Political Corner: Brazilian president Bolsonaro is an active, frustrating example of authoritarianism

Photo by Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

Written by Kelly Grounds, Peak Associate

On January 1, Jair Bolsonaro took office as Brazil’s 38th president, capturing global attention with his hard-right stance, Brazil-first attitude, and infamy for being stabbed at a September campaign rally.

Since taking office, Bolsonaro has begun working towards his campaign promises. First, Bolsonaro has already pulled Brazil out of hosting out the 2019 United Nations climate change summit. This could potentially be the first act to diminish Brazil’s efforts to decrease their impact on climate change, made all the more worrisome by recent years’ increase in deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. This, coupled with the disdain Bolsonaro holds for political activism, has led many ecological activists to feel unsure about their ability to change things.

Bolsonaro also won on a platform that focused on anti-corruption in the Worker’s Party, but he’s felt far from it in the government he’s maintaining. Already, 300 civil servants are expected to lose their jobs based on their opposing political ideologies. This is following several military figures and sympathizers taking positions of power since October, reminding Brazilians of their military dictatorship during the mid-20th century.

Despite being in office for less than a month, Bolsonaro has already made a lot of troubling marks on Brazil and the world. From what the world can tell, it looks like Brazil is the latest country to join this hostile right-wing political trend.