Polícia Militar do Distrito Federal photo: André Gustavo Stumpf

By Lukas Azcurrain age: 12 and Indykids staff

Jair Bolsonaro is the new president of Brazil. With strong backing from the military,  leaders of evangelical religious groups and the right-wing establishment, he is raising concerns about the future of civil liberties, social equality and environmental protection in the country.  Bolsonaro graduated from the Agulhas Negras Military Academy in 1977 and proceeded to fight in the military for about 17 years before going into politics. His political platform is focused on military control, a violent crackdown on crime, and expanding agribusiness, especially in the Amazon.  

Many people have nicknamed Bolsonaro the “Trump of the Tropics” because of how far right-wing he is. He has publicly insulted women, indigenous people, Afro-Brazilians, and homosexuals. The Guardian reported Bolsonaro as saying, “Indians smell, are uneducated and don’t speak our language,” and that “the recognition of indigenous land is an obstacle to agribusiness.” He also discriminates against women in the workplace and opposes human rights organizations, pledging to withdraw government funding to them.

Although Bolsonaro was elected president, many Brazilians across the country are protesting against him, yelling, “Resist!  Resist!”. In response, Bolsonaro is talking about a “cleansing” where opponents would be jailed or forced into exile for protesting. Yet protesters continue, fearing a return of the repressive military dictatorship, which devastated the country from 1964 to 1985, a dictatorship which Bolsonaro still supports. He has also said that he is in favour of torture. In the lead-up to the presidential election, hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to protest against what they say are his racist, homophobic and *misogynist views. In a recent protest, Brenda Richele, 23, told The Guardian, “It’s sad for us – above all as black people – knowing that you are now considered a target…we are here to fight and to say that we will resist. We won’t accept being killed or being treated like animals. We won’t accept being treated like a minority because we aren’t one.”

Glossary

*Misogynist- a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.