Dreams of Dictatorship and the Nightmare of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, as well as the largest economic force in South America. One of the most diverse societies globally (with a population over 211 million people) is now being led by a man who promotes military dictatorship, violence against political opponents, and strengthening the rule of the rich at the expense of the poor and the oppressed.

Wrapping himself in the Brazilian flag (figuratively speaking), Bolsonaro preached a political gospel of liberating the country from socialism, from “gender ideology,” and from “political correctness” with his inaugural speech on January 1, 2019. He called on “each congressperson to help me in the mission of rebuilding and restoring our homeland.” The term “homeland” here has more sinister connotations than “patriotic populism”—it’s a move into fascist territory. His vision of a country “whitened by iron and fire” is a more obvious example of such rhetoric.

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