Wave of violence spreads throughout Brazil as at least 50 physical assaults by supporters of presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, lead to at least two deaths
In any political environment and context, you can always tell the type of candidate that a politician is by simply paying attention to the effect on his/her supporters and their behavior. With that in mind, what conclusion are we draw from the actions of supporters of leading presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro?
Capoeira master assassinated in Salvador by Bolsonaro supporter
In today’s piece, I’ve decided to just let the headlines do all the talking. It goes without saying that the political environment is pretty tense at this moment, with now less than two weeks remaining until the run-off election between Bolsonaro (PSL) and his opponent, Fernando Haddad of the PT.
Although I’ve known how polarized the political landscape in Brazil has gotten, I didn’t really perceive just how ugly things could get until I saw a photo a few weeks back of two men, Bolsonaro supporters, holding a broken sign of a street dedicated to the memory of slain Rio councilwoman, Marielle Franco.
During election cycles, we all have the right to express our political views at the polls and we should be able to do so without any threats, intimidation tactics or physical assaults. But considering the candidate in question has proposed loosening gun control laws, believes violence must be combated with violence, is there any wonder why his supporters are reacting in such manner? They are simply following the example set by their candidate.
An example of this discourse promoted by Bolsonaro took place during a campaign stop in the state of Acre. Talking to a crowd of supporters, the PSL candidate can be heard saying “Vamos fuzilar a petralhada aqui do Acre”, meaning ‘let’s shoot down the leftist/PT supporters here in Acre’. To emphasize his statement, Bolsonaro proceeds to take a camera tripod and use it as if it were a rifle.
When told that his supporters were assaulting people who expressed support for the PT or any policies associated with the left, the man promoted as the “Brazilian Trump” simply responded that he doesn’t control his supporters.
One has to really wonder what effect the presidency of such a candidate with have on Brazil if he actually wins the election outright, as many polls are predicting he will.
My thing is, of course there are millions of Bolsonaro supporters out there who stand for everything that the candidate stands for and according to his rhetoric, he intends to diminish the opportunities that had opened to millions of poor, blacks and women during the 14-year reign of PT governments.
But to see people from the ranks of the poor, blacks and women voting for a man who is openly telling them that they won’t be getting any crumbs off of his table is a clear example of identifying with the oppressor.
Perhaps the worst example of this is what happened in Salvador, Bahia, the city and state recognized for its black majority and strong African cultural ties. In that city, a master of capoeira was stabbed to death by a Bolsonaro supporter and declaring his support for the PT candidate, Fernando Haddad. Romualdo Rosário da Costa, 63, known as Moa do Katendê, was stabbed 12 times by another black man.
And if he should become the next president of Brazil, to all of those people who have been historically excluded from fully enjoying the fruits of all that Brazil has to offer, don’t cry when reality sets in. You get exactly what you asked for!