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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Who is Jair Bolsonaro?

Federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for Brazil’s presidential elections, takes pictures with students of the military college during an Army Day ceremony, in Brasilia, Brazil April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in late 2018 and the news shocked the world. Another semi-fascist politician was put in the most powerful government position possible and with him, a cabinet full of military personnel. But who is he?

Jair Bolsonaro was born in the state of São Paulo in 1955 where he and his five brothers, after moving around for a bit, settled down in the town of Eldorado, São Paulo. His career and love for the military began early and he was accepted into the prep school for the Brazilian military when he graduated high school in 1973.

Jair Bolsonaro as a cadet- The Brazilian Report

From there, in 1974, Bolsonaro entered the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras, Brazil’s main military academy and graduated in 1977 as an artillery officer. He then went on to serve in the 9th Field Artillery Group in Mato Grosso do Sul. He was described as ambitious and aggressive by his superior officers.

He first made headlines in 1986 during an interview with Brazilian magazine Veja when he addressed the military’s low wages and stated that the military was firing officers due to budget issues.

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He gained a lot of support from right-wing members, wives of military personnel, and fellow officers. ‘Bolsonaro’ became a household name for many and his public figure grew in the coming years.

He began his political career at the age of 33 in 1988 when he was elected as city councilor for Rio de Janeiro by the Partido Democrata Cristão (Democratic Christian Party) and stayed until 1991.

Jair Bolsonaro – La Croix / FSSPX.News

From there, Bolsonaro was elected as the federal deputy for Rio de Janeiro, a position he held onto until he began his run for presidency in 2018.

Following his rough and divided run for presidency, Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s 38th president and was sworn in on the 1st of January, 2019 fighting through a stabbing he received during the elections.

Now the reason why many, many people were so outraged with Bolsonaro’s election was not only due to his very conservative views, but the things he has said in the past, and what he stands for in the eyes of many.

Bolsonaro has made many sexist and homophobic remarks, such as saying that his fellow female colleague wasn’t “worth raping”, or saying that his family wouldn’t produce a gay child because his children had proper education. He was fined for both if those statements, the latter of the two R$150,000 as it was broadcast on TV and was considered hate speech.

He has also been a very vocal and adamant supporter of the US-backed Brazilian dictatorship that ruled from 1964-1985. Having been part of the military during the dictatorship it is clear where his views originate from.

Soldier’s during the military dictatorship – Brasil Wire

A key aspect of the military dictatorship was the censoring, torturing, and all around suppression of human rights for many groups, but especially women and communists during its reign.

One of his many conservative platfroms/views is that the military should be more invloved with the government. He took this view so far as to make his vice-president, Hamilton Mourão, a retired Brazilian military general, the highest position attainable in the Brazilian army during peace.

Many are worried that his appointment in the vice-presidency will mean more direct military involvement in political affairs, giving Brazil a more hostile nature and view towards other countries.

This along with many other factors led to mass protests around the country prior to his election, some of which reached numbers as high as 100,000 protesters in São Paulo, and 25,000 in Rio.

A key aspect of this election too to keep in mind is the fact that many voted for him in fear of the other candidate, Fernando Hadad, as not only was he running with the same campaign as the ex-president Lula who arguably hurt Brazil substantially, but he, in the eyes of many, represented a communist Brazil and many fear communism due to the previously mentioned Military dictatorship.

In many ways, Bolsonaro is a representation of a stuck Brazilian mindset that still fears the same things as 40 years ago. But as we are still at the start of his presidency, his actions and plans for Brazil are yet to be fully seen.

Bolsonaro firing finger guns – Andrew Comings

By: Nico Vallada

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