Some sectors fear that the president-elect of Brazil punishes minorities and moves away from his allies
Jair Bolsonaro, as president-elect of Brazil, receives a deeply divided country. According to the newspaper El País, 95% of the rich districts voted for the extreme right, while 90% of the impoverished districts elected the candidate of the Workers' Party (PT, in Spanish), Fernando Haddad. These figures demonstrate the political, economic, and social divisions that were cross-sectional in the intention to vote.
Why does this happen? After thirteen years of PT's hegemony by Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, there is the possibility that all advances in the social field will be threatened. According to the International Labor Organization, during the presidency of Lula - between 2003 and 2010 - 29 million people left poverty. Based on social programs such as Bolsa Familia, the inequality in the South American country was drastically reduced.
However, in recent years, since the beginning of the recession in Brazil, poverty has increased. According to a consultation of the LCA firm published in April 2018, poverty increased by 11%, leaving 14 million people living in conditions of misery.
How does the president-elect plan to face this problem?
Although in the program of proposals of Bolsonaro there is no definite plan to face the extreme poverty, according to the newspaper El Clarín, during the presidential campaign he assured that he will maintain programs like Bolsa Familia to fight said problematic. It may sound hopeful, but also during his campaign, he suggested sterilizing the poorest population to face the demographic rise, as if that contributed to the direct reduction of poverty and crime.
Furthermore, some of the biggest concerns regarding the possible election of the extreme right-wing of Bolsonaro were the social items. In the first instance, the characteristics that stood out for the president-elect were his chauvinistic and homophobic positions. The phrases "I could not love a gay son" and "you are too ugly to be raped" rang in all the world media. Even so, the candidate seemed unstoppable towards the end of the campaign.
However, lately, Bolsonaro has been more friendly with minorities. On October 6, the now president said he is willing to govern for everyone, "including the gays." Rhetorically, he wants to open up to LGTBI, but at the end, his statements could mean nothing. In terms of women, his positions are somewhat more difficult to read. There are no proposals in his program with a differential approach.
The social is not the only concern of some non-conservative sectors. After thirteen years of alignment with the Latin American left of Chávez, Correa, Kirchner and Mujica, the Bolsonaro government seems to turn its back on governments like these.
"We will stop praising murderous dictatorships and despising and attacking important democracies such as those of the United States, Israel, and Italy," the president-elect gave these declarations, in a clear affront to the government of Nicolás Maduro. The interesting thing is his appreciation for Trump's US and Netanyahu's Israel, very conservative governments that value nationalist precepts.
What effects can the weakening of relations with leftist governments have for Brazil?
Taking into account that Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Colombia have conservative governments, it could even strengthen ties with these countries. As for Venezuela or even Bolivia, it will be difficult to predict, as long as a dialogue with governments of opposing values is not established.
Relationships such as those raised by Bolsonaro can greatly benefit Brazil, especially in economic terms, but his ability to seal these links remains to be seen.
LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández
Translated from “Así se comportaría Bolsonaro en materia social y política internacional”
Listen this article