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

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Things That Matter

Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Photo via Getty Images

It seems like every new product rollout, Apple gets stingier and stingier with what they include with each purchase. And while Brazil has recently been in the headlines for controversial news, this time, they have the public opinion on their side. Standing up for consumers, Brazil is fining Apple for alleged “false advertising”.

On Friday, a consumer watchdog agency announced that Brazil is fining Apple for $2 million. The reason? Not including a charger with the iPhone 12.

According to Procon, the São Paulo-based consumer protection agency, Apple’s decision not to include a charger with the iPhone 12 amounts to “false advertising”. Procon also accused Apple of selling “defective products”, creating unfair contracts for consumers, and failing to repair products that are still under warranty.

Per Brazilian media, Procon contacted Apple last year to ask them why they were now excluding chargers and earbuds. However, the company “never offered a convincing explanation” to the Brazilian agency.

“Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid laws and institutions for consumer protection,” said Procon executive Fernando Capez, explaining why Brazil is fining Apple. “It needs to respect these laws and these institutions.” 

In October of 2020, Apple announced that it would no longer include chargers or earbuds in their iPhone boxes. The company cited “environmental concerns”.

But savvy consumers couldn’t help but be skeptical of Apple’s explanation. Some people thought that Apple’s “environmental decision” was simply a pretense. In reality, they thought it might be a gimmick to take more money from customers under the pretense of environmentalism.

For one, we fail to see how including chargers and earbuds in an iPhone package would help the environment. Wouldn’t individual boxes for each product simply contribute to more waste? We digress….

In general, consumers across the globe can’t help but…agree with Procon.

Anyone who is an Apple devotee (read: prisoner) knows that you can end up feeling trapped as a customer. You become roped into an endless cycle of buying products that seem to be diminishing in quality every year. Not only that, but every year, the iPhone becomes more expensive while customers get less bang for their buck.

But at some point, you feel like you have to buy Apple products. Because of how Apple designs their products, all of the technology you own (laptops, tablets, chargers, etc.) only works with Apple products.

Starting to buy a different brand would be akin to throwing away hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars you’ve already invested in Apple tech. To be an Apple customer is to be stuck in a vicious cycle.

Hopefully, other governments will follow suit. After all, big tech has been taking advantage of consumers for too long.

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