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10 Things You Didn't Know about Jair Bolsonaro

Jair Bolansco

Jair Bolsonaro is the 38th President of Brazil. His term has been filled with controversy, as shown by his poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Something that Bolsonaro seems to be unconcerned about.

1. Born and Raised in São Paulo

Bolsonaro was born and raised in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. For those who are curious, São Paulo means Saint Paul. To be exact, this means Saint Paul the Apostle, who is one of the most influential figures in Christianity. It is interesting to note that the state that shares his name possesses incredible influence as well because of its population and its level of development.

2. Served in the Brazilian Military

In total, Bolsonaro served 15 years in the Brazilian military. His superiors were less than fond of him, as shown by an assessment stating that he was both "aggressive" and possessing an "excessive ambition" for financial gain after his attempt to mine gold in the state of Bahia. However, it was Bolsonaro's acts in defiance of his superiors that enabled him to make a name for himself with right-wingers who were less than enthused by Brazil's civilian government.

3. Moderated His Tone For a Time in His Presidential Campaign

For a time, Bolsonaro moderated his tone for his presidential campaign in 2018, thus resulting in less confrontational behavior. However, it wasn't too long before that vanished, as shown by the speech that he gave as soon as his victory looked certain. In short, Bolsonaro promised to purge his political rivals on the left, stating that they either "go overseas" or "go to jail." Moreover, he stated that Workers' Party supporters would go to the "edge of the beach," which was confirmed by one of his own aides to be a reference to a naval base where the Brazilian military dictatorship tortured as well as killed dissidents.

4. Has Defended the Brazilian Military Dictatorship

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bolsonaro has been very open about his appreciation for the Brazilian military dictatorship. For those who are unfamiliar, said dictatorship started up in April of 1964 and continued until March of 1985. It possessed the support of just about all of the high-ranking members of the Brazilian military, which was further bolstered by conservative elements in Brazilian society such as the Catholic Church as well as various anti-communist civil movements. There is an estimate of 434 people who were either killed or disappeared by the Brazilian military dictatorship, but the true number remains unclear, particularly since it remains a political issue in the present time.

5. Opponent of Environmentalism

Bolsonaro is not a supporter of environmentalism to say the least. For starters, he doesn't believe in the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. As a result, Bolsonaro has threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement both before and after his presidential campaign, though he hasn't actually done so at this point in time. It is worth noting that Bolsonaro's environmental positions have received extra scrutiny because Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, which i a huge concern for environmentalists because it is disappearing at a rapid rate thanks to the prioritization of slash and burn crop cultivation as well as other economic pursuits.

6. Opponent of Women's Rights

It seems safe to say that Bolsonaro isn't a supporter of women's rights either. On one occasion, he said that men and women shouldn't be paid the same salaries because women can get pregnant. On another occasion, he said that his fifth child was a daughter because he had a "moment of weakness." However, Bolsonaro's most infamous moment in this regard might be the time when he said that a political opponent was "not worth raping; she is very ugly."

7. Has Said Some Terrible Things About LGBT People

Speaking of which, Bolsonaro has said some very unpleasant things about LGBT people as well. For example, he has outright stated that he wouldn't be capable of loving a gay son, with the result that he would prefer for a gay son of his to die in an accident instead. Likewise, he has said that parents should beat their gay children to force them not to be gay. In more recent times, Bolsonaro has moderated his comments in this regard, which has remained the case even after his successful election.

8. Pro-Torture

On top of everything else, Bolsonaro is pro-torture. This is something that has been argued over a great deal in the western world in recent decades. The general consensus is that torture is useless for getting the truth out of people because they will say anything to get the pain to stop. Never mind the fact that people tend not to think their best when they are in extreme agony. Instead, the one use of torture would be forcing people to make false confessions, which might be the point for a lot of torturers out there anyways.

9. Seems to Be Prioritizing the Economy Over Health

Bolsonaro is one of the politicians who are prioritizing the economy over people's health by pushing for a reopening even as the COVID-19 crisis is worsening in his country. However, there are a lot of people who have pointed out that this is a false choice. Simply put, even if economies reopen, they are going to flounder unless consumers regain some measure of confidence. Moreover, every COVID-19 case is another economic blow, which should be obvious to anyone who has ever seen their workplace emptied by a seasonal flu.

10. Has Been Very Callous About the COVID-19 Crisis

Having said that, the thing that seemed to really irritate people was Bolsonaro's comment of "So what?"  in response to his country's rising death toll. On top of this, Bolsonaro's poor handling of the situation has cost him not one but two important figures in his administration so far. One - the Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta - was fired by him for criticizing him on TV, while the other - the Justice Minister Sérgio Moro - resigned his post not too long afterwards.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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