FALSE: Photo of ‘President of Italy’ crying ‘over coronavirus’


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FALSE: Photo of ‘President of Italy’ crying ‘over coronavirus’
The world leader in the photo is Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who cried during a speech in mid-December 2019 over a personal matter

Claim: Some users are sharing a photo of the “crying president of Italy” with a caption arguing how Italy was not prepared to deal with the coronavirus outbreak despite having adequate health facilities. 

On Sunday, March 22, this photo was shared or reposted with the following caption: “Just look at the crying President of Italy.”

“Italy has the most advanced health care facilities but they failed to control [coronavirus] because they were taking it as a joke in initial days and today their President cried that we are short of space for burying dead bodies of [coronavirus] affecties,” the post continued.

Posts like these by multiple Facebook users have been shared at least 1,000 times. These posts have been flagged by Facebook’s Claim Check dashboard for verification. A reader also emailed Rappler with a link to a Facebook post with this claim.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The world leader in the photo on these posts is not the president of Italy. He is Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. 

The posts took a photo or a screenshot from a speech Bolsonaro made on December 17, 2019, at a thanksgiving worship at the Palacio do Planalto.

He became emotional and indeed cried over a personal matter, when he started talking about his young daughter. 

“President gets emotional when speaking at Thanksgiving Service,” was the English translation of the title of the video of Bolsonaro’s speech uploaded by the Planalto’s official YouTube channel.

“Bolsonaro recalled the moments when he was in the hospital, after being stabbed in Juiz de Fora, and asked God not to leave his daughter,” added the Planalto in the video description. 

“Bolsonaro cries when remembering proximity to death: ‘I didn’t want my 7-year-old daughter orphaned'” was the title, translated to English, of another YouTube video by news outfit Folha Politica about his speech.

Meanwhile, this is a photo of the actual current President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, who has been serving since 2015:

Italian President Sergio Mattarella meets with US President Donald Trump (not pictured) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2019. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP

On March 19, Italy surpassed China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths. As of March 22, the death toll in Italy neared 5,500. The entire country of Italy remains under lockdown as of posting. – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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