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How much Brazil spent to bring “home” a 188-year-old heart

On the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence earlier this year, the centerpiece of the government’s celebrations was repatriating the preserved heart of Pedro I, known as the “liberator” of Brazil.

Kept in formaldehyde for 188 years, the transport to Brazil required special arrangements, flown by an Air Force plane escorted by two fighter jets. Upon arriving in the country, the heart was received by President Jair Bolsonaro with the pomp and circumstance of a visiting head of state.

The heart was then transferred to a room in the Foreign Affairs ministry headquarters, where it remained on display to the public for 20 days.

The Brazilian Report asked the government, via the Access to Information Law, to provide data on how much was spent on bringing the heart to the country. Partial responses arrived on Friday.

The Air Force reported that it spent USD 10,980 (BRL 57,282) a day for a 10-member crew needed for the operation. The costs of moving the three aircraft to and from Portugal were not disclosed. The Foreign Affairs ministry spent BRL 3,402 on the presentation ceremony and BRL 545 to install security cameras in the room where the heart was exhibited.

“Other services provided for the exhibition, such as moving furniture, reallocating guards, and offering space, were provided within the scope of the current activities and contracts of this ministry,” read the response.

President Bolsonaro hijacked Brazil’s independence bicentennial as an event for self-promotion. He called on his supporters of him to take to the streets in a show of appreciation for his government of him, and there were fears he would use the date to launch an assault against democracy.

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