'Far More Dangerous Than Trump': Extremist, Far-Right Bolsonaro Wins Brazil's Presidency
Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil on Sunday. The far-right congressman received more than 55 percent of the vote. His opponent, ex-São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, received less than 45 percent of the vote.
Bolsonaro has already had a phone call from Donald Trump congratulating him on his victory.
“This is a dark day for Brazil; Brazilian democracy is now in complete crisis,” Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot warned tonight. “The international community must help preserve Brazil’s democratic institutions and stand up for the rights of its citizens by letting Bolsonaro know that there will be consequences if he follows through on his dangerous and hateful rhetoric.”
Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on Brazil’s judiciary and other institutions to resist any attempt to undermine human rights, the rule of law, and democracy after the election of Bolsonaro, whom they call a “pro-torture, openly bigoted member of Congress”.
Brazilians are voting Sunday—weighing their hunger for radical change against fears that the presidential front-runner could threaten democracy as they cast ballots after a bitter campaign that was frequently marred by violence.
Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro—often called “Brazil’s Trump”—has won over many voters by painting a picture of a dark Brazil at war—with criminals, corrupt politicians and leftist ideas. But many others fear that electing a populist provocateur notorious for praising Brazil’s 1964-85 military regime and foreign autocrats including Donald Trump, Peru’s Alberto Fujimori and Augusto Pinochet of Chile would send the country into the dark ages. Polls released Satuday gave Bolsonaro an 8-10% advantage over his leftist opponent, Fernando Haddad, although the Workers’ party (PT) candidate had been gaining ground in recent days. Election results expected around 6:00 PM EDT Sunday.
Several key endorsements late Saturday gave Haddad’s camp hope that they could still pull out a victory. “I am confident we can win,” said Haddad after voting. “There are many democratic voices that could have been silent and have spoken in our favor.”
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters risked arrest Saturday night during his next to last show in Brazil, when he urged people to stop right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro just seconds before he would violated election laws. Waters has been touring in Brazil with his Us+Them tour since October 9th and had performed six shows in the country before Saturday night’s show in Curitiba. At all of his Brazilian concerts, Waters, known for his progressive views, decried neo-fascists, listing among them US President Donald Trump, Hungarian President Viktor Orban, and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Shortly before the show, an Electoral Court warned Waters and his Brazilian producer that if he did not abide by the Brazilian law, which prohibits all campaigning after 10pm, he would be arrested and face imprisonment. Two minutes before the deadline, the stage went dark and silent. Then a message in Portuguese flashed on the jumbo screen. “They told us we cannot talk about the election after 10 o’clock. We have 30 seconds. This is our last chance to resist fascism before Sunday. Not him!”
“Not him” – “Ele Nao” in Portuguese – is the uniting slogan of everyone campaigning and protesting against Bolsonaro. As the clock struck 10, the words “It’s ten o’clock. Obey the law,” appeared on the display.