Brazil's wrong turn; Jair Bolsonaro

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Date: Oct. 30, 2018
Publisher: CNW Group Ltd. - Toronto Star Newspapers
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 287 words
Content Level: (Level 3)
Lexile Measure: 1050L

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"No democracy is safe."

Sadly, those alarming words from a spokesperson for French President Emmanuel Macron don't seem hyperbolic in the wake of the victory of yet another right-wing strongman.

Indeed, with his election as president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro joins a growing list of leaders that now includes the likes of Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Vladimir Putin of Russia and - of course - President Donald Trump. His election charts a dangerous course for Brazil and adds to a disturbing trend across several continents. Exaggeration? Sadly not. Consider some of Bolsonaro's more controversial views:

He has called refugees the "scum of the earth" and disparaged Black people. He has said he would rather his son died in an accident than came out as homosexual; that women don't deserve equal work opportunities; that he wouldn't "rape" a fellow lawmaker because she was "not worthy of it"; that he favours torture; and that the solution to violence is more guns.

He says democracy doesn't work, but dictatorships do; that protected Indigenous lands should be developed and environmental protections watered down; that Brazil's Supreme Court should be stacked in his favour; and that his political opponents should be shot.

It's understandable that Brazilians would vote for change. After all, nearly 13 million people there are unemployed and the homicide rate is among the highest in the world (nearly 64,000 people were murdered last year). But it's hard to believe they voted to give up their rights and protections.

Brazil's people must now hope that the country's democratic leaders and institutions stand up to Bolsonaro's more dangerous predilections. It is not only Brazil's future, after all, that is at risk.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A560412991