Things That Matter

It’s Been Six Months And Brazil’s President Is On A Tear Stripping Rights Away From Every Vulnerable Community

President Bolsonaro, who has been referred to as “Brazil’s Trump” or “Tropical Trump,” has just enjoyed the first six months of his presidency. While his 27 years in Congress was marked by only two bills that became law, Bolsonaro is making irreversible changes as President. The country remains divided in opinion, with some Bolsonaro supporters already regretting their vote, and others experiencing the benefits of his inauguration.

Bolsonaro ran on a platform as anti-corruption and pro-gun as a measure to reduce crime and gang violence in the country. He’s also emphasized a return to “family values,” which includes far-right beliefs like homosexuality as unnatural, and the nuclear working-father stay-at-home mother family archetype. Here’s what all that talk has looked like in real life.

In his first hours after his inauguration, Bolsonaro removed LGBTQ+ rights from its human rights ministry scope.

@arabellamartuni / Twitter

He also attempted to remove homosexuality from textbooks. In the past, Bolsonaro has said that he’d prefer his son dead rather than gay. Bolsonaro also had to cancel a trip to New York after American protest due to his anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

Just recently, after Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ people deserve protection from discrimination, Bolsonaro warned against Brazil becoming “known as a gay tourism paradise.” Needless to say, Pride festivals were even bigger this year.

In a play against crime, Bolsonaro eased restrictions on gun ownership.

@JComm_NewsFeeds / Twitter

The executive order makes it easier for a person to import guns and raises the cap on the amount of ammunition a single person can buy in a year… by a lot. Instead of 50 cartridges of ammunition allowed per year, a single Brazilian can purchase 5,000 cartridges per year.

His administration has introduced a bill that would protect police if they kill a suspect out of fear or “intense emotion.”

@KenRoth / Twitter

President Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, Sérgio Moro, is responsible for the introduction of said bill. If an officer cites “excusable fear, surprise or intense emotion,” the officer won’t be held accountable for the death of the alleged suspect. It essentially shields abusive officers from consequence and leaves citizens more vulnerable to the emotionality of officers.

Over 13 million Brazilians remain unemployed.

@RekordNewspaper / Twitter

This photograph is of Brazilians standing in line outside an employment center in Rio de Janeiro. When asked, those in line say they’re ready to accept any job.

Bolsonaro ran a campaign that focused so heavily on pension reform to ease Brazil’s debt that little focus has been left for the growing unemployment crisis.

Bolsonaro has followed through on his promise to strengthen ties with the U.S. and Israel.

@BrazilianReport / Twitter

These two have gotten along great. No democratic President of Brazil has been so pro-US as Bolsonaro. In March, Bolsonaro traveled to Washington to meet with Trump, and the two were publicly heaping praise for each other on national television.

Most significantly, Bolsonaro has begun weakening environmental restrictions to strengthen his ties with agribusiness.

@tveitdal / Twitter

Bolsonaro is a climate-change denier. He has begun removing environmental protections on a forested coast south of Rio de Janeiro in the hopes of creating “a Cancún of Brazil.” A previous Environmental Minister has called Bolsonaro the “exterminator of the future.”

By the end of January, the administration cleared another 159 pesticides and chemicals for legal sale in the country. By March, the administration began floating the idea of loosening regulations around mining in indigenous territory.

Bolsonaro’s own son has been involved in a corruption scandal.

@AndyVermaut / Twitter

An investigation is currently underway to understand suspicious payments between Senator Flavio Bolsonaro and his former driver. A court allowed Flavio’s banking records to be examined as federal investigators call it a money-laundering investigation. This all comes after Flavio Bolsonaro suddenly purchased at least two luxury apartments in Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile, a movement that alleges Bolsonaro framed former President Lula de Silva on corruption is growing.

@fofunista / Twitter

Many political leaders, including Senator Bernie Sanders, have called on Bolsonaro to release Lula de Silva. All this comes after evidence that shows Bolsonaro may have conspired with prosecutor Sérgio Moro to frame Lula de Silva, which pulled him out of a race that he was projected to win.

The credibility of Bolsonaro’s presidency has gone into question.

@caribbeannewsuk / Twitter

For a man whose campaign was run on effectively draining the swamp, many Brazilians are concerned that the election was rigged by the collaboration of Moro and Bolsonaro. Six months into his Presidency, an investigation is underway.

Still, an estimated 4 million Brazilians rallied in support of Bolsonaro on May 26.

@brazil_fake / Twitter

Approximately 330 cities and initial estimates of 4 million continued loyal supporters rallied for Bolsonaro. They all want a smaller government, clean of corruption.

READ: A Tough On Drugs President Just Had 86 Pounds Of Cocaine Found In One Of His Presidential Airplanes

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Tribes For Amazon Fires

Things That Matter

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Tribes For Amazon Fires

jairmessiasbolsonaro / Instagram

President Jair Bolsonaro is blaming the indigenous community for the fires that raged in the Amazon. The fires set off international outrage as the rainforest faced unprecedented destruction by out of control fires. President Bolsonaro went against the rest of the international community during a speech to the U.N.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants the United Nations to know that indigenous people were responsible for the Amazon fires.

In a remote session opening the U.N. General Assembly, President Bolsonaro spoke at length about the indigenous communities starting the fires. He also used the speech to speak out against the criticism his administration is receiving over his environmental policies and his response to Covid. Brazil is currently the second most infected country in the world with the second highest death rate.

