Bolsonaro was elected at age 63 with 57.8 million votes, in a country with more than 200 million inhabitants

Brazil and the Government of Jair Messias Bolsonaro

PHOTO - Brazil and the Government of Jair Messias Bolsonaro

Far-right presidential candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro was declared the winner in the Brazilian runoff election on Oct. 28, 2018. The winning candidate was injured during the election campaign in September at a rally. Bolsonaro presented himself as the savior of a country that was showing signs of exhaustion due to the various corruption scandals in the PT governments, insecurity and the economic crisis. The candidate charged against the media, political parties and made extensive use of social networks, especially Facebook, to seek direct contact with his followers. Analysts recall the role played by fake news in fostering social polarization and facilitating the victory of the extreme right-wing candidate.

Brasil y el Gobierno de Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro was elected at age 63 with 57.8 million votes, in a country with more than 200 million people that is the eighth largest economy in the world. His opponent, Fernando Haddad, the presidential candidate of the Workers' Party (PT), accepted the defeat and thanked "the more than 45 million votes". Haddad said that "the majority has another Brazilian project on its mind and deserves respect". The Brazilian president is a former army captain, often characterized as nostalgic for the military dictatorship. He has been a legislator seven times, for almost 30 years. In his first speech as president, on January 1, 2019, Jair Messias Bolsonaro said: "I stand before you all on this day, as the day when the people began to free themselves from socialism, from the inversion of values, from the gigantism of the state and from political correctness. The inauguration ceremony was attended by some 12 heads of state and government.

​​​​​​Brasil y el Gobierno de Bolsonaro

The religious element is very present in the presidential speeches and addresses, which are full of recurrent mentions of God in a secular but very religious country where religion and politics still seem to go hand in hand. In fact, many legislators and governors, and even one minister, have credentials as evangelical pastors. Analysts suggest that religious groups and sects go where the state does not. In this context, it should be noted that the evangelical groups that supported Bolsonaro are lobbying on different issues and are particularly interested in education. In the long term, this religious influence will lead to a cultural and pedagogical regression if it is not contained, underlines the most critical of the Bolsonaro administration. Another striking aspect has to do with the number of military personnel holding civilian positions in the government. The percentage of military personnel has increased significantly; compared to 2018 the increase was 122.7%. In 2018 there were 2,765 military personnel in the Government and today there are 6,157. The vice-president, for example, is a retired general and, in addition, nine of the 22 ministers come from the Armed Forces.

Brasil y el Gobierno de Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro completes a year and a half in power and, at the end of his first year in office, he expressed his positive perception of his government: "We are ending 2019 without any denunciation of corruption, the world has come to trust Brazil again and the ideological bias no longer exists in our international trade relations". Voices inside and outside Brazil have a more critical reading of the Bolsonaro administration, both in domestic and foreign policy. And, as far as foreign policy is concerned, of which the president is proud, it is worth remembering that there are those who have called Bolsonaro "the tropical Donald Trump", because of his alignment with the president of the United States, Donald Trump. Of course, his alignment was not a surprise. Bolsonaro had expressed his interest in redirecting Brazilian foreign policy, as well as his desire to deepen ties with the United States and Israel. Within Brazil, some notable figures such as Fernando H. Cardoso and different former foreign ministers have expressed that the Bolsonaro government is going beyond the Brazilian constitution and regret that "In Latin America, from being promoters of integration processes, we are now supporting interventionist adventures, giving ground to extra-regional powers".

Brasil y el Gobierno de Bolsonaro

"De ida y vuelta" recently addressed the current Brazil and the presidential administration of Jair Messias Bolsonaro, with the participation of Rafael Mantovani, sociologist and doctor from the University of São Paulo, Carlos Malamud, doctor in history and senior researcher on Latin America at the Real Instituto Elcano, and Juan Pablo Lohlé, lawyer, internationalist, diplomat and academic, ambassador of Argentina to the Federative Republic of Brazil between 2003 and 2010. Mantovani, Malamud and Lohlé contributed their views on the factors that made the rise of Bolsonaro possible, and analysed the presidential administration and current Brazilian foreign policy, which is a function of domestic policy, as is the case with AMLO's Mexico. They concluded with some approaches and perspectives of the Brazilian future.

Clara Riveros, political analyst and director of CPLATAM - Political Analysis in Latin America - ©