Before I start, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I hope this year will be good to you.
Now, on with the post.
America is not the only nation with far right-politics in roles of leadership and justice. As it turns out, Brazil will likely enter a similar era as it recently sworn in their 38th President Jair Bolsonaro who is considered a fascist who will move the clock of progress in the country backwards due to claims of his racism, sexism and homophobia. In a way, he’s much like Donald Trump. Probably worse.
The following are snippets from an article published on Aljazeera.com which discusses his unexpected rise to his divisive views many consider as simplistic and regressive:
Bolsonaro has served as a congressman for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil’s lower house Chamber of Deputies since 1991, switching parties on numerous occasions.
He was hardly known outside the city until 2014, however, when Brazil slid towards the economic malaise in which it now finds itself.
“He was always an unimpressive backbencher, he was never a party boss … or had a programmatic agenda that was of any significance,” Matias Spektor, a professor of international relations at the Brazil-based Getulio Vargas Foundation, told Al Jazeera.
Bolsonaro’s rise was mostly the result from Brazil’s economic crises that forced a significant portion of the population into joblessness. While the country dealt with a severe recession, major scandals never before witnessed in modern times were revealed that involved politicians and businesspeople, and it was Bolsonaro’s perfect opportunity to join in on the anti-political sentiments many people held as a result:
Since 2014, more than 150 Brazilian business leaders, corporations and politicians have been prosecuted – including former President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva – as part of the investigation and other interlocking probes.
“The corruption scandals linked to Lava Jato are really quite revolutionary in Brazil, there’s never been this range of action against politicians, public officials and businesspeople … It’s really shaken the establishment,” Richard Lapper, an associate fellow at the UK-based institute of international affairs, Chatham House, and independent analyst on Latin American politics, told Al Jazeera.
“[And] Bolsonaro has identified with this move against corrupt politicians,” he added.
“His great success is that he’s been able to mobilise outside of the political system against traditional politicians. He’s used social media very effectively and so he’s capitalising on the mood that’s anti-political in Brazil.”
When it comes to crime and violence, Bolsonaro has a very aggressive stance against it, and by ‘aggressive’, he wants to use military combat-based approaches even though such ideas prove inefficient and even destructive:
Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has pledged to tackle the security crisis by militarising the police, cracking down on criminal offenders by allowing officers greater freedom to kill, and loosening public gun laws…
In Rio, Bolsonaro’s electoral stronghold, a military takeover of policing since February in response to acute violence throughout the city has coincided with a rise in homicide rates compared with the same period last year.
Here’s where it becomes especially troubling, yet familiar. As expected with all politicians, Bolsonaro has some opposition due to the following accusations describing his hateful views against women, black people and homosexuality:
The opposition to Bolsonaro has been driven by his numerous discriminatory comments on race, gender and sexual orientation, as well as remarks in favour of torture and Brazil’s former military dictatorship, in power from 1964 to 1985, which have angered and alarmed millions of Brazilians.
Bolsonaro has described having a daughter as a “weakness”, told a congresswoman she was “too ugly” to be raped, claimed some black people were not “even good for procreation”, and said he would rather one of his four sons “die in an accident” than be gay.
A lot of people in Brazil fear that their new leader will make life worse for the nation, and based on this report, they have good reasons why they should worry.