Brazil: Far-Right Jair Bolsonaro Wins Presidency

Jair Bolsonaro smiles in front of a Brazilian flag.
Ricardo Moraes-Pool / Getty Images

Brazilian far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro has won the presidency, the Associated Press reports.

His victory was announced by Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

More than 96 percent of the votes have been counted, and according to Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal 55.5 percent of Brazilians had voted for Bolsonaro. His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Worker’s Party, received only 44.5 percent of votes.

“It’s done,” Glenn Greenwald — an American Pulitzer-prize winning journalist living in Brazil — wrote on Twitter.

In the context of Greenwald’s previous work — the journalist has extensively covered Bolsonaro’s controversial rise to power — the tweet reads like an admission of defeat.

Condensing Bolsonaro’s contentious views in a brief news story is a Sisyphean task. Moments after the final exit poll came out, Greenwald’s outlet — the Intercept — published an extensive report urging readers to read about the next Brazilian president’s extreme positions, in his own words.

Accused by his critics of holding racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist views — as well as being accused of being an admirer of dictatorship, as well as a proponent of torture and extrajudicial police killings — Jair Bolsonaro has made a number of shocking statements over the years.

“I am in favor of a dictatorship, a regime of exception,” he once said.

“I’m a rapist now. I would never rape you, because you do not deserve it… sl*t!” he told a congresswoman in 2003.

“If your son starts acting a little gay, hit him with some leather, and he’ll change his behavior,” is the advice that Jair Bolsonaro once gave to Brazilian parents.

For Brazil to prosper, the country’s government has to do what the military dictatorship did not succeed in doing, according to Bolsonaro.

“Through the vote you will not change anything in this country, nothing, absolutely nothing! It will only change, unfortunately, when, one day, we start a civil war here and do the work that the military regime did not do. Killing some 30,000… not kicking them out, killing! If some innocent people are going to die, fine, in any war innocents die.”

Former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — a clear favorite in the polls, was forced to drop out of the presidential race. He was sent to prison on a dubious corruption conviction. The Worker’s Party was forced to replace Lula with former Mayor of Sao Paulo, Haddad.

This helped pave the way for Bolsonaro, but the far-right politician is merely a symptom of a greater disease that has plagued the fourth largest democracy in the world, according to the Intercept.

Although Western media often refers to Bolsonaro as “Brazil’s Trump,” that is “wildly inaccurate” according to the publication — for a number of reasons.

Bolsonaro is, in fact, much closer, in political terms, to individuals like President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, or brutal Egyptian dictator Abdel El-Sisi, according to Glenn Greenwald.