Bolsonaro’s Brazil: four ‘dystopian’ years


In his first four years in office, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro kept true to his to mission to “dismantle” the legacy of previous governments, analysts say, often with harmful fallout for Brazil.

As a result, he is seen by supporters as a man who is true to his word, with a poll this week showing Bolsonaro closing in on rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — the favorite ahead of October presidential elections.

Some 32 percent of would-be voters told pollsters they would stick with 67-year-old Bolsonaro’s brand of “God, Homeland and Family,” his stated anti-corruption focus and detestation of “communism.”

Leftist ex-president Lula, 76, seeking the votes of Brazil’s millions of downtrodden, still leads with 45 precent of voter intention, according to pollsters Datafolha.

Despite the many controversies that have surrounded Bolsonaro over the past four years, Lula’s lead over him has been shrinking. “We have to deconstruct many things, undo many things,” Bolsonaro said shortly after he was sworn in in January 2019.

Launching a crusade against “left-wing ideology, “the man who has repeatedly defended Brazil’s dictatorship of 1964 to 1985 quickly went about scrapping the culture ministry and cutting funding for environmental protection, science and the arts.

“In the environment, education, health, public security and culture, the results have been catastrophic,” Anthony Pereira, a Latin America specialist at the Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, told AFP.

In terms of diplomacy, Bolsonaro adopted an anti-globalization posture, leaving Brazil more isolated on the international stage.

At home, he publicly supported private gun ownership. The number of firearm permits in circulation skyrocketed nearly 500 percent from 2018 to 2022 in a country that already has a major violent crime problem.

Indigenous peoples increasingly became targets under a hostile government, with 305 reported cases of Indigenous land invasion in 2021 — a 180-percent rise from 2018, according to official data. —AFP


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