With our nation’s midterm elections approaching quickly, we often forget to give attention to other nations’ tumultuous political climates. On October 7th, Brazil held its first round of elections for their next President, and by the end of the night, one candidate was only 4% away from being declared the winner. After 99.9 percent of votes had be counted, [Jair] Bolsonaro had 46 percent of the vote. He only needed 4% more to avoid a runoff and secure more than 50% of votes.
But who is Jair Bolsonaro? What does he stand for? And how is he planning to help Brazil?
Jair Bolsonaro is a far-right wing candidate calling for radical change in Brazil. He plans to break away from the methods and political scams like “Operation Car Wash” that were held accountable by the Workers’ Party. The Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, has fallen flat in comparison, as he only received 29% of votes during the election, and his party has won the Presidential election consistently since 2002. So, with Bolsonaro at the forefront of radical political, social and economic change in Brazil, what does he wish to accomplish?
A former Army captain and with seven terms in Brazilian Congress, Bolsonaro appears to be a qualified, respectable candidate for presidency in one of the world’s most influential democracies. However, Bolsonaro is quite the catalyst for the nation to head towards dictatorship. He favors a type of government like that of Brazil from 1964 to 1985 — when military dictatorship ruled and hundreds of civilians disappeared or were murdered, not including the several thousand tortured. He is adamant about increasing access to weaponry, so people can protect and fend for themselves. He has stated that “a policeman who doesn’t kill is not a policeman,” encouraging officers to take violent and fatal action against anyone or anything that appears to be threatening. He is notorious for making homophobic, misogynistic, and racist comments that oppress the many diverse communities in Brazil. He has encouraged families to physically punish their children if they ever exhibited “gay behavior” to eradicate their abnormal tendencies.
Furthermore, Brazil has been enduring an awful recession, with loads of corruption and crime — the nation needs a leader that will take immediate action to improve not only the political climate, but social and economic climate as well. Bolsonaro’s policies do not rectify the issues that are oppressing Brazil. His admiration of an authoritative government is extremely problematic as Brazil seeks new guidance to build itself back up as a functional and orderly society.
As the runoff election approaches on October 28, it is important that we pay attention and are aware of the national and global implications this election will have on millions of different individuals and communities. Bolsonaro is a promise for change in Brazil, but it will not bring prosperity to their country — it will only create more obstacles to be overcome.