Things That Matter

Brazil’s President Told A Reporter He Had A “Homosexual’s Face” At A Truly Bizarre Press Conference

Brazil’s LGBTQ+ community has faced significant challenges in the past few years. The primarily Catholic country tends to experience high levels of homophobia based on religious dogma. Trans women in Brazil are not only discriminated against, but also harmed and murdered at dramatic rates, some of the highest in the world. Added to this, the far-right is back in power and Jair Bolsonaro, a businessman who many compare to Donald J Trump for his populist discourse and extreme conservative views, is the president.

Like Trump, Bolsonaro often blames the media for everything, Bolsonaro is particularly wary of the conglomerate Globo (like Trump is, say, of CNN). He has constantly accused the media of bias and also made derogatory comments against women and minorities. His mishandling of the Amazon fires and the imperialist approach he has to indigenous communities are also infamous. 

Bolsonaro is outspoken and sometimes seems to just wing it in speeches, saying outrageous things that are both often half-truths and testament to his intransigent worldview (does it sound eerily familiar?). A recent episode evidences just how deeply flawed Bolsonaro’s views on diversity are and how threatening the current sociopolitical climate is for LGBTQ+ Brazilians is. 

So during a press conference Bolsonaro was asked about his son’s alleged acts of corruption.

Credit: EuroNews / Giphy

Brazil, after all, is part of Latin America, a region where politicians and presidents are infamous for being either corrupt or having shady family or friends. So one would assume that the Brazilian president would know how to respond to questions about corruption among his family members. It literally is the bread and butter of Latin American politics.

Well, Bolsonaro was confronted by a reporter, who asked him about his son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, and claims that point to institutional corruption that leads to him.

As The Telegraph UK reports, during a heated exchange “Mr Bolsonaro accused the press of bias against him and his son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, who is being investigated by prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro over allegations that he hired staff with no duties while he was a state legislator.”

The Senator has also been accused of hiring “ghost workers” in the past. The younger Bolsonaro has denied these allegations and conservative groups in Brazil point towards a left-wing, Lula-supporting conspiracy against the Bolsonaro administration. 

So did the president keep his cool? Nah! He lashed out against the reporter saying he had “a homosexual’s face”. Yes, he went there! Like, WTF dude?

Think about the worst that a politician can say and you will not even be close to what Bolsonaro told the reporter. Ready? Here it goes: “Your face looks an awful lot like a homosexual’s, but that’s no reason to accuse you of being a homosexual.”

Let’s unpack this a little bit: he basically argued that there is a “homosexual” type of face (which is the first sign of discrimination, which starts with generalizations) and he implied that homosexuality is wrong, something that people can be “accused” of. His supporters and staff laughed as he said this, while the opposition took on social media to post head shots of themselves with the caption “homosexual face”.

Bolsonaro is famous for his incendiary comments, of course, as The Telegraph reminds us: “Mr Bolsonaro has a history of making derogatory remarks about women, gay people and racial minorities, including on last year’s campaign trail, though such comments have been less frequent since he took office at the beginning of this year.” It seems like his PR team is trying to reign him in, but he sometimes goes off script and chaos follows.

But what on Earth is a “homosexual’s face”? Perhaps this?

Mr Bolsonaro, Ricky Martin is definitely much hotter than you, you gotta give him that. If this is a “homosexual face” then, damn, that reporter is lucky. 

What about this gorgeous queer face?

Miss Spain Patricia Yurena has come out as gay. Is this what you meant by a “homosexual’s face”, Mr Bolsonaro?

Or perhaps the mug of Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz?

We wonder if Bolsonaro, or anyone in his circle for that matter, would dare to mock Cruz based on him being gay. He packs a mean punch! Orlando came out a few years ago and rocked a sport which is based on a very set idea of what masculinity is. The boxing community was surprisingly supportive and homophobic comments were highly criticized. 

Are these faces in Sao Paolo what you would describe as “homosexual”, Mr Bolsonaro?

Credit: VamosGay.com

We got a question for you, Jair. Are you as proud about yourself as these brave Brazilians? Nah, we didn’t think so. 

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People Have A Lot Of Opinions About The Argentina Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Street Food: Latin America’

Culture

People Have A Lot Of Opinions About The Argentina Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Street Food: Latin America’

Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images

Netflix has a new food show out and it has everyone buzzing. “Street Food: Latin America” is bringing everyone the sabor of Latin America to their living room. However, reviews are mixed because of Argentina and the lack of Central American representation.

Netflix has a new show and it is all about Latin American street food.

Some of the best food in the world comes from Latin America. That is just a fact and it isn’t because our families and community come for Latin America. Okay, maybe just a little. The food of Latin America comes with history and stories that have shaped our childhood. For many of us, it is the only thing we have that connects us to the lands our families have left.

The show is highlighting the contributions of women to street food.

“Street Food: Latin America” focuses mainly on the women that are leading the street food cultures in different countries in Latin America. For some of them, it was a chance to bring themselves out of poverty and care for their children. For others, it was a rebellion against the male-dominated culture of cooking in Latin America.

However, some people have some strong opinions about the show and they aren’t good.

There is a lot of attention to native communities in the Latino community culturally right now. The Argentina episode where someone claims that Argentina is more European is rubbing people the wrong way right now. While the native population of Argentina is small, it is still important to highlight and honor native communities who are indigenous to the lands.

