Why you should protest Bolsonaro

February 15, 2019

Susan Carroll sets out the reasons why anyone who defends democracy needs to organize to protest Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro wherever he appears in the U.S. next month.

IN A show of ruling-class, right-wing international solidarity, Donald Trump has invited Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, to visit the United States.

Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, confirming that, while the exact date of Bolsonaro’s visit to the U.S. has still not been officially announced, it will be happening in mid-March.

From the U.S. to Hungary to the Philippines, the far right is on the rise around the world. Bolsonaro cements the trend, providing yet another axis along which regional and international politics can align themselves.

In his inauguration speech, Bolsonaro declared that his victory marks “a day in which the people have rid themselves of socialism, of inversion of values, of statism and political correctness.”

Sworn in on January 1, 2019, he has already emboldened right-wing vigilantes in the country, eradicated the country’s Labor Ministry, ordered monitoring of nongovernment and international organizations, undermined Indigenous rights, fast-tracked the destruction of the Amazon, eased gun control laws and promised to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, among other moves.

Jair Bolsonaro is sworn in as President of Brazil
Jair Bolsonaro is sworn in as President of Brazil (Cleia Viana | Wikimedia Commons)

We hope that everyone who stands with democracy and the Brazilian people will join us in a coordinated day of protest at the Embassy of Brazil in Washington, D.C., and at Brazilian consulates all across the U.S. and in Latin America on the day of Bolsonaro’s visit.

Consulate General of Brazil in Washington, D.C.: 1030 15th Street NW, Suite 280W
Consulate General of Brazil in New York: 225 East 41st Street
Consulate General of Brazil in Hartford: One Constitution Plaza
Consulate General of Brazil in Boston: 175 Purchase St.
Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago: 401 North Michigan Ave., Suite 1850
Consulate General of Brazil in Los Angeles: 8484 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300
Consulate General of Brazil in San Francisco: 300 Montgomery Street, Suite 1160
Consulate General of Brazil in Atlanta: 3500 Lenox Road, Suite 800
Consulate General of Brazil in Houston: 1233 West Loop South, Suite 1150
Consulate General of Brazil in Miami: 80 SW 8th Street, 26th floor

For updates, or to sign onto the call, please go to bit.ly/nobolsonaro.

Want to know more about why you should protest Bolsonaro? Here are some more reasons:

Bolsonaro is deeply racist

He has come out against any and all affirmative action policies, claiming that Brazil “owes no debt” to Black people for the crime of slavery. Brazil abolished slavery in 1888, the last of the large economies to do so.

He has defanged the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and dismantled Indigenous rights, giving agribusiness the power to oversee the demarcation on territories belonging to Indigenous communities and quilombolas, descendants of slaves who live in independent communities in Brazil. He has also compared Indigenous people to “animals in zoos.”

He has vowed to militarize the police and give police more license to kill, notoriously remarking that “a good criminal is a dead criminal” — and that if a police officer “comes in, resolves the issue, and if he kills 10, 15 or 20 people with 10 or 30 shots each, he should be celebrated not prosecuted.” This will disproportionately target poor and working-class people of color, particularly Afro-Brazilians.

Bolsonaro is misogynist

He has defended the gender pay gap — women in Brazil earn 23 percent less on average than men — on the basis that women get maternity leave.

He is firmly against the right to choose to have an abortion. He has said that he will veto any proposals to legalize abortion and that his government will not fund any NGOs that promote abortion.

He is notorious for sexist remarks, including telling a congresswoman that she was not “worthy” of being raped. In 2013, he sponsored a bill to revoke a law obligating the public health care system to provide physical and psychological services for survivors of sexual violence.

Bolsonaro is anti-LGBTQ+

He has admitted to being “homophobic — and very proud of it.” He has said that he would rather his sons die than be gay, and that he would punch gay people if he saw them kissing in public. He is anti-equal marriage.

He has vowed to remove any references to LGBTQ+ people, feminism, and violence against women from school textbooks and exams.

His appointed Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights, Damares Alves, has proclaimed that Bolsonaro’s Brazil is one in which “boys wear blue and girls wear pink.” He signed a measure removing the mention of LGBTQ+ people from the human-rights protection guidelines of the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

Bolsonaro is anti-environment

He has vowed not to “let conservation programs interfere with agri-industry.”

He has given agribusiness the power to oversee land demarcation and use, giving the green light for the destruction of the Amazon and indigenous land.

He has already begun to reduce the power of environmental agencies in his mission to develop the Amazon for business.

Bolsonaro is pro-dictatorship

He has praised past authoritarian leaders and human-rights violators Gen. Augusto Pinochet and Alberto Fujimori, as well as one of Brazil’s most notorious torturers, Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who was head of the country’s intelligence and repression agency during Brazil’s military dictatorship.

Bolsonaro even dedicated his impeachment vote against Dilma Rousseff to Ustra — particularly egregious considering Rousseff was arrested, imprisoned and tortured during the dictatorship.

He has filled his government with military men.

He claimed that the biggest flaw of Brazil’s military dictatorship was that it did not kill enough people.

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