Brazil is in a mess. I visited a couple of years ago and was struck by the feel of violence. It is a place of great poverty, inequality and racism. There are armed drug gangs, much crime and violence. The juxtaposition of the slum favelas, shanty towns and the multimillion pound flats serves to emphasise the problem. Walking around Rio, Salvador, Rio Grande and Recife felt dangerous and quite unlike the atmosphere in Argentina.
There has been far too much political incompetence and corruption.
The result, just as the US turned to Trump and the UK voted Brexit, they have veered to the right in search of a black and white solution. They voted in Jair Bolsonaro – an extreme right-wing politician who makes Trump seem moderate.
Looking at all three of these instances I am reminded of that Bob Dylan quote – ‘If you’ve got a cold take a dose of malaria’.
None of these three offer solutions. Indeed all will greatly worsen the problems. What they indicate to me is absolute desperation.
People are sick of being lied to. They are sick of the effects of runaway capitalism, growing inequality and nobody caring about what happens to the poor. They want action.
Unfortunately, in times like these, they turn to extremists who offer black and white solutions to complex problems.
A casual look at Bolsonaro reveals the madness.
He is another wealthy man claiming to represent the poor masses. He demonises the left. He offers to restore law and order by cracking down on the gangs and wiping out the ‘leftists’ by force. He says he will restore morality, free up the economy, reduce government waste and to get the economy going to make Brazil prosperous.
It is only when you delve into some of the madness of his policies that the his true character, power-madness and greed become apparent.
He wants to solve the violence by relaxing gun controls. He wants the population armed to counter crime and the gangs – the result – more guns – more deaths.
He wants the authorities to use deadly force against his enemies – smacks of violent State control to me.
He wants to get the economy going by removing all restrictions – open up the rainforest, take out all environmental legislation, remove health and safety and labour legislation. It does not take a genius to see the massive environmental damage, pollution and worker exploitation that will follow. It also does not take much intelligence to see who is going to make the money. The poor are going to get shafted again.
He wants to run down government programmes and introduce more privatisation – again putting money into the pockets of rich investors and taking away programmes for the poor.
On top of that he is anti-abortion, against homosexuality (actually conflating homosexuality to paedophilia) and is a misogynist (he actually said that one of his opponents was not worth raping because she was too ugly).
In the 21st century it has come to this. The Brazilian Trump!!
Just what we need – destruction of the rainforest – a burgeoning population – more guns – state control – mass murder – and a highly conservative intolerance towards gays, women and anyone with environmental, leftish values.
This is going to solve the problems? I don’t think so!
What a scumbag!