Oct 10 2018


I like to think of it as funny and scary 1985 movie directed by Terry Gilliam and written by him and Tom Stoppard. It’s well worth watching but it has little to do with Brazil.

How Dangerous Is Jair Bolsonaro?
By Isaac Chotiner, Slate
Oct 08, 2018

On Sunday, an extreme far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, came close to winning an outright victory in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. Because his 46 percent fell short of a majority, he will face Fernando Haddad (who captured 29 percent of the vote) from the leftist Workers’ Party, or PT, in three weeks. Still, Bolsonaro’s rise is shocking: The former army captain has spoken warmly of Brazil’s two-decade-long dictatorship that only ended in the 1980s—and these remarks stand in contrast to his comments on women, and black and gay people. (He claimed he would rather his son die than be gay, said a woman was too ugly to rape, and told parts of Brazil’s black population that they should “go back to the zoo.”) But his get-tough approach to crime seems to have won over many voters. Meanwhile, a court declared former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is the most popular figure in the Workers’ Party—which governed the country for more than a dozen years until 2016—unable to run; he is currently in jail for corruption. His predecessor, the Workers’ Party’s Dilma Rousseff, was removed from office in 2016 in such a manner that left many Brazilians feeling they had witnessed a coup.

To talk about the results, I spoke by phone on Monday with Lilia M. Schwarcz, a professor of anthropology at the University of São Paulo, and the co-author (with Heloisa M. Starling) of the new book Brazil: A Biography.