The Amazon has experienced increased fires since President Bolsonaro took office.

For the first seven months of 2020, 13,000 sq. km. (5,019 sq. miles) of the Brazilian rainforest have burned. This year saw the second-highest level of fires on a global scale with fires raging across the Amazon, Australia, and the West Coast of the U.S.

President Bolsonaro openly contradicted expert findings to fit his narrative.

President Bolsonaro claims that the humidity of the forest contains the fires. According to President Bolsonaro’s speech, fires in the Amazon only happen in certain areas because of how well the humidity can keep the fires in check.

“The fires practically occur in the same places, on the east side of the forest, where peasants and Indians burn their fields in already deforested areas,” Bolsonaro said.

President Bolsonaro’s speech touches on the environmental record his administration is known for.

The Bolsonaro administration has made dismantling environmental and indigenous rights since taking power. The administration has worked to limit the amount of land available to indigenous people and to open up Amazonian rainforest to miners, loggers, farmers, developers, and other uses that are damaging and contributing to the fires. Deforestation by these industries are largely to blame for the out-of-control wildfires that burned for a very long time in the Brazilian Amazon.

Activists are getting ready to fight for the indigenous community and the rainforest.

“We must denounce this political catastrophe that destroys the environment and our future,” Sonia Guajajara, head of Brazil’s main Indigenous umbrella organization, to NBC News.

READ: Under Bolsonaro, The Brazilian Amazon Has Reached Record-Breaking Levels Of Deforestation

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Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Entertainment

Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Mike Windler / Getty Images

Ricky Martin has long been an international superstar – even long before ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ took over virtually every airway in the world. But it’s hard to deny that with that song, the Puerto Rican singer entered the global mainstream and ever since he’s been a pop icon.

From being one of the first major pop stars to publicly come out as gay, to acting in popular TV series, and getting married and becoming a father of four, Ricky Martin has always been a very busy man.

And despite a global pandemic that has forced all of us to stay at home and find a ‘new normal,’ Martin has forged a path forward. He recently sat down for an interview with Billboard to discuss everything from new music, the global Coronavirus pandemic, and his identity as an out and proud gay Latino.

Considering we’re all still living amid a global pandemic, the Billboard interview started on this very relevant topic.

Billboard points out that Martin and his family live in a very big and beautiful house in Beverly Hills, which likely makes staying at home a bit easier compared to the rest of us. However, Martin points out that he has a very loud home – with four kids and his mom all living under one roof. But he admits, “…I am very lucky. I am in a comfortable home where my kids can play.”

Ricky Martin is also working on new music. He released Pausa in May, and now as he works on new music the world is a very different place. He told Billboard: “I started working on my music maybe nine months ago. In my mind, the album was going to be called Movimiento, which means movement. But with all this [pandemic], it just told me… “The way it was, was not working. Let’s do it differently.” I have music with rhythm, but I was not going to tell people to move! So I named it Pausa.”

He also speaks about his close relationship with fellow Puerto Rican, El Conejo Malo.

Shortly after Billboard released its history-making cover with Bad Bunny on the the cover, Martin described San Benito as a “Latin queer icon.” Many people – of all backgrounds – took issue with that. But Ricky Martin tells Billboard that “allies are so important. Without them, our fight for equality is impossible. It really tickles me to see Bad Bunny as a gay icon — just like Cher could be. Why not?”

The Puerto Rican singer shared what his coming out experience was like and reveals he never tires of sharing it.

In the interview, Martin is very open about his coming out as gay. The singer came out as gay in 2010, married husband Jwan Yosef in 2017, and together the couple is raising four children.

Rolling Stone asked Martin, 48, what it was like to remain closeted during “the most public, exposed period” of his life.

“I had moments of extreme positivity, and not so positive [moments],” Martin answered. “Life was a bit on steroids in those days. Everything was really intense, but I could take it! I come from a school of military discipline when it comes to training for music, dance, and acting. I started when I was 12. So for me, it was about not being ready to open [up]. When you open an egg from the outside, what comes out is death. But when the egg opens from the inside, what comes out is life. It’s something that needs to come from within. Every time someone forces someone to come out, what you’re doing is you’re destroying the natural flow of the self-discovery.”

When asked what motivated him to come out publicly, Martin said that a kid somewhere in America needs to see positive headlines about coming out.

“Today I woke up to this beautiful headline that I know someone out there is in need of. The headline was something like, ‘I came out. And ever since I’ve been the happiest.’ Something like that, something… My heart is beating faster because I know today a kid somewhere in America woke up needing to hear those words. A lot of people say they get tired of talking about the same thing. Why would I? Are you kidding me? For so many years I had to keep it inside. And then the effect of someone… What people are getting from it in their healing process?”

Billboard also asked Martin his feelings on how the media is profiting and accepting Puerto Rican and Latinx culture.

When asked if he feels that the American media has gotten better or more open to understanding Puerto Rican culture, Martin responded: “We certainly have a long way to go, but the important thing is that we see that there’s an audience that is interested. And it’s up to us to bring [the] education.”

And he’s absolutely right. This year has seen several Latino artists rise to the top of all sorts of charts. Bad Bunny and J Balvin are among the most streamed artists globally and Bad Bunny is one of the most streamed artists on YouTube as well.

Meanwhile, Maluma and Jennifer Lopez are working on a film that will be out early next year. The Emmy’s, VMAs, and other award shows finally had decent representation of artists of color – particularly among the Latinx community.

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