21 scientists snub medals in row with Bolsonaro

Twenty-one scientists awarded one of Brazil’s highest honours, the National Order of Scientific Merit, rejected their medals on Saturday 6 November after President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew two colleagues whose work apparently discomfited his government from the list of honourees, reports AFP.

The far-right president named 25 people to receive the honour, which Brazil created in 1992 to recognise the most important contributions to science and technology. However, two days later he withdrew the names of two prominent scientists from the list. One was Dr Marcus Lacerda, who published one of the first studies finding the drug chloroquine is ineffective against COVID-19 – rebutting Bolsonaro’s pet strategy for fighting the pandemic. The other was Dr Adele Benzaken, who was fired as director of the Brazilian health ministry’s HIV/AIDS department when Bolsonaro took office in 2019, after her department published a pamphlet aimed at transgender men.

Bolsonaro has faced sharp criticism from the scientific community over budget cuts for research and technology, as well as his frequent rejection of scientific findings and history of spreading misinformation, particularly on COVID-19.
Full report on the France24 site