On January 1st, 2019, Brazil inaugurates Jair Bolsonaro as their president.
Bolsonaro was an incredibly a divisive figure during the election. The far-right candidate’s brash, no-filter demeanor, his deregulatory campaign promises, and social media savvy have had many people likening him to President Donald Trump. (In fact, they are big fans of one another.) The Washington Post describes Bolsonaro’s election as the “most dramatic shift to the right in Latin America’s largest country since the end of the Cold War-era military dictatorship.”
Needless to say, the people of Brazil — as well as the rest of the world — are either ecstatic or really anxious about where his leadership will steer the country.
A Strong Leader Who Will Drain the Swamp and Lift Brazil from Economic Turmoil…
Bolsonaro’s campaign promise of law and order have his supporters optimistic that he can clean up the corruption, violence, and economic despair that has been plaguing the country. Brazil finally emerged from a two-year recession in 2017 only to still be faced with slow economic growth and insecurity, while murder rates in 2018 were at an all-time high, with nearly 200 homicides occurring each day. Most of the murder victims are poor, young, black males who get tangled up in gang violence.
…Or a Dangerous Neo-Fascist?
His detractors fear that his leadership will herald in an era of rampant human rights violations, environmental devastation, fascism, and even genocide of uncontacted indigenous tribes living in the Amazon. Perhaps this is because Bolsonaro has openly and unapologetically expressed homophobic, misogynistic, and racist points of view over the course of his political career; nearly every major journalistic publication can give you a rundown of the offensive and, frankly, terrifying opinions that he has on women, the LGBTQ community, the indigenous community, and people of color who are living in Brazil.
Jair Bolsonaro signs legislation to strip LGBT provisions from Brazil's human rights guidelines.🇧🇷 https://t.co/phiUEThu7r
— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) January 2, 2019
In anticipation of his presidency and fearing that his administration will overturn the institution of same-sex marriage, NPR recently reported that there was a spike in same-sex weddings during the month of November, up 66 percent compared to the same period last year, as couples rushed to tie the knot.
Bolsonaro tweeted up a storm on the days leading up to his inauguration, vowing to improve the state of public education by combating the “Marxist trash” that is being taught in schools so that country can create citizens rather than militant radicals. He also announced in a tweet that he would immediately ease gun laws for people with no criminal record, contending that “good guys” with guns will deter the crime that is rampant in the country.