Brazil’s ‘Trump of The Tropics’, Bolsonaro is stabbed at a campaign rally. It’s just normal Brazilian democracy at work.

People are shaking their heads and saying how shocking this is and that it shows just how violent the reaction against Bolsonaro’s far right populism is.

The truth is, that it is neither shocking nor anything much to do with Bolosnaro’s politics. Rather, it is a fairly standard feature of Brazil’s politics, and has been for a very long while.

Here’s some recent history…

Brazil does hold lively and competitive elections, civil engagement is allowed and, if anything, a bit full on. The problem is less with democratic institutions and more with democratic politicians. President Dilma Rousseff was investigated for involvement in a multi billion dollar bribery scandal at the state controlled oil company Petrobras and her approval rating dropped to an almost unachievable 10% before she was temporarily removed and her deputy, Miche Temer took over until she was impeached and he was sworn in formally. Meanwhile, ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been convicted of money laundering and sentenced to 9 and a half years in prison for his part in another Petrobras financial scandal. Being in prison, he is barred from running for president again in these elections but polls still have him ahead of Bolsonaro, his nearest rival.

Brazil manages to be at peace with its neighbours but at war with itself on a regular basis. In 2013 there were violent demonstrations across the country against the costs of hosting the 2014 World Cup when public services were failing. Again, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in 2015 and 2016 to demonstrate to demand the resignation of President Rousseff who was blamed for both corruption and a looming economic crisis. That goal achieved, 35,000 returned to the streets in 2017 and this time, new President Michel Temer, chose to deploy federal troops to restore order. News pictures at the time looked like a battle scene.

Now Temer says, ‘It is intolerable that, living in a democratic state of law, it’s not possible to have an orderly campaign.’

It’s hardly surprising that Brazilians are beginning to lose faith in democracy itself, hankering after the good old days of brutal dictatorships.

In 2016, Brazilians’ support for democracy fell by 22 % points. Not only has support gone down to 32% (from 54% in 2015), but 55% of Brazilians say they wouldn’t mind a non-democratic government as long as it “solved problems.”

Be careful what you wish for Brazilians – you had two decades of military rule between 1964 and 1985, with all the torture, corruption, exile and unexplained disappearances you could wish for, and it was still utterly corrupt and largely incompetent – just like your democracy is, only with no redeeming qualities. Enter Bolsonaro, stage far right!

Bolsonaro. Brazilians: if you’ve had enough of democracy, this may be the man to put an end to it for you.












If you want to know more about things than they really want you to know, read The Dweller’s Guide To The Planet


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