The 'Trump effect' reaches Brazil
A new despotism, racism, homophobia, and a war against political correctness are all part of the presidential campaign of Jair Messias Bolsonaro, a former military officer who has garnered the necessary votes to reach the final stretch of the presidential elections in Brazil. The parallels with the U.S. president are such that the international community can’t help but draw a cause-and-effect relationship.
The saying "when the United States sneezes, the world catches a cold" is not in vain. The metamorphosis of the way of doing politics in the North American country has raised mirror political movements in various parts of the world, following the "victorious" campaign of Donald Trump.
All we have to do is take a look at political revolutions like La Liga in Italy, a far-right coalition that gained strength thanks to its radical anti-immigrant stances; the resurgence of nationalist sentiment in Germany with the Alternative group for Germany, and even political campaigns strikingly similar to Trump's in 2016 like that of Marine Le Pen in France during 2017.
Now Latin America joins the group.
After the favorite of the Brazilian left, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was sentenced to 12 years for corruption and money laundering crimes, the road was cleared for a new messianic character within the convulsed South American country.
Although his campaign has been in progress for months, the Liberal Social Party candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro has taken off in the polls and many anticipate that he will be the new president-elect of Brazil at the end of this month of October.
Bolsonaro began his political career in the Chamber of Deputies at the beginning of the 1990s as a representative of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Besides having an extended military career as part of his resumé, Bolsonaro has made a name thanks to his radical positions with evangelical elements: he has publicly protested against marriage equality, abortion, and the legalization of drugs and secularism, which has led to his classification as a nationalist and populist within the extreme wing of the Brazilian right.
Bolsonaro has been described as a violent sexist, especially due to an incident during a debate on a law on rape, Bolsonaro told deputy Maria del Rosario, "I'm not a rapist, but if I were, I would not rape you because you don’t deserve it."
Likewise, his position in favor of the military dictatorship that ruled the country between 1964 and 1985 has shown his inclination toward a right-wing populism that hasn’t been prevalent on the continent for decades.
"The mistake of the dictatorship was to torture and not to kill," the presidential candidate said in a radio interview during the year 2016, according to the Spanish newspaper Público (in Spanish).
"I would prefer my son to be dead than homosexual", "(The natives) do nothing. We are spending more than a billion dollars a year on them," and repeated similar comments have completed a portrait of a presidential candidate who seems to be winning the race with a formula very similar to that used by Donald Trump in the United States in 2016.
But none of his comments, and not even the feminist protests held this past weekend under the slogan Ele Não ("Not Him") have managed to detract from his campaign; quite the contrary, as he now has 47 percent approval, especially in the poorest female communities, according to the newspaper La Voz de Galicia.
"Once again, the analysis error of the U.S. Democrats in the elections that brought Donald Trump to power two years ago is being repeated: to polarize elections by reducing them to a fight between the politically correct and the provocation that favors the provocateur," says the publication.
It seems then that the current U.S. president's effect has been quick to materialize in the region, showing up as a call to reduce the gap between a historical fascism and a populism that, until now, was only known in the revolutionary left.
The result has been to convince a people tired of corruption and violence to support an evil long-lost in history books.