Brazil's Handling of the Pandemic: A Conversation with Senator Randolfe Rodrigues on the Covid-19 Congressional Inquiry


Thursday, March 3, 2022, 2:30pm to 4:00pm

For a recording of this event, click here.

Speaker: Randolfe Rodrigues, Senator for Amapá, Brazil; Vice President, COVID-19 Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI)
Interviewers: Thiago Amparo, Professor, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV); Malu Gaspar, Columnist, O Globo; Miguel Lago, Executive Director, Institute for Health Policy Studies (IEPS- Instituto de Estudos para Políticas de Saúde); Katia Maia, Executive Director, Oxfam Brazil
Moderated by: Marcia Castro, Andelot Professor of Demography; Chair of the Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

On April 2021 a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) was installed in the Brazilian senate to investigate the action of the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic. After six months, the investigations led to calls for charges against two companies and 78 individuals, including president Bolsonaro, who was indicted with nine crimes, including incitement, charlatanism, and crimes against humanity. Senator Randolfe Rodrigues was the vice-president of the CPI.

Randolfe Frederich Rodrigues Alves is a senator from Amapá, affiliated with the Sustainability Party (REDE). In 2021 he was awarded the rank of Knight of the Légion D'honneur, the highest honor of the French government. The commendation, created by Napoleon Bonaparte, is offered to civilians and soldiers who have distinguished themselves in their areas of expertise. Randolfe was decorated for his actions in defense of the environment, the fight against the new coronavirus pandemic and his work in the development of the border region between Amapá and French Guiana. Randolfe was born in 1972 in the countryside of Pernambuco, more precisely in the city of Garanhuns. At the age of 8, he moved to Amapá with his family, where he settled. He is a professor, graduated in history, with a bachelor's degree in Law and a master's degree in public policy from the State University of Ceará. He served two terms in congress, being elected for the first time in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. Both terms won with the Workers´ Party (PT), a party he left in 2005 to join the PSOL. In 2010, he was elected the youngest senator of that legislature, having obtained the largest vote in the history of Amapá: more than 200,000 votes. In 2015, he joined the Sustainability Party (REDE). In 2018, he was re-elected senator with more than 264,000 votes, the second most expressive vote in Brazil and the largest in Amapá. Randolfe was elected the best senator in Brazil in the 2021 Congress in Focus award by popular vote. He was also chosen six other times as Brazil´s best senator by sector journalists of the National Congress and six times elected as one of the “100 Heads of Congress” by the Inter-union Department of Parliamentary Advice - DIAP.

Thiago de Souza Amparo is a professor at FGV Direito SP and FGV International Relations School, teaching courses on human rights, international law, diversity and discrimination policies and law. He is a lawyer, with a bachelor's degree from PUC-SP, a master's degree in human rights (LLM) from the Central European University and a PhD from the same university. He was a visiting scholar at Columbia University (New York - United States). He is expert in constitutional law, public policy as well as diversity and antidiscrimination law. He was a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Open Society Foundations, among others, on the issue of racial and LGBT discrimination. He was deputy secretary of human rights and citizenship at the São Paulo City Hall between January and May 2017. He writes weekly for the main newspaper in Brazil, Folha de S. Paulo.

Malu Gaspar graduated from the University of São Paulo and has covered politics and economics in some of Brazil´s major news outlets. She has published two books: "Tudo ou Nada: Eike Batista e a Verdadeira História do grupo X" and "A Organização: a Odebrecht e o Esquema de Corrupção que Chocou o Mundo".

Miguel Lago is a Political Scientist and graduate from Sciences Po Paris, where he acquired a Master’s degree in public administration. He founded and presided over mobilization networks Meu Rio and Nossas, a Latin American reference in civic-tech. He is visiting scholar in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, as well as Sciences Po Paris’ École d’Affaires Publiques.

Katia Maia is a sociologist with professional experience in topics related to sustainability, economic and social development, inequalities and social justice. She has worked in both Brazilian and international civil society organizations, such as the Minas Gerais Environmental Defense Association (AMDA), Institute for Amazonian and Environmental Studies (IEA), Institute for Socioeconomic Studies (Inesc), Oxfam Great Britain, Oxfam International and WWF International. She has done social and environmental analysis consultation work and has more than 30 years of participation in the civil society organizations and articulation with different social actors. Since March 2015, she has been the Executive Director of Oxfam Brazil.

Marcia Castro is Andelot Professor of Demography, Chair of the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Chair of the Brazil Studies Program of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). Her research focuses on the development and use of multidisciplinary approaches to identify the determinants of infectious disease transmission in different ecological settings to inform control policies. She has more than 15 years of collaboration with Brazilian researchers, Health Secretariats, and the Ministry of Health particularly related to infectious diseases. She made important contributions during recent public health emergencies (the Zika virus epidemic and the COVD-19 pandemic). Castro has projects on malaria, COVID-19, arboviruses, infant/child mortality and development, and climate change in the Brazilian Amazon. Specifically, on COVID-19 she has been assessing the spatiotemporal pattern of COVID-19 spread in Brazil, mortality, and fertility changes due to the pandemic, risk factors for mortality, and vaccine effectiveness. She serves on several advisory boards in Brazil, including the Institute for the Studies of Health Policies (IEPS), the Science Center for Early Childhood (NCPI), and Instituto Todos Pela Saúde (ITpS). She earned a PhD in Demography from Princeton University.