The disregard for the indigenous community is upsetting because indigenous Argentinians are fighting for their lives and land.

An A Jazeera report focused on an indigenous community in northern Argentina who were fighting to protect their land. After decades of discrimination and humiliation, members of the Wichi community fought to protect their land from the Argentinian government grabbing it in 2017. Early this year, before Covid, children of the tribe started to die at alarming rates of malnutrition.

Another pain point in the Latino community is the complete disregard of Central America.

Central America includes Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, and Panama. Central America’s exclusion is not sitting right with Netflix users with Central American heritage. Like, how can five whole countries be looked over during a Netflix show about street food in Latin America?

Seems like there is a chance for Netflix to revisit Latin America for more food content.

There are so many countries in Latin America that offer delicious foods to the world. There is more to Latin America than Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia.

READ: This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

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Brazil’s Remote Indigenous Communities Are At Risk Of Covid-19 After Healthcare Workers Test Positive

Things That Matter

Brazil’s Remote Indigenous Communities Are At Risk Of Covid-19 After Healthcare Workers Test Positive

Michael Dantas / Getty Images

The Coronavirus pandemic has been ravaging Brazilian cities for months. In fact, Brazil is number two in the world when it comes to both deaths and infections. Cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have struggled to carry on as much of the economy and the health care system has collapsed. Many have attributed these dire conditions as consequences of President Bolsonaro’s failed policies.

Now, Brazil’s remote Indigenous communities are facing a similar crisis – although one that could be even worse thanks to a severe lack of access to medical care. A team of medical workers sent to protect the country’s native populations has actually done the opposite – as more than a thousands workers test positive for the virus and have spread it among remote tribes.

For months, as the Coronavirus tore through Brazil, Indigenous tribes across the vast country have tried to protect themselves by strictly limiting access to their villages. Some have setup armed roadblocks and others have hunkered down in isolated camps.

But it appears that all of that may have been in vain. According to interviews and federal data obtained by The New York Times, the health workers charged by the federal government with protecting the country’s Indigenous populations may be responsible for spreading the disease in several Indigenous communities. More than 1,000 workers with the federal Indigenous health service, known as Sesai, have tested positive for Coronavirus as of early July.

As news of the infections spread across the villages, communities became alarmed. “Many people grabbed some clothes, a hammock and ran into the forest to hide,” said Thoda Kanamari, a leader of the union of Indigenous peoples in the vast territory, home to groups with little contact with the outside world. “But it was too late, everyone was already infected.”

Health workers say they have been plagued by insufficient testing and protective gear. Working without protective equipment or access to enough tests, these workers may have inadvertently endangered the very communities they were trying to help.

Now, news of the region’s first deaths linked to the virus have started to emerge and there’s fear it will get much worse.

Credit: Tarso Sarraf / Getty Images

The remote villages that dot the Amazon region have also started to report their very first deaths linked to Coronavirus. Despite raging out of control in Brazil’s cities, remote Indigenous villages have faired quite well. That’s all beginning to change.

The Amazon region, which Brazil’s government says is home to greatest concentration of isolated Indigenous groups in the world, is now seeing an outbreak of Covid-19 – one that many fear will be hard to stop. Experts fear the new coronavirus could spread rapidly among people with less resistance even to already common diseases and limited access to health care, potentially wiping out some smaller groups.

So far, more than 15,500 Indigenous Brazilians have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, including at least 10,889 living in protected territories, according to Instituto Socioambiental, an Indigenous rights organization. At least 523 have died.

The alarming news comes as Brazil continues to struggle in its response to the pandemic.

Credit: Michael Dantas / Getty Images

With nearly 2.1 million confirmed cases and more than 80,000 deaths, as of July 22, Brazil’s Covid-19 catastrophe is the world’s second worst, after the United States.

And now an illness that has ravaged major cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo is at risk of spreading unchecked in some of the county’s most vulnerable communities. Health care workers, Indigenous leaders and experts blame major shortcomings that have turned Brazil into a global epicenter of the pandemic.

Robson Santos da Silva, the Army colonel at the head of Sesai, defended the agency’s response during the pandemic, and brushed off criticism as “a lot of disinformation, a lot of politics.”

Complicating the outbreak in Brazil’s remote villages (and even in the large cities) is that tests have been in short supply and often unreliable, which means some doctors and nurses with asymptomatic or undiagnosed cases have traveled to vulnerable communities and worked in them for days.

Criticism of President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic, within Indigenous territories and beyond, is mounting.

Brazil has largely struggled to contain the pandemic thanks to the policies of its populist right-wing president who has denounced the pandemic as nothing more than a “little flu.” Within a couple of months of the initial outbreak, Bolsonaro lost two health ministers – who were physicians – and replaced them with an Army general who has no experience in health care.

And the backlash to Bolsonaro’s failed policies seems to be growing. Early this month, a judge on Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered the government to redouble efforts to shield Indigenous people from the virus by coming up with a comprehensive plan within 30 days and setting up a “situation room” staffed by officials and Indigenous representatives.

More recently, another Supreme Court judge generated consternation in the Bolsonaro administration by warning that the armed forces could be held responsible for a “genocide” over their handling of the pandemic in Indigenous communities.

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