon, where the virus decimated populations for months after hospitals there ran out of oxygen. But less than a day after The Times and several Brazilian news outlets reported on those plans, several senators said that the accusations had gone too far.
Late Tuesday, on the eve of the scheduled release of the report, the committee removed the recommended charges of homicide and genocide, Renan Calheiros, the centrist Brazilian senator who was the lead author of the report, said just after midnight on Wednesday local time.
It is at best uncertain whether the report from the 11-member panel — seven of them opponents of Mr. Bolsonaro — will lead to any actual criminal charges, given the political realities of the country.
But in deeply polarized Brazil, it reflects the depths of anger against a leader who refused to take the pandemic seriously. The report may prove a major escalation in the challenges confronting Mr. Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, faces re-election next year and
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