There seems to be a strong connection between the president of Brazil – Jair Bolsonaro – President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. According to his enemies, Jair Bolsonaro is homophobic and a misogynist. On the other hand, his supporters view him as the man that can finally make something happen for his country by reinvigorating the economy and putting an end to corruption.
The question that naturally follows is: who is Brazil’s president and is there a connection between him and Donald Trump?
The Supporters of Extremist Viewpoints
Why is Jair Bolsonaro considered by many an extremist? This is widely due to his narrow-minded viewpoints regarding women, black and gay people, as well as the very concept of democracy. In fact, in 2011, he made an official declaration that we would be basically incapable of loving a gay son. That isn’t all, though – he also outlined that the Afro-Brazilians are lazy and fat, whereas the refugees coming from Africa, Haiti and the Middle East are the scum of humanity.
On top of that, he has openly displayed his nostalgia for the country’s past military dictatorship. More specifically, in the 1990s, he might have suggested that he favors dictatorship, as outlined in this source. From 1964 till 1985, Brazil was under brutal dictatorship, and he actually defended that, regardless of the many atrocities that took place during that specific period. The list could go on – recently, he made a statement according to which his political opponents ought to be shot.
It is definitely not a coincidence that Bolsonaro was labeled as a Nazi by his critics, widely due to his far-right nationalist tendencies. Ring-wing populists in Brazil, as well as in other parts of the world, embrace viewpoints that are representative, to some extent, of Nazism. Nevertheless, of course that the supporters of extremism will always openly deny the fact that they have anything in common with fascism or totalitarian political points of view.
In this context, it is easy to understand why he is oftentimes introduced as being the Brazilian Donald Trump, considering that they have so many things in common.
More specifically, in 2017, Trump made an official declaration according to which some white nationalists and neo-Nazis were very fine people. On a different occasion, Trump has publicly accused the CIA of behaving like the Nazis. According to the well-known Nazi propaganda, contemporary far-right adherents behave similarly, denying their connections with their ideological processors, while going as far as arguing that their viewpoints are in direct opposition to theirs.
For example, when Bolsanaro was accused of being a tropical Hitler by one of his opponents, he outlined that his opponents were actually the supporters of the Nazi regime, as they praised the Nazi leader. In this context, Bolsanaro has also made an extreme statement, outlining that he would much rather be presented as being Hitler by his opponents, than by being introduced as gay.
Bolsanaro’s Rhetoric Has a Lot in Common with Trump’s Rhetoric
We could say that Bolsanaro’s rhetoric has made him popular among Brazilians. The country’s political background, as well as the serious issues such as corruption, recession, in combination with the rising rate crimes – all these constituted the perfect background for Bolsanaro, who adopted the same political discourse as Trump.
Essentially, economic development is a desirable target for each society – whether we’re talking about the American or the Brazilian society. This is usually translated in the development of the infrastructure, the reduction of crime rates, so on and so forth. At the same time, in the United States, the issue of gun rights is widely debated – for example, recently, it has been debated whether modular build guns should be purchased without a license or not.
On a different note, it is worth pointing out that both Trump and Bolsanaro portrayed a similar image. Similar to Trump, Bolsanaro said that Brazil is a nation that experiences a decline. In this context, he guaranteed that he will make it great again. Does this sound familiar?
Furthermore, to make the comparison even more relevant, Bolsanaro actually made the following statement in a live Facebook broadcast: Let’s make Brazil great again! Let’s be proud of our homeland again!
So, what did he do in order to restore the law and order back in Brazil? He pledged for reintroducing the death penalty and, on top of that, to loosen the gun laws. The list doesn’t end here, though – similar to Trump, he doesn’t believe that global warming is actually a phenomenon that is harming our planet by the day. This is why he decidedly pushed against environmental regulation, publicly criticizing the landmark Paris climate accord.
Moreover, Bolsanaro has also promised to diminish the taxes, while privatizing state companies.
Countries Desperate for Change
Considering that Brazil is a country that is essentially desperate for change, it comes as no surprise that so many Brazilians were drawn to Bolsanaro’s radical points of view regarding politics and not only. His controversial rhetoric, which is rooted in Trump’s rhetoric, is the source of controversy. In a rally, he actually claimed that I will be like Trump in the United States. And, just like Trump, he remains a controversial figure, a supporter of extremist viewpoints.
The weird thing is that Brazil has little in common with the United States. Essentially, more than 50 percent of Brazilians are non-white, and even the ones that are white, still don’t identify as white, since most are mixed race. Regardless of this, racism is booming, in this political context, which has stirred resentment in the society’s upper and upper-middle classes.
Nevertheless, critics have argued that Bolsanaro has taken Trump’s political discourse and rhetoric to the extreme, willingly encouraging the expression of crime and hatred towards the opposing parties. It actually seems that Bolsanaro has no hesitation whatsoever to trigger the angriness of his people, in a country that is already struggling with violence and worrying crime rates.