Who’s Jair Bolsonaro, the man PM Narendra Modi has invited as chief guest for the 2020 Republic Day Parade?

We know that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as chief guest for the January 26 Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. But what is the man like?

Who’s Jair Bolsonaro, the man PM Narendra Modi has invited as chief guest for the 2020 Republic Day Parade?

NH Web Desk

We know that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as chief guest for the January 26 Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. But what is the man like?

A retired army captain who served during the years of the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, Bolsonaro is a far-right politician who is known for his unabashedly misogynistic, homophobic and militaristic views.

Bolsonaro has served as a congressman for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil's lower house since 1991 and has switched parties many times. He was hardly known outside Rio until 2014.

"He was always an unimpressive backbencher, he was never a party boss … or had a programmatic agenda that was of any significance," Matias Spektor, a professor of international relations at the Brazil-based Getulio Vargas Foundation, had told Al Jazeera after Bolsonaro won the presidency in 2018.

As Brazil is home to 17 of the world’s 50 most violent cities, Bolsonaro had pledged to tackle the security crisis by militarising the police, cracking down on criminal offenders by allowing officers greater freedom to kill and relaxing public gun laws.

Soon after becoming the President of Brazil, he signed a decree that relaxed gun ownership restrictions in a country that has one of the world’s highest homicide rates.

Bolsonaro's public appeal is known to be driven not by his policy ideas, but rather his ability to dish out one-liners as simple solutions, regardless of their efficacy. “Brazil before everything, and God above all,” was his campaign slogan. Sounds familiar, right?

In fact, though he has been a Congressman for more than two decades, Bolsonaro has had only two of his own bills passed into law. He has proposed about 170 pieces of legislation.

Allesandra Maia Terra de Faria, a social scienctist at the Rio-based Pontifical Catholic University, had told al-Jazeera that said Bolsonaro's strategy has never been about having "a clear plan, or any kind of stability". "He's always got one phrase to sum up everything, but which also means nothing," de Faria said.

Bolsonaro has described having a daughter as a "weakness". He had also said he would rather have one of his four sons "die in an accident" than be gay.

He told a congresswoman twice that she was way "too ugly" to be raped. “She’s not my type. I would never rape her. I’m not a rapist, but if I were, I wouldn’t rape her because she doesn’t deserve it,” he had said.

In a speech in 2017, Bolsonaro said the following about a black settlement in Brazil founded by the descendants of slaves: “They do nothing. They are not even good for procreation,” he said.

Bolsonaro responded to a question in 2011 about what he would do if his son fell in love with a black woman by saying, “I don’t run that risk because my sons were very well educated.”

Bolsonaro has scrapped Brazil’s human rights minister and created a position of a minister of “family values.” He has placed an ultraconservative pastor in the post.

He had also expressed his support for torture, had spoken fondly of Brazil’s past military dictatorship, and had said before his election win that socialists would have to go overseas or go to jail if he won. In 2015, Bolsonaro went so far as to call it “glorious.”

In 2016, he voted to impeach then-President Dilma Rousseff — indicating that he did so in honour of the deceased chief of secret police in Sao Paulo, who oversaw the torture of hundreds under military rule. Incidentally, Rousseff herself had been imprisoned and tortured by the dictatorship.

He had also vowed to revise school textbooks to remove references to feminism, homosexuality and violence against women.

But his most caustic comments have been reserved for the indigenous people of Brazil. While Amazon, home to those inhabitants and huge mineral and natural resources, burnt and Bolsonaro watched, the world came together to condemn the horrific destruction of the world’s largest rain forest.

Here are the comments:

  • “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry hasn’t been as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians.” - Correio Braziliense newspaper, April 12, 1998
  • “The Indians do not speak our language, they do not have money, they do not have culture. They are native peoples. How did they manage to get 13% of the national territory.” - Campo Grande News, April 22, 2015
  • “There is no indigenous territory where there aren’t minerals. Gold, tin and magnesium are in these lands, especially in the Amazon, the richest area in the world. I’m not getting into this nonsense of defending land for Indians.” - Campo Grande News, April 22, 2015
  • “I fought with Jarbas Passarinho [former minister of Justice] right here. I fought with him about the high treason he committed in demarcating the Yanomami reserve. Criminal.” - Interview with Marcelo Godoy, Estado de São Paulo, April 2, 2017
  • “Not a centimetre will be demarcated either as an indigenous reserve or as a quilombola [territory for descendents of African slave communities].” - Hebrew Club, Rio de Janeiro April 3, 2017. (He later corrected himself, saying he meant millimetre)
  • “You can be sure that if I get there [elected President of Brazil] there will be no money for NGOs. If it’s up to me, every citizen will have a firearm in the house.” - Estadao, April 3, 2017
  • “In 2019, we’re going to rip up Raposa Serra do Sol [Indigenous Territory in Roraima, northern Brazil]. We’re going to give all the ranchers guns” – Statement in Congress, January 21, 2016

So, now you know about the thought process of Bolsonaro whom Modi chose over every other world leader to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day Parade.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines