Sebastião Salgado: A COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil could lead to ‘total genocide’

Famed photojournalist Sebastião Salgado recently went on the record about COVID-19's impact in Brazil, particularly what the pandemic could mean for the already vulnerable indigenous communities in the Amazon.

Salgado doesn't mince his words, framing the crisis as an urgent human rights threat that could lead to "total genocide" of the local tribes. He’s rallied together an international coalition, including Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, to join him in pressuring Brazil to properly protect its indigenous people.

In the interview with author and journalist Alan Friedman, Salgado specifically calls for economic sanctions against Brazil, citing how President Jair Bolsonaro’s constant upheavals—from weakening protections for indigenous tribes to allowing an influx of mining and oil drilling in the Amazon—have put this community at increased risk of exposure and harm during the coronavirus crisis.

Salgado goes on to talk about Luiz Mandetta, the popular minister of health that Bolsonaro recently fired, and the similarities he sees between Bolsonaro and President Donald Trump—world leaders who both seem to reject scientists and their fact-based advice right when it is needed most.