On Sunday, October 28, Brazilians elected their 39th President. Jair Bolsonaro captured 55 percent of the vote over center-left candidate Fernando Haddad. Brazilians were ready to throw everything up into the air just because they are fed up with the current political establishment. In 27 years as a federal deputy for the state of Rio de Janeiro, he only managed to pass one law out of his 147 proposed laws. Most of his proposed laws focused on improving pay and conditions for the military. Until 2016, he was just a fringe politician with minimal influence. The Workers’ Party was the main ruling party in Brazil for 14 years and while Brazil enjoyed wild economic success, a large corruption political scandal erupted, crime grew and the country entered a recession. So with Brazil reeling from a deep recession and government corruption scandal, many Brazilians started to seek out untraditional political options. For the last six months, Bolsonaro has run a campaign that promotes maintaining “traditional" family values, using violence to decrease violence, and eliminating racial or income preferences for education and jobs. Although Bolsonaro has support from all demographics in Brazil, his biggest support came from well-off white Brazilians. He will be sworn into office on January 1.
Penchant for Dictatorship - Brazil’s democracy will be threatened. Bolsonaro says that he wants to return Brazil to the time of the dictatorship. Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship from 1964 until 19845. His inner circle includes many members of the military. So there is a legitimate fear that Brazil could return to military dictatorship rule. Even if Brazil does not become a complete dictatorship, the country can expect more attempts to limit freedom of speech and a deeper push to promote conservative values.
Fresh Start for Brazil- The election of Jair Bolsonaro will provide Brazil with a “shock” and "fresh start” from the past ruling parties that relied heavily on corruption. Many of those who plan to vote for Bolsonaro are tired of Brazil’s rank and file politicians who enriched themselves without properly governing Brazil. These people don’t fear that Bolsonaro will misgovern Brazil because if he does do wrong, he can either be ousted like former President Dilma Rousseff or not elected for a second term.
Amazon and Environment- Bolsonaro prioritizes business interests over the environment. He has already said that he plans to reduce the land allotted to indigenous people so that agro businesses can grow. Although he has said that he plans stay in the Paris Climate agreement, it will be difficult to do so while acquiescing to the desires of agribusinesses in Brazil.
Anti-Corruption - Bolsonaro says that he has no tolerance for corruption in his government. Brazilians will have to wait and see. His campaign has already been plagued by allegations that business leaders spread “fake news” through WhatsApp on his behalf.
Human Rights Abuses - If Bolsonaro implements his public security plan giving police and military the right to kill at will, there will be countless human rights abuses in Brazil. The police in Brazil killed more than 5,000 people last year. Even with this large number, Bolsonaro wants police to be able to kill without any possibility of suffering consequences.
Public Security - The cornerstone of Bolsonaro’s plan for Brazil is to beef up security by allowing police to kill at will and not suffer consequences. This is appealing to Brazilians, who are suffering from rampant violence. More than 60,000 people were murdered last year.
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