– 21 Brazilian scientists protest and refuse the award
Brazilian researchers have rejected the National Science Qualification Order in protest of President Jair Bolzano’s decision to remove two scientists from the list of prize winners.
Twenty-one scientists who received one of Brazil’s highest awards refused to present their medals on Saturday, following the removal of President Jair Bolzano from the list of their two colleagues whose work has left the government dissatisfied.
The far-right president nominated 25 people in 1992 to issue the National Order for National Scientific Qualification, created by Brazil to recognize authors of the most important contributions to science and technology. However, two days later, he removed two prominent scientists from the list. One of them was Marcus Lazerta, who conducted one of the first studies on the ineffectiveness of chloroquine against Govit-19, but has long been argued by Jair Bolsanaro to fight the infection. The other is Adele Bensacon, who was removed from the post of head of the HIV / AIDS department at the Brazilian Ministry of Health when Jair Bolzano became president in 2019.
“This is another clear demonstration of the persecution of scientists,” 21 protesters wrote in an open letter, further condemning the “systematic attack strategy on science and technology” on behalf of the current Brazilian government. By “this protest action that saddens us,” these scientists claim to express “anger at the destruction of the Brazilian university system and science and technology in general.”
“The greatest honor of all”
Jair Bolsanaro has come under severe criticism from the scientific community for his cuts in his research and technology budget, his continued rejection of scientific results, and the spread of misinformation, especially in relation to Covid 19. In addition to his call for the use of chloroquine to treat the disease, the President ignored the recommendations of experts regarding the use of protective masks or imprisonment to control the epidemic, despite evidence of its ineffectiveness.
In an interview with AFP, Adele Benzaken said she was “very proud” of her colleagues’ refusal of medals in the face of the government’s “outrageous” behavior against her and the government. Colleague Marcus Laserda. “This is the greatest honor of all,” he added.