Why You Should Care About Brazil’s New President-Elect


Bella Trimmer, Staff Writer

With the midterm elections just over, it seems like elections are all the media can manage to talk about. While the midterm elections are very important, and you by no means should ignore it, there are pressing issues elsewhere that deserve your attention. On October 28th, Brazilian presidential elections concluded with the election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Here’s why you should care about him.

Jair Bolsonaro is a deeply divisive political figure in Brazil, made apparent by the fact that an attempt was made against his life on the eve of the election. He has earned the label of “the most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world.” Bolsonaro talks about his nation’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) with fondness and nostalgia, has openly supported the use of torture, and called for his political opponents to be shot. But to many Brazilians, he represents law and order; there were 60,000 homicides last year alone in Brazil, and scores of politicians in both major parties were involved in the country’s biggest corruption scandal to date. He is loathed by political opponents for his views on women, race, foreigners, the LGBTQ community, and indigenous communities. He has said he “wouldn’t rape [a National Congresswoman] because [she] didn’t deserve it.” He’s said “I don’t run the risk [of seeing my children date black women or being gay]. My children were very well raised.” Bolsonaro believes that absolutely nothing can be solved through voting, and has gone on record saying he is in favor of a dictatorship.

But perhaps Bolsonaro’s worst ambition is his desire to plunder the Amazon rain forest. Where others see crucial ecosystems, what scientists have coined “the lungs of our planet,” Bolsonaro sees an economic opportunity too good to pass up. Many indigenous tribes are also threatened by Bolsonaro’s ambition; he has gone on record saying  “Where there is indigenous land, there is wealth underneath it” and “there won’t be a square centimeter demarcated as an indigenous reserve.” With so much political turmoil around the world, Bolsonaro’s election only adds to the upheaval.