Things That Matter

Brazil’s President Openly Admits That This Super Right-Wing Personality From Virginia Influenced His Politics

With over 750,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, Virginia based Olavo de Carvalho has become a siren caller for the conservative right in Brazil. When Carvalho first moved to Virginia from his home of Brazil, he was unfamiliar with the American right-wing culture. Since his move, he’s taken up hunting, donned cowboy hats, and enjoyed the liberties of lax gun laws in the U.S. He’s also been listening to a lot of Rush Limbaugh, and is effectively serving as the Brazilian, Portuguese-speaking spokesperson for Limbaugh’s ideology.

Without American conservative politics, as we know it, there wouldn’t be an Olavo de Carvalho. Without Carvalho, Jair Bolsonaro likely wouldn’t be the current President of Brazil.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

Carvalho is a published author on a range of topics from astrology to literature to philosophy. Once he harnessed his own social media platforms, his conspiracy theories spread, along with his ideology. He has published 32 books, many of which are just collections of his publications. 

Carvalho is proud to be a “self-taught” philosopher and his expansive library alludes to his way of thinking.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / YouTube

His study is filled to the brim with philosophical texts. Like many Virginians, he has more than one rifle and boasts of the animals he’s hunted and killed. Like many Catholic Latinos, every room has a space for a crucifix.

Bolsonaro’s own son, Eduardo, credits Carvalho as a critical influencer in his father’s rise to power.

Credit: @AndrewDFish / Twitter

“We couldn’t have won the election without Olavo,” Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo said in March. “Without Olavo, there would be no President Bolsonaro.” That’s a pretty bold statement, and it’s not without truth.

Eduardo even traveled to Virginia to take a private class with Carvalho in 2013.

Credit: @reaconaria / Twitter

Since then, the Bolsonaros and Carvalho began a critical relationship that has affected all of Brazil. Jair and Olavo have been in both private and very public communication like YouTube published video discussions. Now, Carvalho gets the seat beside Bolsonaro at official dinners at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington.

Bolsonaro is such a fan of Carvalho’s political thinking, he’s awarded him the highest civilian honor during a top-shelf ceremony.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

In May of this year, Bolsonaro gathered the country’s vice president and justice minister to award Carvalho one of Brazil’s highest honors. In Bolsonaro’s first Facebook live video as President, he pictured one of Carvalho’s books within the frame, signaling the clear influence Carvalho has had on his politics.

At one point, there were rumors that Carvalho would be nominated as the Brazilian ambassador to the United States.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

That did not come into fruition because of Carvalho’s own divisive rhetoric. Carvalho created an enemy out of Vice President Mourão by calling him a “traitor,” “idiot” and accused him of being “pro-abortion, pro-disarmament and pro-Nicolas Maduro.” All of these clashes pulled him out of the running to become an ambassador. 

To be clear, Carvalho’s intellectual contemporaries include the likes of Steve Bannon.

Credit: @Edourdoo / Twitter

Between the two of them, conspiracy theories about the fallacy of climate change and the false concept that the Inquisition never happened have been spread across the Americas. Carvalho also helped spread the lie that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., and spread a rumor that Bolsonaro’s opponent promoted incest. 

Carvalho has spoken out against what he calls “gayzismo,” or ‘gayism’ as a threat to society.

Credit: Olavo de Carvalho / Facebook

He says that it is ‘incompatible’ with democracy. In his political philosophy, democracy first (and seemingly only) serves the majority. So if a trans person needs to pee in the bathroom that matches their gender, and it conflicts with the values of the majority, his version of democracy leans toward the majority. Democracy is majority rule, even in relation to basic human rights.

In many ways, Carvalho is to Bolsonaro as Fox & Friends is to Trump.

Credit: @ernestofaraujo / Twitter

Bolsonaro regards Carvalho’s opinion in the highest regard. So high, in fact, folks have called Carvalho the guru and “ideologue” of Bolsonaro. Carvalho has rejected these claims, though they have certainly fed his ego. In a recent interview, he told The Washington Post reporters, “I’m the most-read writer in Brazil. . . . I’m a tremendous writer.” He’s certainly being read by the right people.

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

An Abuelito Makes Dolls With Vitiligo To Build Self-Esteem In Kids With The Skin Condition And If This Isn’t The Sweetest Thing I Don’t Know What is

Culture

An Abuelito Makes Dolls With Vitiligo To Build Self-Esteem In Kids With The Skin Condition And If This Isn’t The Sweetest Thing I Don’t Know What is

JoaoStanganelli / Instagram

Brazilian grandfather João Stanganelli learned to crochet with one goal in mind: to uplift the self-esteem of children with vitiligo. Stanganelli began to show signs of the skin condition when he was 38. Vitiligo causes the loss of skin color in blotches and can affect any part of the body. 

“Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself,” according to the Mayo Clinic. 

While some of the possible symptoms listed are sunburn, susceptibility to skin cancer, eye problems, and hearing loss, professionals also note that one of the most difficult issues is a social stigma which can lead to low self-esteem or other psychological issues. 

Fortunately, abuelo João Stanganelli is out here putting smiles on children’s faces and reminding them that they look absolutely perfect. 

A new beginning

Stanganelli began to show signs of vitiligo when he was 38. However, it wasn’t until last year, at 64, that he began this amazing project. After losing his job in the gastronomy industry due to a heart condition, Stanganelli wanted to keep busy while he was at home. He and his wife Marilena took up crocheting together. At first, it proved to be difficult, causing him to develop calluses on his fingers. But after five days of practice, Stanganelli crocheted his first doll. 

