Things That Matter

This Is What Brazilians Think Of President Bolsonaro One Year Into His Presidency

When Jair Bolsonaro was elected as Brazil’s new president people around the world scratched their head in disbelief. He was hailed as “the Brazilian Trump” and newspaper headlines highlighted the return of the far-right in South American politics. Let us remember that previous to the Bolsonaro era Brazil had been governed by the progressive governments of Lula Da Silva and Dilma Roussef, who later were accused and indicted for corruption, accusations that up to this date their fiercest followers deny. So in a climate of political unrest and deep divisions within Brazilian society Jair Bolsonaro was elected. 

Just to give you an idea of what Bolsonaro’s politics are, this is a fast and furious summary.

Credit: Isac Nobrera / Brazilian National Archive

He is: pro-gun, anti-indigenous, misogynist, homophobic, far-right, allied to the most conservative religious groups, anti-press, anti-arts. If you have an ounce of humanity and lead a compassionate life, Bolsonaro is everything that you are not. 

So what do people think of him? Tom Phillips, Dom Phillips and Jonathan Watts over at The Guardian interviewed six prominent Brazilians to gather their views on what life is like in the country under the Bolsonaro administration. 

Djamila Ribeiro, feminist philosopher, publisher and activist says: “We feel really afraid of the intensifying repression of the black population and the increasing militarisation of the favelas.”

It is no secret that Brazil has very complex racial politics, particularly when it comes to its Black population. Bolsonaro has perpetuated cruel stereotypes about Black Brazilians and racists feel validated (sounds familiar?). Ribeiro is at least a bit positive, though, as she says: “If there’s a positive side to this government, it’s that issues of race and gender have never been talked about so much”. 

Patrícia Campos Mello, award-winning journalist, says: “There hadn’t been any kind of censorship since the end of the military dictatorship [in 1985] – and now we’ve started to see a gradual erosion of freedom of expression.”

As has happened in the United States and other Western democracies that have seen the rise of populist politics, the press has been the de facto enemy. Journalists in Brazil feel threatened. To add insult to injury, fake news is now a common denominator in the Brazilian political landscape. 

Celso Amorim, former foreign minister, says about Brazilian diplomacy under Bolsonaro: “It’s not very different from the US state department under Trump – only more exaggerated, more ridiculous.”

This veteran diplomat has some very harsh words for the Bolsonaro presidency, and even says he feels ashamed. He adds: “Now it has embarked upon an all-out ideological war against everything that is not western or Christian – according to their conception”. So yes, Bolsonaro’s war escapes the confines of Brazil and determines the country’s relationship to the world. Nice. 

Gustavo Bebianno, former Bolsonaro ally, says: “You can agree with him about 99 things. But if you disagree on one and argue or try to offer another point of view, you are seen as a traitor.”

It is often the case that allies and collaborators of politicians who situate themselves in one of the extremes of the political spectrum become disenchanted once the politician is in power. Such is the case of Bebianno, who claims that Bolsonaro is surrounded by radicals and that the administration has become a sort of sect where anything can be judged as treason. 

Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, indigenous intellectual, shaman and author, says: “Bolsonaro is a garimpeiro [illegal miner]. He wants more land and fewer Indians.”

Perhaps the population that has suffered the most under Bolsonaro are indigenous Brazilians. Bolsonaro has shown zero respect for their way of life and their relationship with the environment. His timid response to the Amazon fires revealed a pro-industry and neo-colonial perspective in which anything goes in the name of business.

As Davi Kopenawa Yanomami expands: ““In our culture, we don’t damage the river and trees. We care for the forest. But the miners just bring destruction. Who is getting rich from this? It’s not regular Brazilians in the cities. It’s politicians who are selling the wealth of Brazil to foreigners.”

Karine Teles, actor, says: “For Brazilian cinema, 2019 represented a gigantic pause. Nothing advanced. Everything was suspended.”

Regimes that risk becoming totalitarian usually start cutting funding for the arts. Brazilian cinema has been healthy for a few years now, both in terms of revenue and in artistic innovation. However, the Bolsonaro government is attempting to restrict the type of content that is produced with public money, which is a form of censorship.

Teles expands: “I think it’s an attempt to restrict the content of films. But our country is still a democracy where things work in a certain way. No leader – a mayor, a governor, or president – has the right to impose their personal tastes on the entire population.”

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Things That Matter

An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Guillermo Gutierrez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Culture

A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

abcpartyhq / Instagram

Sen. Ted Cruz has reached peak infamy with a piñata in his honor. People have been turned into piñatas over the years for both good and bad reasons. The Cruz piñata serves as a reminder of the senator’s attempt to flee the brutal Texas winter crisis.

A Texas party store is selling piñatas of Sen. Ted Cruz and people are into it.

Piñatas are always the centerpiece of a fun party and they are even more exciting when they are topical. One party shop in Texas is riding on the wave of local and national news criticizing Sen. Cruz to cash in.

Last week Sen. Cruz was caught boarding a United flight to Cancún, Mexico to escape the winter storm devastating Texas. As millions of Texans survived without water and power, the Cruz family booked a Mexican getaway to warmer weather and reliable electricity.

At first, Sen. Cruz tried to blame his daughters for fleeing Texas as his constituents suffered from the weather. He soon changed his story and claimed that he realized he had made a mistake as soon as he sat down on the plane waiting to depart from Houston.

Finally, after days of speculation, someone came forward and leaked text messages from Sen. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Turns out, according to the texts, that the Cruz family was actively planning a vacation to avoid the snowstorm. According to the texts, the Cruz family was trying to convince neighbors and friends to join them so they can get out of their freezing house. The criticism amplified when it was reported that the Cruz family left the family dog behind as they fled to Mexico.

People are eager to get their hands on a Sen. Cruz piñata.

Families have been in quarantine for almost a year and they are hitting a wall. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is no surprise that people would want to have something to do together outdoors. Seems that a lot of people would like a piñata party to celebrate the bad weather slowly moving out.

There are even some people asking for different people made as piñatas.

You never know unless you ask, right? Never hurts to try to make your own request to better your birthday. It seems that the party store is able to make various different piñatas. The party store made a piñata after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ famous mitten moment at President Biden’s inauguration.

READ: Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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