This Friday RCSE had the privilege of hearing from one of our very own members - Dr. Jose da Cruz!  Before Jose was introduced, President Laura Lane reminded everyone that details are in the works for a socially distanced RCSE Happy Hour.  Tom Hollis informed the membership that he is now a proud grandfather to a granddaughter - congratulations Tom!  After all Rotary business items were discussed, Laura Lane gave the floor to Jose so he could present on COVID-19, Brazil, and why leadership matters.  All of Jose's opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employer. 
Jose believes that Brazil had a complete collapse during the pandemic and feels that the lack of leadership from the President, Jair Bolsonaro, is partly to blame because he refused to take the necessary steps to deal with the pandemic.  Jair Bolsonaro came to power because of the 3 B's: beef (exporting more cattle by taking land away from the indigenous population and giving it to cattle farmers), bullets (allowing citizens to carry guns) and Bible (relying on evangelical Christians for support).  He said he was an outsider, was going to make Brazil better, and blamed Brazil's problems on the previous President.  When the pandemic began, he started by stating that COVID-19 was just like the flu and to not worry.  He then said masks weren't necessary because it makes it harder to breathe.  Brazil accounts for half of the population and land mass of South America.  All the other counties in the area have done the opposite of Brazil when it comes to COVID-19 and their cases are much lower.  Currently, there have been over 3 million diagnosed with COVID and 112,000 registered deaths due to COVID.  The most impacted from this virus are the poor.  
Brazil is an important ally to the United States so what can we do to help support Brazil during this time of crisis?  We need to find a way to help minimize potential problems since Brazil is a strategic partner.  Jose thinks we have to figure out a way to help without saying what to do and how to do it.  He said that the Brazilian economy is slowly recovering but only for those individuals with a formal education.  The majority of the population still can't find work.  In the 1980's, Brazil was a country to follow when fighting HIV and AIDS and now it is the opposite.  Jose concluded saying that leadership matters during a time of crisis.