Year-to-date inflation of more than 10%, daily readjustments in the value of fuel and cooking gas, unemployment and the return of hunger. These are some of the difficulties that Brazilians face during the sanitary and economic crisis, which deepened in 2021. Those who find it difficult to support their family end up clinging to any hope and being victims of scams applied over the internet.
In the most impoverished neighborhoods of Curitiba (PR), for example, various false news circulate on social networks with alleged federal government programs, such as “gas aid”, “increase in emergency aid”, promises of access to basic food basket and unrealistic values of a new Bolsa Família. These fake news have popped up mainly in groups of WhatsApp and caused damage to families that are already struggling to support themselves.
Juliana Santos Moro, a recyclable material collector, resident of Vila Formosa, in the Novo Mundo neighborhood, says that the economic situation of families in the community has worsened and many end up falling into false news that promise government help. “Proposals such as gas vouchers, new aid and Bolsa Família with greater value have appeared,” he says.
Juliana is a volunteer at the region’s residents’ association and says she tries to warn neighbors so that they don’t believe the messages. “Here there are more than 300 people in the register of associations, then someone sees it on the internet and shares. When we see that this is not the case, we warn, but it is very complicated, because there are people hoping to get gas, vegetables, basic food basket, or to get some help from the government”, he says.
On the federal government’s own website there are some alerts for false news, such as the “monthly aid of R$ 200 for self-employed workers and low-income people to fight the new coronavirus pandemic”, or “gas assistance, through programs”. of the Ministry of Citizenship”.
The only project in this sense is by federal deputies Bohn Gass and Paulo Teixeira, from the PT. However, PL 1922/2020, which provides for emergency aid for the purchase of gas during the pandemic, proposed last year, is sitting on the board of directors of the Chamber of Deputies, with no forecast to be voted on.
people who lost their home
With the end of emergency aid of R$600, the situation of several Brazilian families became dramatic. Juliana Santos says that in Vila Formosa everything got worse with the end of aid and the increase in inflation. “The number of unemployed people with debts increased a lot. There were people who lost their rental house, there are families that had to go to collect recyclables and even families that went to live in their cars. It’s very sad,” he reveals.
President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) announced, in recent weeks, the change of Bolsa Família to the new “Auxílio Brasil”, which would increase the benefit to R$400 monthly, for one year. The measure, according to analysts, would pierce the spending ceiling, which caused mass dismissals in the office of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes.
Asked if the amount would help the families of Vila Formosa, Juliana was decisive: “We know it wouldn’t. If the R$400 came and prices were lower, it would ease up at least between one thing and another.”
Source: BoF Paraná
Edition: Sarah Fernandes, Frédi Vasconcelos and Lia Bianchini