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Jair Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro is a former president of Brazil who is known for his far right, authoritarian politics. In Anglophone countries, he’s often compared to Donald Trump, a contemporaneous leader with whom he shared some similarities, as well as warm ties. Some of the things Bolso­naro is known for include:

  • Covid-19 denialism
  • allowing widespread environmental destruction in the Amazon
  • according to a 2019 report, “extensive, direct, multilayered, and deeply personal ties” to the “paramilitary gangs and militias responsible for Brazil’s most horrific violence” (personally and also via his three sons)
  • repeated statements of support for the military dictatorship in Brazil
    • there was the time he dedicated his vote in support of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff to the head of the dictatorship-era secret police, who had tortured her
    • earlier in his career he said the dictatorship didn’t “finish the job” because they hadn’t killed enough leftists

After Bolsonaro was defeated in the 2022 Brazilian presidential election, losing to Lula da Silva, he refused to concede defeat. Rather than participate in the traditional handing over of the presidental sash at Lula’s inauguration, he hopped on a plane and left for Florida. Days later, on 8 Jan 2023, Bolso­naro’s supporters went on a rampage in Brazil’s capital, Brasília, storming and trashing the presidential palace, the National Congress, and the Supreme Court buildings. They did this with the apparent complicity of the military police, who stood by and let them; the state governor has also been stood down for his apparent refusal to do anything to try to prevent the attack. The state’s police chief spent the week before the attack “on holiday” in Florida, giving rise to allegations that he conspired with Bolsonaro.

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