A tiny idea becomes a big one

While he only intended to create something to pass onto his granddaughter, things quickly snowballed.

“I decided to make the doll for my granddaughter, and wanted something that she would remember about her grandfather,” he told Romper.

Stanganelli decided to crochet her a doll that looked like him, one with two skin tones. However, photos of his adorable doll began to circulate – people wanted in. 

A new way to honor children’s differences

Parents of children with vitiligo wanted a doll for their little ones, but they weren’t the only group that wanted to be seen. Others began to request dolls with a wheelchair, hearing aids, blindness, alopecia, and other differences. They wanted their children to see themselves, and it’s not like there were many options on the market. 

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but just take a look at one of the comments on this doll with a wheelchair, “This is so beautiful it just made me cry. My Jenna has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. You truly are so awesome for all you do sir. May God bless you over and over.” 

“These are beautiful. I’ve had vitiligo since my mid-40s. My face, chest, back, neck and some on my arms. It is a, “how did this happen” disease. These are a beautiful way for ppl to converse abt this so others understand. God bless you Joao,” another person wrote.

Difference is beauty

“The spots I have are beautiful. What hurts me are the flaws in peoples’ characters,” Stanganelli told CTV News. Kids and parents have told him that the dolls are “helping with their self-esteem.” Just more proof that representation matters, especially to those most vulnerable. 

It’s no secret that kids can be particularly cruel about differences, Stanganelli is providing children with an honorable service — a little taste of what it feels like to be represented just like anybody else. Sometimes the ordinary can you make feel extraordinary. 

“Vitiligo can be life-altering… Some people develop low self-esteem. They may no longer want to hang out with friends. They can develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Redefining beauty

Stanganelli’s dolls come at a time where people with vitiligo are embracing their unique aesthetic rather than covering it up. The Brazilian children’s book Menina Feita de Nuvens, or “the girl made of clouds,” tells the story of a little girl with a superpower: vitiligo. 

Models like Winnie Harlow, Breanne Rice, and Ash Soto have brought vitiligo to the mainstream of fashion. 

“Female models with vitiligo now appear regularly on designer runways and in advertising campaigns, empowering those who once hid behind the makeup to use these tools to enhance their individuality. Women with vitiligo who span the spectrum, including White models with vitiligo and Black models with vitiligo, are expanding the public’s definition of what it means to be attractive,” writes Anna Papachristos for APlus

If you would like to purchase a custom crocheted doll, please reach out to Stanganelli and his wife on Facebook

The Violence Against Women In Brazil Is Escalating And A New Study Shows That Girls Under 13 Are Being Targeted

Things That Matter

The Violence Against Women In Brazil Is Escalating And A New Study Shows That Girls Under 13 Are Being Targeted

jairmessiasbolsonaro / fepaesleme / Instagram

A troubling study is highlighting the horrible state of women’s safety in Brazil. This time, a non-governmental organization found that girls under the age of 13 are facing a horrific trend of rapes within the South American country. Here is what the study by the Brazilian Forum of Public Security found.

A new study shows that four girls under 13 are raped every hour in Brazil.

Credit: Saulo Cruz / Flickr

The study also found that police receive a call every two minutes to report a violent attack against a woman. The study shows a very troubling side of one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

“Brazil is still one of the most dangerous places in the world for women,” Valeria Scarance, a public prosecutor, told Brazilian newspaper Globo’s Jornal Nacional. “And the most dangerous place for a woman is her own home.”

To make matters worse, the Brazilian government has been stripping away crucial places of safety for women. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in 2017, the Brazilian government closed 23 shelters for victims fo domestic violence citing budget cuts as the reason. The following year, Jair Bolsonaro was elected as president and it sparked fear and outrage throughout the country. At the start of 2018, the HRC also found that 1.2 million domestic violence cases were pending before courts throughout the country.

The violence against women in Brazil has been at the forefront of Brazilian protests for years, even before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Credit: @StylistMagazine / Twitter

In the lead up to one of the largest sporting event in the world, Brazilians protested to warn potential tourists of the crimes being committed. The famous Copacabana Beach was filled with panties and images of women who have been sexually assaulted in Brazil.

Brazilians highlighted the death of a 17-year-old girl at the hands of a group of men to warn tourists of the dangers of being in the country.

The election of Jair Bolsonaro reignited the efforts of protesters across the country to bring attention to the violence women face every day in Brazil.

Bolsonaro, like President Trump, energized the far-right of Brazil. Minority groups, women, and the indigenous defenders tried to warn the nation against electing Bolsonaro are the president of Brazil to no avail. Since taking office, Bolsonaro has attacked women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, environmental rights, and anything you can really think of.

In one display of troubling rhetoric, Bolsonaro told a congresswoman that she was not worthy of being raped. He made the statement on Brazil’s TV Globo and stated he wasn’t worth rape because she was too ugly, sparking outrage.

As the world deals with injustices at the hands of apathetic governments, Brazilians are trying to fight to save women.

Credit: @Prynces11 / Twitter

The violence against women is startling in Brazil. Only time will tell if Brazilians will be able to put enough pressure on the nation’s leaders to exact the change they want to see for women’s rights.

READ: Indigenous Women Of Brazil Are Refusing To Keep Quiet Over The Country’s President’s Policies