LGBTs, women, blacks, Afro-Brazilians, progressives…., the list of people that Jair Bolsonaro has already offended during his twenty-five years of political career is long. Nevertheless – or just thanks? – he convincingly won the elections yesterday and became the new president of the largest country in South America.
Almost every statement that Bolsonaro has made in the past twenty-five years has been uncovered in recent weeks to show how populist and far-right the politician is. But no controversy seemed to bother him much, on the contrary, it also gave him appreciation as “someone who finally says what it says”. Moreover, the Brazilians were more susceptible yesterday to his promises to tackle the corruption and crime in the country, even though many fellow countrymen were pinching his nose red.
Bolsonaro’s most cited statement this campaign was about crime, one of the most important issues in the elections. His approach is very clear: ‘Bandido bom é bandido morto’, it sounded: ‘The only good bandit is a dead bandit’.
About the dictatorship and democracy
Brazil has only been a democracy since 1985 after more than twenty years of military dictatorship. But Bolsonaro sometimes seems to look back at that black period with a special nostalgia. In an interview in 1999 he was asked if he would shut down the parliament if he were to become president. “Without a doubt. I would organize another coup that day. The parliament does not work. And I’m sure that more than 90 percent of the population would be happy about it. Parliament today is useless. Let’s just do that coup now. Let’s go straight to dictatorship.”
He did not like elections: “Elections would not change anything in this country. Unfortunately, there would only be a change if a civil war breaks out and we do what the military regime has left: killing 30,000 people. No problem if innocent people die. There are innocent people dying in every war. I would even like to die if 30,000 others die with it.”
About gay people
Bolsonaro does not have too much hat on gay and lesbian rights. “I could never love a homosexual son, I would rather have him killed in a traffic accident,” he said in 2011. In addition, he would not like to have a gay couple living in his apartment block. “Then my building would fall in value. If they walk hand in hand, kiss, it would drop in value! But nobody dares to say that out of fear to be put out as homophobic.”
Two years later it sounded that he “would rather have an addict” as a son “than a gay man”. Being homophobic? “I am proud of that.”
And in April of this year, Bolsonaro was charged with racism and discrimination, among other things because of the statement “When I see two men kissing in the street, I will beat them.” The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint.
About women and women’s rights
Bolsonaro has four sons from his first two marriages. His last marriage he also has one daughter, but that he called “a weakness”. A colleague member of parliament admitted in 2014: “I will not rape you, because you are too ugly.”
Moreover, women do not have to earn the same as men and certainly do not need to be treated in the same way: “Because women have more employment rights for men, such as maternity leave, employers prefer to employ men than women. I would not employ women in the same way. But there are also competent women.”
In April 2017 Bolsonaro made a statement about a visit to a traditional Afro-Brazilian community. He used the controversial term ‘arrobas’, an old weight measure with which cattle and agricultural products were weighed. “The lightest African descendants weigh seven ‘arrobas’. They do nothing and they are not even good to procreate.”
Bolsonaro has for years been a proponent of torture to stop crime. “I am for torturing, you know that. And the people are also there for.”
In 2016, when parliament was voted on the deposition of President Dilma Rousseff, Bolsonaro gave his voice “to God, to the army, to the struggle against communism and to Colonel Carlos Alberto Brihante Ustra.” The latter is a of the worst torturers during the dictatorship, Dilma Rousseff was one of the most famous victims. The biggest mistake of the dictatorship, according to Bolsonaro, is that he “only tortured, and did not kill”.
About his political opponents
Last week, Bolsonaro said at a meeting in Sao Paulo that he would put his leftist opponents in politics or in prison or banish abroad. “I will sweep those red bandits off the map. (…) This time the cleaning will be even bigger. This group, if they want to stay, they will have to follow our laws. Either they go to prison, or they turn it off.”