Brazilian Far Right Trump Gaining Advantage From Weak Government
Millions of Brazilians have gathered to protest their current government. The weak political situation in the South American country, is helping a Trump-like far right Congressman pave his way to the presidency.
Brazil has been experiencing one of its worst economic recessions in decades with no way out anytime soon, a terrible corruption scandal surrounds several governmental officials including former president Lula da Silva , and an impeachment proceeding against Dilma Rousseff —current president of the country—is underway.
“Rousseff faces impeachment proceedings over alleged fiscal mismanagement, while the supreme electoral court is considering possible campaign funding irregularities that could end up annulling her 2014 re-election.”
Consequentially, over a million Brazilians have taken to the streets of the biggest cities in Brazil to protest against the alleged corruption of President Rousseff and to demand her resignation. But in the midst of this difficult environment, there is a Congressman benefiting from all this. He has constantly been compared to the US front-runner for the Republican party Donald Trump. His name is Jair Bolsonaro— a very controversial far right deputy who has taken advantage and increased his popularity from Brazil’s mess.
Bolsonaro — like Trump — tends to be at the head of scandals, not for his actions but for his outrageous comments. He claims that homosexuals are product of the use of drugs and he promotes the prohibition of voting for illiterates and people with no income. He told a female colleague that she was too ugly to be worth raping, and has said that homosexuality in children can be cured by ‘beating it out of them’. Concerning the military dictatorship in Brazil: he said the mistake was that people were only tortured but not killed.
According to the media, Bolsonaro has become the star of the protests among millions of Brazilians desperate to find candidates to substitute their current government. He has promised to be the right candidate for the people, and has hired a marketing expert with experience in the US and supporter of the intervention of Armed Forces in Brazil. Bolsonaro has also increased his presence and popularity in social media, acquiring more followers in the last months than former President Lula da Silva. Up until today, Bolsonaro only has between a 6% to 7% of the votes, and is in need of at least a 10% for his party to officially chose him as a candidate. Nonetheless, he has a planned strategy
“to maintain the hate speech against disarmament, abortion, minorities’ rights, in favor of the reduction of criminal responsibility and free market.”
Political analysts are not surprised about his popularity in such a polarised political environment. As Glauco Peres da Silva, professor of Political Science at the University of São Paulo said,
“It is natural that, when the left is attacked, as it is happening here in Brazil, these candidates with much more conservative proposal appear.”
His radical comments and the context in which he is rising has led the far right demagogue to be compared to Donald Trump. And the media has also contributed to his success. According to João Pires, also professor of Political Science, most Brazilians are informed about politics exclusively through the media, and currently they are repeatedly hearing about the negative sides of the current government, which leads them to believe that the only solution is a strong hand. This can be seen in Bolsonaro, as in Trump in the case of the US. Paulo Rodriguez told The Guardian,
“She’s (Rousseff) a horror… The Workers party is a horror. They’re a criminal organisation that is robbing state resources. They are destroying our country… If Dilma goes, the currency will get stronger and confidence will return.”
Ignorance is one of the biggest problems when it comes to deciding about the future of a country. In such contexts, the capacity of candidates like Bolsonaro and Trump to convince uninformed citizens is huge, but Trump-like far right candidates will surely not be limited to this country. Other Latin American countries are getting closer to electoral seasons and the influence of the US and Brazil in the whole region could be very damaging.