Hello this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. Today I will talk about the new President of Brazil who was elected last Sunday the 28th of October. Mr. Jair Bolsonaro is 63 years old and he will assume the office of president of Brazil on January 1, 2019. It’s important to know who our neighbors are and what they are up to and Brazil is one of our most important southern neighbors.
Jair Bolsonaro and his values
Jair Bolsonaro is a retired military officer from the artillery and parachute divisions of the Brazilian army and has been in government service in one office or another, including 6 terms in Congress, since his retirement and transfer to the reserves in 1988. He was born in Brazil but his background is Italian with a little German and Portuguese thrown into the mix. His grandfather and great grandfather were Italians as were his maternal grandparents.
The reason he is sometimes compared to Donald Trump and referred to as the Trump of the Tropics will become clearer but essentially they share some views and they also share the hatred of some of the same people, especially the media. The idea that a fair election could be held in Brazil and then the loser say OK we lost fair and square but we are all Brazilians and we will stand together is no more likely to occur in Brazil that it is in America.
From nomination to election
On July 22, 2018 Jair Bolsonaro was officially nominated by his Party as its presidential candidate for the 2018 election. His coalition was called “God Above All”. His candidacy was contested by two separate lawsuits but the Superior Electoral Court of Brazil deferred them and his candidacy was made official on August 6. Antonio Mourao, a retired army general, was selected as his vice presidential running mate.
Early in the campaign he had an aggressive and confrontational tone which he used to build quite a comfortable lead in the polls. The final margin of victory was approximately 55 to 45 percent. He ran on a platform of fierce opposition to socialism, and communism, as well as a preference of Taiwan over China. Those views left the supporters of his socialist opponent, Fernando Haddad, with very little that they could relate to, because they could see that if Bolsonaro won it would no longer be business as usual in Brazil.
A mandate against corruption
Jair Bolsonaro was elected with a strong mandate to do something about corruption just as Mr. Obrador was recently elected in Mexico. Brazil has a reputation of being one of the most corrupt and most violent countries in the Western Hemisphere and the Brazilian people are finally starting to listen to people who at least say they will address it. His views are also very nationalist, pro-Brazil or what one could call Brazil first. He is pro-business, anti-regulation, and pro-privatization of state assets. At least in Brazil they actually call them what they are, state assets. Here in America we would call them public assets.
The press hates him but the people love him
It remains to be seen how severe the backlash is and whether that backlash will take over his views and affect his ability to fulfill the mandate given to him by the voters of Brazil. His appeal to the masses of Brazilians lies in his populist roots. Just as with Donald Trump he is seen as an outsider and a populist. Although very wealthy, Mr. Trump was able to use his wealth to advantage by saying he would fund his own campaign etc. thus part of his appeal was “I’m not for sale.”
Jair Bolsonaro emerged from the lower officer ranks of the military to serve in Congress after Brazil’s twenty year long dictatorship. He is always referred to as radical, far right, fascist, and the like by the press in Brazil and America. Just as with the Trump campaign, the press is clearly not only, not neutral, but it campaigns openly for the opposition. Just like Donald Trump he stands by his views and doesn’t moderate his views very much although he has moderated some of them such as the ways he would crack down on crime and his anti-homosexual rhetoric. No matter how desperately the opposition and the press demand that the people agree with their views, candidates such as Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump resonate with the people.
Part of a pattern
Nations around the world are starting to turn to politicians who will promise to defend them from the socialist, corrupt, high tax, high immigration business as usual types that have been foisted on them for the last 40 or 50 years. Those who hold traditional values feel threatened and are becoming more desperate each day to preserve what they believe to be right.
Jair Bolsonaro sums up his position as “Brazil before everything, and God above all.” That’s seems to be a message that Catholic Brazilians were ready to listen to. It brought him a decisive victory and an easy defeat of his socialist opponent. He promised that he would “break the system”. He will root out corruption in the highest levels of government and business, and he will bring under control the severe rise in violent crime that seems to be growing worse yearly.
President Trump tweeted that he had a very good conversation with President elect Bolsonaro and “we agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on trade, military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats.” So like Mr. Trump he is a political outsider, he’s proud of that and let’s everyone know it. He has strong ties to the military and strong military support.
A controversial past history
He has a past history of views seen by some as offensive regarding homosexuals, and Brazil’s black people. Some supporters welcome his inflammatory rhetoric while others scramble to spin it away. I haven’t bothered to set out the examples here for you but some of the things he is quoted as having said during his 6 terms in the Congress are pretty outlandish.
His views are a little too close to Brazil’s former military dictatorship to suit his opponents and the press. He seems to wax eloquent when discussing the military rule of Brazil which existed from the mid 1960’s until the mid 1980’s but many were tortured by the secret police under that regime and many people still remember. The Brazilian people are obviously ready for an end to violence and corruption and when he promises that he will no longer tolerate it the people are willing to hand him the reins.
He was also elected because he is seen as a hardliner who will take on corruption head on, as he will take on rising crime rates. Quite simply, he promises to fix what ails the country. Whether it’s high crime or a faltering economy and unemployment Jair Bolsonaro says he will fix it.
An unpopular establishment
Outgoing President Michel Temer, is very unpopular. He took over after Dilma Rousseff was impeached for corruption. She came to Brazilian politics after early stints with various European terror groups where she was reportedly involved in robbing banks to finance terror operations. Brazil has a rather colorful history to its politics but it is still one of the most important countries in the Western Hemisphere and it would serve us well to pay attention to it.
So this man Jair Bolsonaro has suffered for his efforts to win the nomination of his party and then to win the presidency of Brazil. The groups we have come to know as the establishment or deep state opposed him. The media in Brazil and America opposed him, and the tech giants such as Face book banned and censored his supporters. Social media was his friend and ally, however, and his followers used it as they were able to communicate and build support. A leftist assassin put a dagger into him and he almost died but he didn’t and now he’s the president-elect of Brazil
After President Trumps call to him he tweeted, “We have just received a call from US President Donald J. Trump congratulating us on this historic election! We wish to bring these two great nations closer together and to advance on the path of freedom and prosperity.”
Well I congratulate you as well Mr. Bolsonaro and I share the desire you expressed that our two countries work toward freedom and prosperity.
At least that’s the way I see it.
Until next time folks,
This is Darrell Castle.
Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at castlereport.us
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