“On the wall of Jair Bolsonaro’s office in a modernist annex of Brazil’s Congress hang five faded black-and-white portraits. They are memoirs of a time many Brazilians would prefer to forget, when military generals ruled the country from 1964 until 1985 and the cost of insurrection was kidnap, torture and secret execution.
Bolsonaro, the de facto front runner for the Brazilian presidential election that begins on Oct. 7, is the foremost apologist for that era. He has made a career eulogizing its abuses and–for a decade after the return of democracy in 1989–calling for its reinstatement. Today he is proud of his support of the regime he served as an army captain.
Now, with Brazil mired in a profound political crisis that has left many citizens despairing of its leaders, the Rio de Janeiro Congressman–long a marginal figure–says he alone can solve the problems of the largest nation in Latin America and be trusted to protect its youthful democracy. A growing share of Brazilians are willing to take that chance.
It’s hard to overstate the rage and disgust at the establishment in this country. Since the last election, a sprawling probe into corruption at the state oil giant has led to the impeachment of one President, the jailing of another and the disintegration of a fragile faith in the political class. Brazil has suffered its worst recession in history. With public services crippled by a lack of funds and rampant crime, 7 in 10 Brazilians say they have no trust in any political party. …
Trump may be politically incorrect, but Bolsonaro goes way, way further. In this interview alone, he advocated the possibility of unbridled state violence; equated homosexuality with pedophilia; and defended Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose henchmen raped women with dogs, as well as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has boasted of personally killing criminal suspects.
He has a long history of invective against gays, racial minorities and women. In 2014, he told a Congresswoman, “I wouldn’t rape you because you do not deserve it.” Yet after spending decades in the political wilderness, the candidate for the right-wing Social Liberal Party is now being courted as a serious player in Brasília, and is feted by crowds of thousands on the road.
As the corruption crisis and the economic downturn has played out over the past four years, Bolsonaro has found his popularity spiraling upward. Highly active on social media, he has built upon the base of police and military voters that has kept him in Congress for almost three decades. Polls suggest 60% of his supporters are under-34s, who are often highly disillusioned but too young to remember the military regime. Indeed, public opinion has actually turned away from democracy. Only 56% of Brazilians now say it is “always the best form of government.” Small but noisy protests calling for military rule have sprung up.” ..
Gomes, the left-wing candidate currently in fourth place in the polls, says Bolsonaro’s candidacy is drawing intolerance and bigotry out into the open–much as the Nazi Party in Germany did in the 1930s. Brazil must beware the “egg of the serpent of Nazism, of fascism, that we must treat as a serious threat,” he says. “Of course, it is an exaggerated comparison, but the values of intolerance, hate, misogyny, discrimination against gays and women, militarism, all this is very powerfully there, galvanizing around this caricature [of Bolsonaro],” he adds.
He sounds like our kind of guy.
I don’t know much about him. I’ve been reading articles like this about Bolsonaro seizing power in Brazil and that was before the National Museum went up in flames tonight.
Gab Brazil is blaming communists:
Did this remind anyone else of the Reichstag fire?